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6 Tips for Efficient Film Production: Lessons Learned in a Competition

Involvement in any film competition makes you equal parts nervous (about whether you’ve done enough to win) and competitive (trusting your gut instinct that you ARE the best competitor). While film competitions are a ton of fun, there’s a few things we’ve learned about competing in the film community along the way. Efficient film production is an art, something that isn’t always seen in the lower level, indie filmmakers that contribute to the film community. This is not to say that new filmmakers are inefficient, just that efficiencies are a learned practice that evolve and improve with repeat involvement in film competitions and in the film community as a whole.

Filming a Testimonial interview on a FS7

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In fact, we’ve learned a lot over the years and can’t wait to share with you these tips for efficient film production which represents a healthy mix of the top lessons we’ve learned over time. Follow along as we outline what it takes to efficiently produce top-quality films that soar above the competition.

#1 The Right Size Crew Makes All the Difference

You can’t get a 6-person crew project completed on a 2-person crew time-limit, it just won’t happen! In fact, you’re going to face a number of decisions in the planning of film projects as you grow and evolve as a producer or filmmaker.

Many of these decisions begin with determining the appropriate crew size for the project you’re planning. Poor planning this early in the game will likely lead to unhappy crew members that are overworked.

The most efficient film projects are overseen by directors that err on the side of caution when choosing a crew size. When in doubt, add extra help to the list! A larger crew is almost always better than not having enough hands-on set to help out.

#2 Cast Small & Grow

As you work to cast talent for your film it’s always a good idea to keep the casting process simple and to grow as you can. So rather than cast a ton of people for a film before you have the appropriate details, keep the casting to a minimum.

This is especially true for film projects that you will produce solely for involvement in a film competition. Cast small, the bare essentials to pull the storyline off, and take appropriate steps later if you need additional talent to fill roles.

#3 Let the Final Script NOT be Cut in Stone

Efficient film production is an art, and bringing a script to life is equally artistic. Producers that find the final script as a cut in stone, do not change, EVER, piece of work will find themselves struggling frequently to stay within production time constraints.

In fact, success in film production is almost just as much about being open to change as it is about actually recognizing the importance of sticking to a plan. The best filmmakers adapt as needed to do both–be flexible and be consistent and on-point.

#4 Have Fun at Work

Film production should be a rewarding career. Nobody comes into a role in film thinking they will “just do this because it’s what I know.” People work HARD to get involved in the film world. Have fun at it! Efficient film production that is backed by fun will most certainly not feel like work!

Build a team that has fun together and understands each other. A team that can make each other laugh. The end result will be a synergy that cannot be overcome by your competitors!

#5 Communication is Key

The most efficient film production companies recognize that communication is the key element to any successful project. As you work to communicate with your team, consider steps to keep everyone abreast of plan changes (recognizing that plans frequently change), cast and crew changes, and important messages.

Doing so will help everyone feel more involved and important which leads to a sense of reward for a job well-done.

#6 Manage Time Wisely

We couldn’t possibly discuss an efficient film production crew without mentioning the management of time could we? While it seems that common sense should be enough here, it’s important to understand that time management looks different for different members of the production crew.

As a producer or director, your job is to make sure that everyone on that crew recognizes their role in managing their time in order to have a most efficient team effort.