Posts Tagged ‘Planning’

SBA 2016: Friday 23rd September

Posted: September 23, 2016 by Alan Hardcastle in CMP 15_17
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Aim – to ensure all planning is complete ready for filming.

Objectives – Complete all Pre-production, complete draft report to company, ensure Technical Crew are prepared.

We have the first 6 companies assigned and the project is moving.

We will start of the session by reviewing progress – it is vital that you are reporting back to the tutors, so we need to get into the habit of doing this as a group.

Within today’s session we need to ensure we have a clear picture of what we are doing for each one – so all planning, including proposed shooting dates, questions, storyboard, shot lists and crew must be complete.

You also need to make sure you can use the equipment – so the crew need to go and shoot a short piece to demonstrate use of Camera, sound & Editing. This will be completed within the session, and will identify any issues you need to sort out before a site visit.


TV: Developing the idea

Posted: October 10, 2014 by Alan Hardcastle in CMP 14_16
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You have a week to develop your idea, make a visual trailer and prepare your pitch. Easy!

Where do Ideas come from? Well, there is no such thing as originality. Look around you, at existing ideas. It is always good to start from an existing idea and add a twist, and develop it. It could be changing it for an audience, or adding a genre, or simply revamping an old idea.

The BBC has a great way of developing ideas. They make it as a radio show first, then when they can prove it works, they put it on TV. BBC 2 or 3 usually, and then if it works really well, it moves to BBC1. See: Little Britain, The Day Today, Absolute Power, The Mighty Boosh and (arguably) Have I got News For You and QI, which both have their original versions still running on Radio 4.

Having a reference is vital – why make a show that the audience doesn’t want? Combine audience viewing figures with an element of originality. For example: X Factor and Pop Idol are modern versions of New Faces and other talent shows, just with a public voting system. This voting element is so popular a lot of shows try to add this in.

So, look at what has existed before, what exists now, what the Target Audience is interested in (Culturally, socially etc) and then you can look at what twist you can put on it. What does your audience relate too?

Once you have ideas, interrogate them. Pull them apart to make sure they work and are viable. Look at:

a) treatment – How you are treating the idea. It could be the script as a short story, it could be the shape of the series, the types of questions or tasks for contestants – it all depends on the kind of idea you are working on.

b) suggested cast – who would you like in it? Not necessarily who will be in it – you can name check the type of person to appear in it.

c) target audience – who is it for? The better you do this, the more likely it will appeal to other markets. For example, Dr Who was a Children’s show. It worked so well adults watched it.

d) budget, funding – How much will it cost to make? And is this realistic based on what you will get to make it? Be aware of the balance between talent, effects, locations, sets and the cheapest way to make a show – contestants.

e) production schedule with launch date and contingency plans – when are you making this? How long will it take to shoot, and what will you do if it goes wrong? If you need locations, be aware of the weather – Please note that Game of Thrones is filmed in the Autumn and then post production is winter.

f ) legal and/or ethical issues – Very contextual. Could be watershed issues, could be privacy – be aware of of the possible implications of your ideas (harm to contestants, harm to the viewers etc…)

g) scheduling time – what time it is on has a massive bearing on what you can show. See Above..!

And all this is just to nail down your idea. Once you have the idea, make the trailer (Script, storyboard, ideas for sets, titles & Fonts etc) as a way to show visually what you want to achieve.

And remember, we plan to make the pilot after half term. So, No Pressure.

PLanning for a TV show

Posted: October 1, 2014 by Alan Hardcastle in CMP 14_16
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Script treatment:

It is a summary of a screenplay, TV show, novel or other story, sometimes in the form of an outline. Can be anything from one to ten pages or even longer in length. Treatments can be used as a tool of development for the writer’s or used as a marketing tool.

A film treatment:

It is a piece of prose, typically the step between scene cards and the first draft of a screenplay for a motion picture, television program, or radio play.

Example of a film treatment:

Suggested Cast

The cast is chosen by picking actors and actresses that suits the character of the film by sticking to a certain criteria.

To pick a suitable actor for the role you would have to think about the information about the character such as, their backstory (if they’re middle-aged, divorced etc.) their name, their physical attributes etc.

Target Audience

In market and advertising, a target audience is a specific group of people within a target market at which a product or the marketing message of a product is aimed at.

These are some types of target audiences that TV shows will think about when making a show; age, gender, behavior, and demographic, geodemographic, psychographic, religion, Consumer behavior – IE how you use technology to watch the shops…

Example: Doctor Who

Doctor who’s is mainly aimed at families at a time when families are together watching TV.

There has been an investigation into ‘is Doctor Who really for children’ the show is intended to entertain, it is show for kids 7+ as there are some scary episodes which some children may find scary.

Budget and Funding

A budget is a way of planning how to spend whilst producing a TV show, and the funding is where the money is coming from. The budget includes things like :

  • cast/crew
  • story rights
  • production costs
  • set costs,
  • Promotion
  • Lighting
  • Cameras
  • Studio Rental
  • post production

For example to make one episode of Doctor Who it would cost the BBC £1 million. As the BBC produces it, it is mainly funded by the TV license, and any money that is made goes back into the next episode and is not for profit. Some of the funding also comes from selling merchandise, which is sold worldwide.

This is an introduction to the paperwork that you need for your planning. Depending on your production, not all of it will be needed for your pre production folder. Download the checklist and make sure you have filled out all the planning you need to do.

The best thing to do is to collect the paperwork you feel most comfortable with. here I have presented the ones I like, in a logical order. If you make a model now, you will find it easier to plan later.

A collection of forms from Dependant FIlms – have a look at these examples of paperwork.

Production Check list – you may need to adapt this to what you need, the purpose is ti make sure you have thought of everything.…

Contracts & Contacts are possible the most important thing to include –

Product Release Form – Licensing for any products being used…

Release Form – Personal permission to use for filming

Contact List……

Cast List

Crew List

Pre Production

Script – the bit you need to write.

Script Breakdown…


Shot List


Location Check list – Make sure you have teh rights to film and have thought about all the necessary issues

And for recording your Recces –

Risk Assessment…

Call Sheet – Travel arrangements, who needs to be where doing what and when.

Movement Order – Directions to location!


Continuity Sheet – to be generated Daily!

Daily Progress Report…

Sound Report


Petty Cash……

Now you need to develop a TV Studio Idea and go into production. So, what does that mean…?

First, it means coming up with an idea. There are two ways of doing this – Business and Art.

Business means looking at the market. What is out there? What is popular? Are there any gaps in the market? Then you can look at the audience – Who is watching TV? What are they watching? Who is watching the popular stuff, and why?

Art means – making it, and hoping there is an audience. This is much harder to get funded as we can’t prove to investors, advertisers, broadcaster etc. that we will have an audience. But hey, it worked for QI (see Making of QI on the Media Drive)

You need to have an idea to start with. Whether this comes form your Market research, audience research or just off the top of your head based on what you think people will like, you will need to develop it.

You need to be clear of the shape of the programme – what will it contain? What happens? How will it work? What will it look like? Why will people watch? How will this be shown? What is the Format? What is the style?

This information needs to be collected into a Proposal – a clear statement of intent. Once you have this, everything else (the production research) becomes relatively straight forward. If you have considered you idea correctly, you can generate a  script, add timings, shot lists, design the set and do floor plans, light it, risk assess, identify equipment needed, assign roles, rehearse (making notes on the script) and then film it.

All the way through planning, you can go back to your market and audience research to solve any other problems you may identify while planning.

As we go through the session today, we will address everything we need to consider and link it to the planning documents we need to do. It is important that all planning tasks have someone assigned to them – be clear what you role in planning is, and make sure you keep notes of this. That way, if something needs to change, you know who to ask. This is called making minutes. It also makes it easier for us to mark – and if it is easier to mark, we will mark it quicker and more likely mark you higher…

Easy. As long as you have a clear idea of what you want it to look like in the first place!

Planning you research project

Posted: October 8, 2013 by Alan Hardcastle in FdA 12_14
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Doing a Research Project

This is a presentation based on Martin Davies “Doing a Successful Research Project”. The book is also available in the Library – I find it a great approach to research projects, well written and easy to follow.

Research Plan

Posted: October 10, 2012 by Alan Hardcastle in FdA 11_13
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Now is the time to knuckle down and actually create a plan to follow. This should act as a check list of what you need to do.

Take this mindmap as a starting guide. The best idea is to turn it into a list, making it relevant to your area. This is the point where you start to focus in the pragmatic “I’m going to get good grades” and produce research rather than being all creative and planning what film you can do. In other words, time for reality.

The list should be simple – break your tasks down to the most basic element.

What I need to find out Research Techniques I need to use
Distribution: Festivals: Range of Horror Festivals Internet search; Look for horror festivals – Forum search; horror fan sites to see what is mentioned / pose a question
Audience: Identify Target Demographic Find Forums, Conduct Surveys to find Demographic / psychographic

Here I have stopped at “Create a Survey”. It may be worth you breaking that down further – using any of the survey / questionnaire advice mentioned in any of our research books.

Make sure you have referred back to the Report Template for other headings – and expect this plan to change. Each time you get information back, draw conclusion about what you have found out review your plan – let it change, as this will mean your final idea will be as realistic as possible.

Selecting your track

Posted: May 10, 2012 by Alan Hardcastle in CMP 11_13
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You now have to make a music video of your own. You can select your own track, and you need to have done this by the end day 10th May.

Try and select a track you have copyright clearance on – search at CC Search, Jamendo or Soundcloud. Or have access to a performer with a good recording. If you are stuck, Nine Inch Nails have released two albums under CC that you can use – they are on the media drive.

Select a track as quickly as possible – then you will need to analyze it.

  • What does the song mean? To you? In general?
  • What is the content – and this could be musically or lyrically. 
  • What imagery is conveyed by the song? Again, Musically or lyrically.
  • Is there a story?
  • How long is it?
  • What speed is the track? Preferably in BPM.
  • What is the style of the music?
  • What lyrical or musical semiotics are being used?
  • Who is the performer?
  • What is their style?
  • What genre of music is it?
  • What is the general style associated with this genre?

Collect this information to help you when it comes to developing an idea. You will be given a treatment for a music video, and I want you to read it, look at the video and identify where it talks about:

  • Content of the video
  • Style of the song / video
  • Story
  • imagery
  • pace
  • meaning

And tomorrow, you will write your own treatment!


Posted: November 2, 2011 by Alan Hardcastle in FdA 11_13
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So, you have your idea. As a first go, you should be keeping it simple. No car chases and convoluted plot twists involving multiple locations – this is all about using the studio as effectively as possible.

First thing you need is to turn that synopsis into a script.

Formatting a script can be quite convoluted. The basic thing to ask yourself is “how is it being produced?” This will influence the layout and how you write.

You need to write for the format of the production – so, if it is single camera, you can have lots of cuts, tell the story in close up and and have complex setups that need to camera to get into every nook and cranny to let the audience know what’s happening, because the nature of the single camera production is to get the right performance for the story.

If it is a multicam production, you tend to be capturing the performance that happens – live events, as live studio productions etc. There tends to be little room for subtleties, ECU or detail shots, just what happens.

The layouts reflect this. With a single camera, you need to focus on what we are seeing – describing the actions of the characters. Giving them good, realistic dialogue etc. The job of the camera is then to capture what is needed to communicate that visually. The first difference noted on a multi-cam script will be the big gap on the left hand side so that notes can be made for the individual cameras, as we now have multiple viewpoints to plan for.

The format can be explored easily via programmes like celtx, which can also help you plan the production. Otherwise, there are a variety of word templates you can use which allow you to set the elements using styles.

Next up, is your Storyboard. This is where you start sketching how the audience is going to see the final piece. Here is a section from “The DV Rebels Guide” about storyboarding. And a blank storyboard or two to get you started.

While this deals mainly with action / drama type scenes, you can use the same technique for as live studio shows. The kind of camera angles you are using will have a huge influence on how you audience perceive the final product – so think about them and plan how you are using them.

This only leaves the artistic design to consider – Set, Costume etc – do you need some woodworking friends to help you? Do you needs things made? It can be hard to source props, costume, sets etc, so even before your script is finished you will need to send people off to find these things!

And that’s before we start on cast…



How Long? How Much?

Posted: October 1, 2011 by Alan Hardcastle in CMP 10_12
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Ok, we are making short films. Adverts.30 seconds. That’s it.

So how long is it taking us to make these films? I want you to time all the tasks in the process. How long is it taking you to research each company you look at? and be careful here – some research packs have taken a week to get back to the folder, yet I know the researcher has sat still for a long time – or even just printed out web pages.

I want to know in hours how long the whole process has taken – confirming who what they have been nominated for, looking at what the company has given us, finding the web site, reading it, extracting what is important & relates to the awards, putting together the checklist, rough script, shot list & questions, phoning them, talking to them, running through the shots we want, negotiating access to those areas, running through the questions, rewriting the questions, rough script and shotlist based on what the company have said they want.

Then the logistics – this is essentially just sorting out who is going to get the footage. This should not take too long, but can be quite complex when there are 5 groups going out with 3 cameras in 1 minibus.

Then there is travel – how long does it actually take you to get to the company? How long are you filming on site? The average seems to be about 2 hours, which is a long time for a 30 second films… Then there is the journey back.

Then digitising – real time for DV, quicker for digital. But you ned to log the footage – where is the good stuff? Have we found the best shots, the best soundbites? We only have 30 seconds, but it needs to be a dense, action packed 30 seconds. It has to sell. This takes some serious editing.

By my estimation, 3 hours filming per film, 4 hours researching & talking, and (depending on how well the shoot was logged) either 7 or 14 hours editing. So, lets say 21 hours per film. Most of you will take a lot longer. But why is this important?

A job like this is payed by a fee. You would estimate how long it would take you to do all these jobs, in hours, and then multiply by an hourly fee. Lets say, £25 per hour. So, I make it each film (before we get to the master edit, and without expenses) as being worth about £525 each. (NB – this is based on one person, so with a 4 person crew going out takes it closer to £900). So, talk to someone who you know owns a business and see if they would be willing to pay £525 for a 30 second piece. If they say no, look at how big their business is – then ask yourself why…

I have had companies complain at a release fee of £100. But how would you bring the cost down? Well, you do it quicker. Drivers and crew who don’t muck about. Get in and film exactly what you need, based on good solid research. Maybe 2 hours to explore the subject, and come out with a good solid shotlist and questions that cover everything. It is worth spending more time on the research, because it is the filming and edit that will consume the most time. If you know what you want before you go, it is so much easier to assemble what you need at the end of the day.

So, as part of you blog – tell me how long you have been spending on each task. Multiply that, in hours, by £25. Then tell me if the work you have is worth that amount of money.