Creative Writing: The Process: Part Two

Last week I started the process of how we write, film, and produce our videos for Big Idea Experience. It’s a fun process but it is a lot of work. I tackled the creative side of it last week but this week I’m tackling the process of going from paper to production.

Second Draft Meeting
1 hour
1 person

After we have our initial draft I went over all the scripts and polished them up just to make sure they all made sense and fit together. It depends on how well the first draft came out and if there were any logistical issues that came out of it. This process is less creative and more like an editor so the time per script goes down considerably as long as the script was finished. Also keep in mind that at this point we were working in like 3-4 month segments. We usually had one writer do this, for continuity but it could be divided up depending on how long you’ve been working with your writers.

Final Draft Read Through
1-2 hours
2-6 people

For this meeting we tried to pull in more people then just the writers. It’s very important to have some people that haven’t touched the scripts up until this point at this meeting. This meeting can easily stop at an hour. Again it depends on how many scripts you need to read through. Also keep in mind that this is still working with around 3-4 months of content.

We had our writers at this meeting, our executive staff (so the tasters of your videos), and then finally we had what I would call our filming producer in the room to get a feel for what we’re aiming for in each video.

Also our writers and some of the “executive staff” double as actors, however if you use a different set of talent, while you might not need every actor there, it would help to have an actor at the table that’s familiar with your available talent.

At this meeting we do a read through of each script. Our goal is to cast each of the roles and also tie-up any loose ends.

The final part of this meeting you may dismiss some of those present to save their time. We tried to nail down locations that we’d like to use for filming and make a list of any props that might not be explicitly stated in the scripts themselves.

After this meeting our film producer works with the crew to set up a time to film each script, schedule talent, send-out scripts, and coordinate with the prop/set team.

Film/Production Meeting
<1 hour
1-3 people

For this meeting we have our film director, producer, and the prop master there. It’s really just a quick meeting to make sure that everyone has what they need. If we’re setting up sets or backdrops our set team and film team will coordinate testing lighting and shots to make sure we have everything we need. This is also the place where we try to make sure that all of our props are working the way they need to and any costumes will fit the actors.

For our team many people are wearing different hats to this. I help to write the scripts but also oversee the process. However, many times I’m in the film as talent so we have a seperate director that I coordinate what I’m hoping for in each of these so that they can keep the process moving.

30 min – 2 hours a script
Dependant on script

Final step is filming. On average these 5-8 minute scripts can take an hour to film. If they’re heavy on multiple people or multiple scenes they can go two to three hours. If it’s one person standing and talking, like an experiment or object lesson, they have gone as short as 30 minutes.

One thing to look into here is a quick “practice” with your actors depending on how much you expect them to work on their own before hand. The other thing we’ve found that helps is a teleprompter. This really only works very well if it’s a one person video.

That’s our process from conception to completion.

Photo by Trent Erwin on Unsplash

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