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What are the most important aspects of film practice?

What are the most important aspects of film practice?

Although the cast and storyline are often the most talked about aspects of a film, there’s a whole lot more to the creative process.

If you’re serious about a career in filmmaking, it’s beneficial to explore each element of the process to some extent. This might, for example, include cinematography, sound recording and design, editing, production design and others to appreciate the variety of disciplines involved.

It is also important to understand how these areas function together to create a cohesive piece of work that engages or challenges audiences.

What is film practice?

Film practice is essentially the process of creating experiences for a viewer through combinations of image and sound.

Within a traditional industry context, film practice harnesses a range of technologies and established creative conventions to produce works that can be released and exhibited to audiences. Today these include digital capture methods as well as traditional photochemical processes and the resulting films are typically shown in cinemas or online through streaming platforms.

Beyond this, film practice can be found across a range of creative and experimental areas, such as gallery or site-specific performance and installation projects, augmented, virtual or mixed reality productions, as well as interactive fiction or documentary experiences and many other related artworks.

What are the different stages of film practice?

There are many behind the scenes elements that work together to create films that inspire and capture audiences the world over.

Here’s a brief guide to the key stages of film practice as understood within a conventional industry context. It’s likely that the films you see in multiplex cinemas or on well-known streaming platforms went through each of these broad stages.

1. The concept

A film concept is the basic idea behind your film, a brief outline of the story and main characters in your movie. Without an original concept, there isn’t a great film to start with. 

It’s easy and safe to rehash an idea that’s already been tried and tested, but it takes great talent, creativity, and skill to come up with a concept for a film that’s original and challenges audiences to think outside the box.

The concept forms the foundation for the film – everything else will be built on top of it.

2. The script

The script takes your ideas around a film’s story, settings, characters, and dialogue and translates them into a linear, scripted format.

It’s an important tool that the production team uses as a reference for what’s going to happen in the film.

It doesn’t have to be set in stone from the beginning – scripts can evolve to make room for better ideas and improvisation.

3. Storyboards

Storyboards help you visualise the shots you plan to take when you’re making a film. They’re essentially a sequence of drawings that represent each shot, and can help filmmakers decide on things like camera angles and shot sizes.

Like scripts, storyboards are also an important tool for communicating to production teams what you’re trying to convey in a film.

4. Cast and crew

Assembling the cast and crew that will bring your film concept to life is a crucial element of the filmmaking process. Budgets will of course impact the choices you can make here, but the most important consideration you can make is whether the cast or crew member is the right fit for your specific film production.

Consider their experience and skills, request showreels where available, and hold auditions where possible to find the right talent.

5. Filming locations

Filming locations can either be real places, or places in your imagination. If they’re real places, you’ll need to scout around to find the best spots that will accommodate both a cast and crew. If it’s a fictitious place you have in mind, you’ll need to look into constructing a set or using tools like computer-generated imagery (CGI).

6. Filming

This is where all the action happens, and your film comes to life. It’s important to have your planning documents on-hand as well as a schedule of what will be filmed and when. Be brave here – you might have originally thought of a particular way of capturing a scene, but now’s the time to experiment to see if new angles, movements, performances or ideas could make the scene more engaging to audiences.

7. Post-production

Although you could have many hours’ worth of footage filmed, if you’re looking to release your film to global audiences, you’ll generally need to keep it shorter.

That’s where post-production comes in. It’s where you edit all your raw footage to create an edited, cut version of the film. Once you’ve got a cut version, you can then add things like sound effects, music, and visual effects. This step will require utilising editing software, so you’ll need to be sure you’re proficient in using it to do a good job of it.

What about independent, artistic, and other forms of film practice ?

With digital technologies having become ubiquitous and increasingly accessible among today’s global society, the opportunities for independent filmmakers and other artists to capture their ideas and stories through film – where and when they feel the inspiration – have become seemingly limitless.

While mainstream filmmaking is often associated with big budgets, large crews and production teams, and lengthy processes, digital technologies such as smartphones have enabled a shift towards more simplified and accessible filmmaking, with minimal costs, time and resources involved.

This shift means filmmakers and other artists alike can create professional-quality video content from the convenience of their mobile devices, and as such has seen the popularity of video content creators rise rapidly.

How can a masters in film practice help you?

Having a masters degree can not only help you gain a strong grasp of each element of film practice – it can also help you become a better filmmaker, artist, and researcher.

When you study a masters in film practice, you’ll have access to acclaimed filmmakers and experimental artists delivering your course. They can provide you with their expert insights and support and mentor you throughout your learning journey as you develop your skills to become a distinctive and skilled practitioner.

You’ll also be challenged to push your creativity to its limits and beyond, and to continuously think outside of the box to innovate in your work while engaging, inspiring, or confronting your audiences.

If you want to embark on an exciting career in filmmaking, discover how Arts University Bournemouth’s MA Film Practice will empower you to become a highly-skilled and successful filmmaker.

Explore the course

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