Student Filming Tips

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Prepping a film shoot is not an easy thing to do. However, there are ways to make the process easier, so you can spend as much time as possible being creative and as little time as possible doing paperwork:

Be realistic with your script! The things you dream of doing and the things you can actually achieve in the time and budget given you are not always the same thing. Lines like ‘The battle began’, ‘Jeff manages to escape the police car chasing him’ or ‘Susan cried when she saw the flames consume her home’ are easily written, but not necessarily as easily or cheaply executed. There are plenty of examples in professional film making, where great stories were told very simply by limiting the amount of locations for example, the Blair Witch Project and Twelve Angry Men being a case in point. So, think carefully about both your timescale and your budget before committing pen to paper.  

Making a movie is a complex activity and there are many legal as well as health and safety factors regulating filming activity. Take the time to read over the Kent Film Office A-Z Filming Guidelines, which will help you understand what activities might require you to get additional permits. The last thing you want is end up with a criminal record instead of an Oscar because you didn’t have the right permit. Ignorance is no excuse in front of the law! 

Be timely! Find your locations early on! If for some reason you are unable to afford a certain property, or do not get permissions because the owners do not like the content of your film, you may be into re-writes and you do not want to be doing that a day or so before you start filming! The same goes for special permissions and licences. Here at the Kent Film Office, we usually ask that you give us at least two weeks’ notice to get the relevant permits for you. 

Schedule well! Make sure your crew understand what they are doing, where they are doing it, when and how much it is going to cost. Nothing is more detrimental to a great shoot than a load of people running around like headless chickens instead of shooting some great footage. A well thought out schedule shows up the weak spots and gives you a chance to fix them. In the real world, producers have budgets and schedules done for scripts even before they commit artists or go out for finance! 

Be organised! Make sure your paperwork is in order and somewhere you can get at it in case someone official would actually like to see it on the day. Make sure you have all the contact details you need on a call sheet, so you know who to contact if an extra doesn’t turn up or someone gets hurt or nicks your kit. Get maps and directions ready, so everyone can actually find where you are filming and, this may sound mundane, but remember that human beings need to eat and use the toilet from time to time and if they have to spend an hour finding the nearest pit stop, you are not going to get much in the can! You never know what might occur on the day. 

We are here to HELP 

Call us if you get stuck or confused regarding permits. We’d much rather you call than have no permit!  

 

Boy thinking © www.freedigitalphotos.net

Boy thinking © www.freedigitalphotos.net

 Contact us at filmoffice@kent.gov.uk  or 03000 422 000  

AND…….HAVE FUN!