Preparing your film for Production

So, you've written your greatest script, or acquired one, and you want to make your movie. You've secured financing, and you're ready to begin the process of breaking down the script. If you're an independent production, as most of us are, you're probably wearing many hats. If you're the director, you'll want to communicate your vision as clearly as possible to your excited, multi-talented department heads - Cinematographer, Production Designer, Costume Designer, Sound, etc.

One tool I've found that I absolutely love for doing this is Celtx. It's software that's free, but it doesn't act free. It was developed by some folks up in Nova Scotia, I believe, and it will work on your PC or, preferably, your Mac. So, now, you've uploaded the program, installed it, and done a bit of nosing around on the tutorials - looks easy, right?

And you've either written your script on Celtx, or loaded your Final Draft or other script into it. (It will automatically gather all your characters/sets, etc., in categories like all the others, and often better.) Now, on to the fun part.

Say, for example, you've got your scene description in your script, and want to translate that into a scene in your film. You've done your research, can't stop thinking about it, and you have a photograph you've seen in a magazine or online somewhere that perfectly describes what you're writing about. Well, in Celtx, your script is part of your overall project file, and on that script you can highlight a section or a word - say "Pine Forest- Winter" and link it to a photograph you've imported into the project and/or a link to an online image or video or whatever.

Your Production Designer and Cinematographer now can read your project, click on the word, and voila!, everyone is on the same page.

Or say you want to assemble a list of meetings for various aspects of production - there's a great calendar function.

Or you want your Production Designer to do their breakdown so that everyone can follow along. Just like all breakdown programs, you can quickly assemble lists of props or locations, or details on a character's back story.

Oh, say you've got someone who just called and said they wanted to see if you could turn your feature film into a comic book - you can change your script to that format immediately.

You can add storyboards, too.

The project can be shared over a live network online - completely privately - to your 5 principal members, for $5 a month, or a bit more if you want to expand it.

Need live chat? No problem. It's on there. Sound good? It should. Go get your copy. You'll be happy you did. Oh, and they didn't pay me to say all this.

Have a great shoot!

Juri Koll
MLK Day, 2010

If you have any questions, or just want to talk about your project, email me at

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