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Phase 3: Production

At last, the actual production. This is where all the hard work you put into the preparation pay off. This is also the most stressful part of the project, so it’s important that you follow your thought out pre-production plan. If you start to go off your script it will most likely cause bigger problems down the road. There are always exceptions to this, but that will be up to the director or producer to gauge. This may the most difficult part of the production process, but it can also be the most rewarding and fun. The production itself is usually abuzz with anticipation and excitement and usually a bit of trepidation.
Time becomes the most valuable commodity on the shooting site. Budgeting your time between shots or takes is just as important as the shots and takes themselves. Spending too much time to perfect a shot or take can leak over into your allotted time for other shots. And as a result, you may be pleased with current individual section, but the rest of the project may be lacking. It is important to go into the shooting process with a perspective as to how much time you want to spend on each part. The general guides for your production should be covered in the production schedule, which was covered in a previous part, but it is up to you to make sure that production is humming along and you are staying on task. As a director, it can be very easy to not be totally satisfied with your product and same goes for individual parts in the entirety of the production process but it’s important that you keep in mind the whole picture. If you dedicate half your day to getting the first shot perfect, you might not have the proper time to dedicate to other parts. Perfection is ideal but not always feasible, accomplish what you can and look to produce a piece of work in totality that is exemplary in nature.
Time spent from task to task is usually fairly controllable, barring unforeseen weather or personal issues, and staying on task and on time should be fairly easy. It becomes up to you as the director to take control of the production and exert your intentions. In past experiences, the most time consuming part of the production comes when there is dialogue with live actors. The time it takes to churn out lines can often dwarf the time spent in pre-production and your planning phase. This is true for both professional and nonprofessional actors. Actors go from job to job assuming different roles and characters, but that still doesn’t mean that they are perfect. You as the director have a clear vision as to what you want to hear and see. Transposing that vision to another person can be extremely difficult. A cause of this might be your ability to describe what you want to see, their understanding of your vision or even the bounds of their acting range. Again, this goes for both pros and amateur actors. Although professional actors can be much more receptive to advice, criticism or subtle cues you may have for them. Unless your project demands it, working with professional actors is often preferred and adds to the final quality of your product. That being said, a way to overcome some of the problems you have with non-professional actors is to do as much work with them beforehand. The more of a rapport you build with your talent, the easier it will be for them to adapt to your instruction. You want them to feel as if the camera isn’t even there and they are just engaging with you on set. In this scenario you, a trusted person, is now their entire audience. So much of the ability to be on screen simply comes with confidence, and the more confidence your nonprofessional has, the more of a professional he or she will come off as. It is very important though to understand your actors bounds. Having realistic expectations is key to being satisfied with your work.

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