Guest Post: Landon Coats, Filmmaker
Perhaps you know Landon Coats from the short films he’s written, directed, and produced. If not, then you should do yourself a favor and check out his Vimeo page here: https://vimeo.com/user43987577
I know Landon Coats as a great friend of mine. We met in film school and have worked together on several film productions in the past. Those productions number among the best moments I’ve had in my life thus far.
I’m thrilled to feature him here on the Dandy Cat Design blog as a guest author. His unique experience and infectious drive has always inspired me to do my best with everything.
I hope you enjoy his thoughts regarding film production as a business.
Be sure to check out his website, Landon Coats.
"Practice makes perfect" is a phrase I'm sure we've all heard before. We've probably heard it as often as we do because there are so many things in life that get easier the more you do them.
Take cooking for example. The first time you cook a recipe it typically doesn't turn out how you imagined it would. The more you repeat the recipe, however, the better it begins to taste until, eventually, you’re making a fantastic dish.
While there are many things that get easier with practice, there are quite a few things that don’t get easier, no matter how often you practice.
Filmmaking is one of those things.
That's not to say that there aren't aspects that get easier—there are—but quite often there will be original and different challenges that present themselves.
From my experience, I've learned one thing in particular: it's not practice that makes perfect, but instead, preparation.
I've been throwing around the word “perfect” quite loosely throughout this article. Let me be clear, nothing is perfect, but if you can make something that you (and your client if it's a corporate gig) are proud of, then that's totally a win!
Let's get back on topic...
Filmmakers all agree that there are three phases of production: pre-production, production, and post-production. Some may argue that there are four phases of production, the fourth being distribution, but that's not relevant here.
All stages of production are very important but I personally believe pre-production is the most important of them all.
I’ll do a summary of each phase of production real quick for anyone who may not be too familiar with them.
Pre-production is when a script has been written and gets greenlit.1 From there the directors, producers, and actors begin to come on board and start planning the production.
Once everything is planned and scheduled you shift into production. This is where you actually start filming.
Now that everything is filmed, you move on to post-production, which is where the film is edited.
I think pre-production is important because this is where you get all your ducks in a row. It’s the most helpful stage when it comes to working on any project.
As a producer, there are a lot of loose ends that need to be tied. They vary from project to project, but the main goal during this phase is to make sure everyone has the exact same understanding of what the direction the project will take.
If this isn't done correctly, then unforeseen issues will pop up during the other stages of production that could potentially ruin everything.
How this relates to business and working clients is pretty important.
When working with a client, it is imperative that you are working together for a common cause—typically the clients—so the more you can do to fully articulate the direction of the project the better it will turn out.
That all comes down to proper preparation.
That's not to say things won't get done without it, but odds are if you haven't prepared yourself, then someone will be unhappy with the final product. No one wants that!
Clearly, you can see that the imporatance of preparation. It's not just something for filmmakers. It’s for anything, especially business.
This might seem obvious, but take a moment and reflect on some of the projects or clients you’ve worked with in the past and ask yourself, how could I have prepared better?
You may be surprised!
- Or approved for production by a film studio. ↩︎