No need to make films in a linear way anymore

Oct 23, 2022

Lean Filmmaking completely restructures the work involved in making a film: instead of being done in a linear way, many of the activities can overlap. 

Overlapping activities is a collaborative way to improve output and efficiently distribute workload between squad members.

Our iterative method of Make-Show-Adjust Cycles makes this possible.

To give a practical example, for a squad of six who’ve decided their primary roles are a writer, director, shooter, editor and two actors, this work could be allocated at the same time:

⚡ The writer is writing story beats, action or dialogue for the next scene

⚡ The director and actors are rehearsing the current scene

⚡ The shooter is finding locations and setting up shots for the current scene

⚡ The editor is editing the previous scene

The squad comes together at predetermined times to view the edit of the previous scene, shoot the current scene and discuss the tasks for the next scene, before separating again to repeat the process.

This is done concurrently, in real time, making it easy to quickly adjust performance, style, pacing and most importantly, story. 

The actors can ask the editor why a scene was cut in a certain way, then adapt their performance when shooting the next scene.

The writer can see how much detail the actors need to perform a scene, providing them with only the essentials in the next scene.

The cinematographer can get character insights from the writer, allowing them to enhance the story with appropriate shots. 

Everyone in the squad can give feedback on each scene within the context of the whole film.

Overlapping activities help the squad to question every task and decide when (or if) it needs to be done.

If the squad has only a few members, then implementing overlapping activities will obviously be harder – but there’s a positive trade-off with other time-saving benefits, like less documentation and fewer chances for miscommunication. 

Overlapping activities can also be a valuable tool in all stages, not just Make. 

During the Show stage, different squad members can be interviewing fans, organising screenings, collating feedback or producing marketing materials.

In the Adjust stage, the squad can review how overlapping activities are working and where they can improve in future cycles.

As an added bonus, overlapping activities also create opportunities to develop new skills and hones the talents of each squad member.


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