Posts Tagged ‘production research’

Production Research Proposal

Posted: November 3, 2014 by Alan Hardcastle in FDA 13_15
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Now is the time to Simplify!

You should have cast your research net wide and gathered a range of (hopefully) useful information. Most of this will have been pertinent to your original idea, some of it wont, and some will have been relevant in ways you didn’t foresee. Whichever, you should have a better idea of the area you need to research, the area you want to make a product about, the area that is viable for your production.

All of this research should be pointing towards a final product – but doesn’t yet need to be massively specific. This comes later. What it should do now is enable you to focus your research time on the crux of the matter. Select an area of the subject to focus on, and start to drill deeper. Look at the conflicting arguments, different approaches, Pros & Cons – all depending on your approach.

EG –

  • You are doing a documentary on a subject, How can you keep it more manageable? How can you simplify it so that you are doing something both relevant and interesting?
  • You are writing / developing a Fiction Script – What info do you have about the theme? What is the subtext? What style is the film going to be? What actors do you have access too? What locations?
  • You want to play with techniques (Effects, sound, camera etc) – select the techniques you want to use, test them, abandon some, develop others and end up with a toolkit of techniques you now need to link together in an idea.

So, write a proposal. Get your idea simplified. What is your idea in the most basic form?

Sum it up in a sentence. Then explain the sentence. Then explain the viability of the idea, followed by how it is shaped for a specific audience. By this stage, you should have your idea described.

If you cant sum it up in a sentence, its too complex. If you cant explain it on one sheet of A4, It’s too much.

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.

Production Research.

Posted: October 5, 2012 by Alan Hardcastle in FdA 11_13

One of the major issues we have with Production research is defining exactly what is is. Truth is, there is no right or wrong – just effective and ineffective.

Production Research is the research you need to do to ensure the production is viable – funding, logistics, technology – as well as worthwhile – position in market, potential audience etc. It is often used to raise he money to make the production so will often be used to present ideas to an investor. So, think Dragons Den.

This is the stuff that backs up your pitch.


Use, Make, Explain, Evaluate Relevance, Pitch, Evaluate Pitch and Pitch Again.

So, in discussions we agreed on certain meanings for the unit in order to define the task. As you can see, we have the basic structure of

“Use Research Techniques (and justify them) to develop an idea, evaluating the relevence of the material, and present your findings as a research folder to support your pitch.”

In other words, develop an idea. You will make this product as your Major Project.

So, what techniques can we use?


A few terms defined in class – we have identified a few good books on Social and Media Research that explain the pitfalls.

Well, the main one is reading. Find books, websites etc – develop an idea. This is the big bit, but actually not the bit you are really marked on – just having a good idea will power you through the whole year.

After this, you are pretty much conducting market research to examine other products, and audience research to test your ideas – and this is the catch. You will need to justify and explain what methods you use. You have surveys, questionnaires, 1:1 interviews, focus groups – all these techniques at your disposal. Which ones you choose to use, and how you combine them is your methodology.


I have also recommended you use a research cycle – so keep reviewing where you are up to, and let your research influence your idea. If you need to change the idea, do it – especially if your research has told you to
do it, and you are justifying the changes you have made.

There is a very tight deadline on this – I need you to pitch and submit 1st draft the week after Half term – 6th November. This gives you a chance to then re-draft everything (should you need to) before the final submission on 21st November.

You submission for this project will be a research folder, compromising your raw data (Photocopies, images, moodboards, script, storyboards, artist designs, survey results etc) and a report that draws together your findings to justify your production.

We have tried to put everything you need into this report template, but please don’t treat it as a comprehensive list. Add extra things to it, and remove things you don’t need to consider – a fictional film is different to a factual film, and adapting a script is different to creating your own.

My first recommendation, as you dig through the research on what you are interested in, is to do a skills and resource audit – what are you good at? What equipment do you have access to? What locations can you get into? Don’t go planning to film a dinosaur invasion on a Red in the Houses of Parliament without at least a test shot. read up on Roger Corman, who had a habit of making films on days of in production schedules – we have actors, we have cameras, we have a set – quick, write a script…

The point is to produce a document that proves you have thought about everything in this production. Then you will pitch it with a proposal, and then make it.