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Pitching and Pre-Production: Tools and Methods


Trent Watts
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Hey all, I'm trying to land my first feature narrative as a DP, and most of my experience is in documentary-style commercials and branded content.  It's a non-union feature, budgeted at about $150K.  I want to put a great pitch together for the director to sell him on my ability to pull this off.  I'm also hoping we can parlay this document into something that will be useful once we get started in pre production.  I want to incorporate a lot of reference stills I've already collected, and show my ideas for color palettes, lighting styles, camera movement, etc, in addition to ideas on logistics to keep it within budget. 

The director seems very open to visual ideas,  is a more writing/acting-oriented director and has expressed that he wants the cinematographer to bring their own strong perspective to this.

Right now, I was just going to lay everything out in a google document.  But I was wondering if anyone here as some methods they've found to be very efficient and useful over the years for presenting their approach.  Are cinematographers using studiobinder or other software?  Is there some good color palette software to create colored squares from my reference photos?  How much do you go into ideas about logistics, crewing, scheduling, etc.?  Are any DP's using script-breakdown software that correlates all these elements directly to a script document?

I would love to hear any of the software, tools, methods, and any helpful tips that you use for this process!  Thank you!

 

 

Edited by Trent Watts
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I use a google doc all the time to convey a look to a director. (I used to use Word .doc's exclusively, but adopted Google docs instead because of their ease of access)

PDF's are an excellent way to share a clean version of a look book to a director/producer. Plus the hyperlinks in the pdf should still work.

Honestly, if you're still pitching yourself to the production, I wouldn't dive too much into specifics beyond a simple pitch deck/book/presentation. In my experience, they're judging you more on your prior work and recommendations rather than what you can visually bring to the project. I'll say, if you've got the director onboard to bring you on, then you'll most likely get the job.

When you actually get hired is when you can really dive deep into the look book. It can be as specific as scene by scene, location by location, or just an overall look per act/sequence. It's always different for each film and how each director works.

I can email you some examples of the look books I've made! Drop me a line: AJYoung.DP@gmail.com

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On 6/8/2020 at 11:08 AM, AJ Young said:

I use a google doc all the time to convey a look to a director. (I used to use Word .doc's exclusively, but adopted Google docs instead because of their ease of access)

PDF's are an excellent way to share a clean version of a look book to a director/producer. Plus the hyperlinks in the pdf should still work.

Honestly, if you're still pitching yourself to the production, I wouldn't dive too much into specifics beyond a simple pitch deck/book/presentation. In my experience, they're judging you more on your prior work and recommendations rather than what you can visually bring to the project. I'll say, if you've got the director onboard to bring you on, then you'll most likely get the job.

When you actually get hired is when you can really dive deep into the look book. It can be as specific as scene by scene, location by location, or just an overall look per act/sequence. It's always different for each film and how each director works.

I can email you some examples of the look books I've made! Drop me a line: AJYoung.DP@gmail.com

Put some of that stuff online AJ. WordPress is a good free blogging site.

OP, in the past I've made spiral bound proposals with my inkjet printers. But they are costly and time consuming. If a proposal didn't work out and I got it back, it was a simple thing to unbind it and change a page or two with the recipients names and rebind it. But I have a binding machine and can do it myself.

If you can get by with the digital, then AJ's method sounds good. You may want to ask the recipient what they prefer...digital or print. I always liked books myself, something about having it in your hands. But I can't say one method is better than the other. Some people hate books and like digital.

Good luck OP!

Edited by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.
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