Avoiding the Expensive First Draft

July 1, 2021

It is said that a film is written three times. First when it is scripted, secondly when shot and finally when it is edited.

However, far too often in commercial and marketing content creation clients skip over the first step, giving little attention to pre-production. Instead shoots begin without a clear end goal in mind and the result is what I would describe as a very expensive first draft. 

Why the expense? In our experience, a lack of planning and pre-production usually results in over or, worse-still, undershooting during filming. While it will always be the case that the majority of footage ends up on the metaphorical cutting room floor, over-shooting can make it much harder to work through the footage during the edit to find the content we need to tell the story you want. Of course, undershooting is worse as it leaves only two options; cutting sections from the final film or heading back where possible to shoot some more. Reshoots and extra time in the edit suite all add up. 

A lack of clarity will usually also lead to additional rounds of amends as you only home in on the purpose of your film as it works its way through the edit. More expense!

So what is the alternative? We’ve recently been working on a number of projects where, thanks to our collaborative approach with some fantastic clients, we’ve been able to spend more time in pre-production.  While this might look like an additional expense in the proposal, you can rest assured that the time and money spent here is saved further down the production process. This doesn’t just apply to the production budget but also the time required by our clients to review and amend projects as they near completion. 

During pre-production we are able to interrogate your objectives in much more detail and begin to craft your story long before the cameras are rolling. Something we’ve found increasingly useful, and increasingly easy thanks to video calls, is conducting pre-interviews with potential contributors. This allows us to understand who is the right fit for the films and often spend much longer digging in to people’s stories and experiences than we can on set. This also allows us to consider what b-roll or other visuals we need to help bring our contributor’s stories to life. 

The net result is a clear first draft which can be refined before we hit record. The whole experience is streamlined for all involved and we can deliver a better end product – a more impactful film that achieves our client’s objectives.