The Non-Sexy but Super Important Logistics of Pre-Producing Your First Feature

The Non-Sexy but Super Important Logistics of Pre-Producing Your First Feature

This is the second article in a series by filmmaker Brittany Nisco, where she's documenting the entire process of making her first feature film, Wandering Off. 

You can read the first installment about deciding to make the film here. And you can stay up to date with Brittany as she makes her first feature film, Wandering Off, on the film's websitefacebook page, and twitter page.

In October 2015 I remember thinking, “I have enough time to do all of this.” In March 2016 I’m thinking, “I don’t think I’ll ever have enough time.” Well, the Wandering Off train is really picking up steam now.

The month of February was filled with a ton of logistics; things that had to get done before we could move forward with everything else.

I had to file the paperwork to become an LLC. Every state runs differently on this, but after looking through the paperwork I had to do, I decided it would be best to do it right once instead of doing it wrong multiple times, so I got a lawyer. I would highly recommend doing that because the process was simple and everything was filed correctly.

Anything I have no experience on, I’m getting professional help with. There is too much to risk and time to be lost by having it done incorrectly. Time lost is money lost.

I also had my first experience with visiting an accountant. I had to get some things looked at for filing more paperwork with the state, in accordance with the LLC. This was another thing you can do yourself, although, I was sticking with the "do it right once" philosophy. Anything I have no experience on I’m getting professional help with. There was too much to risk and time to be lost by having it done incorrectly. Time lost is money lost.

With every professional I met during this process, I had to explain what a production company does. Every person had multiple questions about different aspects of filming, along with the usual “do you know any famous people?!” or “my neighbor’s cousin was in the background of that Batman movie during that one scene.” I have loved all the stories I’ve heard so far. I’m sure there’ll be a lot more to follow.

So the LLC is official, the tax status filed, a company bank account setup, and then it was time to get back to being creative.

I was on a shoot in mid-February where I was co-directing and met two camera guys I didn’t know that day. Throughout the shoot I realized these guys would be a great addition to our crew. Now would they be interested? A few days later we met up, I told them the idea, and by the end of that meeting I was walking out with two new crew members.

There was an unexpected issue we ran into. I had put out a call for interns across some intern websites and a few local colleges posted it. Although some interns have been trickling in, it hasn’t been as popular an internship as I had originally hoped.

We are going to have to do a bigger push for that over the next month or two, because we’re going to need the help on set. If we don’t get the amount of interns we need, I think we’re going to have an issue during filming. I’m trying to not think of that yet, but it’s definitely in the back of my mind.

The main thing we’re working on now is gaining more exposure, not just with friends and family, but with strangers that believe in us and the project. Since we are doing a Kickstarter soon, we need to gain the audience. We need to give people a reason to trust us with their money. We’re starting a “who we are” video series, which is each person of the crew talking about who they are and how they’re involved. We feel that’ll help gain trust with our audience.

Since last year we had been planning to launch our Kickstarter in April. However, because we’re still trying to build our base up before launch, we’re now definitely launching in May. The extra month will help give us time to gain that bigger audience, create more content across our social media platforms, and shoot a better Kickstarter video.

You can plan all you want on paper, but at some point you have to just do it.

Speaking of which, we’re filming our Kickstarter/test shoot video the very beginning of April. Right now, we’re working on finalizing casting, securing locations, and figuring out what snacks we’re going to need at crafty that day. We’re going to film four scenes from the movie. This will not only give us the footage we need for our Kickstarter video, but will also give the crew a great test run of working together on this project. You can plan all you want on paper, but at some point you have to just do it.

March is going to be a big social media push. We’ll be launching our “who we are” video series. Working on getting more interns. Getting everything together for the test shoot. Getting stills for our website. Telling more people that we’re making a movie. And not losing our minds.

The closer we get to the start date of principal photography, the faster the time goes by.

Talk soon.

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