Best Time of Year to Shoot Your Feature Film
While the idea of shooting a feature film in the spring or summer may be top on your mind there are several reasons why it might not be a great idea. Knowing exactly what these reasons are may make it necessary for you to adjust your film schedule, or it would be at a minimum a good indication of potential problems that loom on your horizon. Making appropriate choices about the season to film your feature film is very important to success; after all large problems that are completely unexpected can shut down your film before you ever wrap filming.
One of the biggest problems is the best season to film. Winter is typically the best season to film. This is especially true if you are working with a very small, or even zero budget. While there are always actors around to choose from, they are likely to be working on top projects during the warmer months that will pay better. If you are unable to match the pay of the larger projects, or even the scope you will need to work around these schedules. Be prepared to experience huge problems replacing cast at various times as they drop out to work on other projects if you do not schedule for a winter shoot.
The weather is a huge downside to shooting in the winter. If you are truly serious about wanting to shoot your film during a different time of year you must make certain there is ample time built into the schedule to accommodate these problems. Additionally, you need to be extremely flexible if you are trying to work around production schedules for different projects. Without the added time and flexibility, you will find that you are fighting an almost impossible battle that you will not win. Being aware that this is a battle you cannot win is critical.
If you want to shoot most of your scenes in the winter but save a few for warmer seasons make sure that the cast and crew are aware of this ahead of time. All indoor scenes could be shot in advance for example. If you are only shooting a small amount of footage outside you could cut the time needed in the warmer weather down to a matter of days, rather than weeks or even months. This would go a long way towards ensuring that your budget is able to hold up, and your cast and crew will still be around for you.
If you absolutely do not want to start production until the warmer months you need to be sure that you have a budget that is able to pay the actors and crew. Filmmakers who are working with extremely small budgets have to be a lot more flexible in schedules. In contrast, if you are paying a premium wage to the cast and crew, you have a much greater right to be demanding that they adjust to your schedule. Regardless of the wage you are paying, you will find that during the warmer months you are going to have a higher rate of people calling in, rather than coming into the filming as scheduled. This is again where an appropriate schedule is absolutely critical to ensuring that you are able to keep the project on track and targeted to be released appropriately.
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