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3 Things You MUST Do Before Your 48HFP WeekendWednesday, February 13, 2019


We all know that the key to any successful film shoot is in the preproduction. When you compete in the 48 Hour Film Project you can't do any sort of creative work before the official filmmaking weekend--things like writing, filming, and editing. But there are still many things that you CAN do to prepare for your big weekend, and there are three things you simply MUST do in advance if you want to have a successful 48HFP filmmaking experience.

1. Secure locations
Location, location, location -- it's the foundation for any successful business venture, and finding (and securing) the right location is DEFINITELY the foundation for a smooth film shoot.

Many a production team has scouted out the perfect location in advance only to show up on the day of the shoot to find it closed, filled with people, or otherwise unavailable to them. These are the kind of details that have to be worked out with plenty of time before shooting begins, otherwise you may find yourself location-less come shooting day.

Be sure to print out the official location release and have the owner sign it before the shoot--many times the person who needs to sign won't actually be around on your shooting day, so you want to have that taken care of well in advance.

2. Have a (potential) cast
While you won't have your script written yet, you still need to have a pretty good idea about who you're going to put in front of the camera before your film weekend begins. Since you won't have the luxury of time to run a casting call, it's a good idea to secure a pool of potential actors in advance.

It's usually best if your actors are experienced or flexible enough to learn quickly and take whatever sort of role ends up being written for them, large or small. If you know the actors well enough you can write with them in mind as you're creating your script during the competition weekend.

It's also extremely useful if you have actors who are also willing to work on crew (or vice versa)--that way if you end up not using them in the final script, they can feel like they've contributed to the film by being a part of the production team.

3. Determine your production heads
It can take a multitude of creative people to put a film together...especially over the span of just 48 hours. So you definitely want to go in to your film weekend knowing that you've secured key roles in your production team like Director of Photography, Costumes/Makeup, and Production Coordinator.  Even if your team isn't big enough or experienced enough to have "departments", you should at least figure out who is going to be responsible for shooting the film, who is going to be getting costumes together, etc. 

Figure out who will be responsible for what BEFORE the film weekend, and have each production head plan for the things they would know in advance (like what equipment or supplies will be needed). Even though you  won't know exactly what those specific needs will be, each department should be able to at least tell you what resources will be AVAILABLE to you during the shoot, as well as potential timeframes to prepare their part of each shot.

While these three items should definitely be on your MUST-DO list for a 48HFP film, there are many other things you would need in advance on a traditional film shoot. If you'd like a more in-depth look at the planning that should go into preproduction, join us in Orlando during Filmapalooza for the Prepping the film: Protocols in Professional Pre-Production Workshop taught by producer Alexis Sheehan. She'll dive in-depth into things like proper script formatting, budgets, crew hires (for non-48HFP films), and all aspects of what the production team needs per day on the set. 

That is just one of a handful of workshops that Filmapalooza attendees will be able to take part in. To get the full list of workshops and learn how you can join us down in Orlando, visit


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