Feb 15

The Importance of Planning in Filmmaking


It’s tempting, but when it comes to getting creative, many of us make the first mistake before we’ve even started. The problem lies with the  ‘Eureka’ moment, the flickering of the light bulb, the flash of inspiration. Ideas that allow us to be creative do not come to us all day every day. In fact, on the most part, good ideas are few and far between, causing us to become excited when we have one. Following this spark of (what we think is) genius, comes the quick mental feasibility test. In our minds, we run through if this idea can actually be pulled off, if there is anything stopping us from realising it, and if there are any potential drawbacks. Usually, as is the general rule, every great idea has a potential downfall. Upon discovering this, we form a rushed solution to get around it and proceed to become more excited for the development of, in this case, a new short film. A quick mental checklist is in order:

  • Has it already been done?
  • Can I really achieve this?
  • Are there any major problems?

No? Excellent! It’s time to rub our hands together gleefully and start making our masterpiece.

But wait…

This might all sound like a load of psychological waffle (well, it sort of is…), but actually it has point. We’ve all been there and we’ve all done it, but rushing into a project in this way waves goodbye to its success before you’ve even begun. Without the correct thought, the correct preparation and the correct planning, you commit to dooming your project and thus wasting a fantastic idea. It applies to almost everything creative, but in the case of producing a feature film or indeed a short film, rushing into it is a cataclysmic error.

You need to plan…

You have to think of your plan as if it were the manual to your brand new camera. Without that manual, you don’t know how the camera works. You can’t use the camera properly, you can’t put your camera to its best use, you can’t make anything look good. Your plan is your manual. With your plan, you know everything you need to know about using your camera. You can operate it fluently, efficiently and extract the maximum quality from it. Your plan is the difference between a successful film and and unsuccessful film.


It’s a little depressing and a little disheartening at first, but how would you feel if you produced something rubbish from this initial great idea? I’m sure you would much rather take the time to plan and be successful rather than not plan, and consequently fail.

As you will see in future articles, planning does not have to be the boring, long, drawn-out process that it is often perceived as. There are many different types of planning films, different ways you can implement these types and different lengths of time you can spend on each. A small amount of time spent planning can go a long way when it comes to actual production. Invariably, it will often end up saving you time and energy in the long run. You cannot rush into something such as filmmaking. It is something that is all too easy to get wrong, and sometimes, painfully hard to get right.

Nevertheless, planning to plan is a step in the right direction.


1 ping

  1. Filmmaking blog | lightmasterstudios.co.uk

    [...] it comes to making movies, having a plan is vital. Perhaps even more important than having a plan is having a workflow, a series of steps you will [...]

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