Hi and hello,
A few years ago while in filmschool I found myself knee deep in paper, printing pretty much everything and drawing/writing my way through note books while in prep faster than the writers could finish drafts. This is mainly dew to at my filmschool we very often had a fair amount of prep time and I enjoyed testing out everyway you could shoot and light a scene, just has it was a great way of learning and finding different things to test while in prep, but a lot of trees had to pay the price, I also spent a fair amount of time redoing things dew to rewrites and so on, so I set myself the goal of being paper free and to try and find ways to automatize rewrites and changes, just to save time.
So the end goal of prep for me is to end up with a cinematography bible, which consists of the script with story notes/turning points and so on, floorplans, shotlist and sometimes a storyboard and rough lighting plan. There are ofcourse other documents, but this is what I share with the crew and hope that they read so that we are all on the same page and what for me took the most paper.
Through figuring this all out I have tried many ways and am still adjusting it all to different projects, time restraints and budgets, but this is how I normally start and then adjust from here.
Shoots with fewer drafts:
For small shoots I base myself of Scriptation, here I can make my notes and then use shotdesigner to do the floorplans and shotlist, I also make. note of all special equipment and a note of the idea of the lighting, so that the sparks also know what we are going for, before taking screen shots and adding them into extra pages in scriptation which I can place freely in the script. I can then scrible lighting ideas and a rough plan into scriptation, great thing about this is I can do it on a layer which I can keep of the bible I give to the main crew, but can turn on for the lighting crews version.
Pros of this workflow is that if the script gets updated I can easliy move all the notes into the new draft with the click of a button and its all quick and easy to make notes and so on.
Down side to this is any updates to the shotlist and I have to add in a new screen shot manually which can be a bit of a pain, atleast on shoots with a fair amount of prep and you keep making changes as the script evolves and things are not locked before you start prep
Shoots with more drafts:
For bigger jobs I use the same tools as for shorter jobs, I just add Indesign to the mix, this is purely for the abilitys to link attributes to file adresses and have them auto update. What I do here is set up a folder structure with script, floorplans, shotlist and so on, then make an indesign document which is linked to the files in the structure and set up the lay out. Now when ever a file is updated I just rename it to the "standard" name I have given to say the script and drop it into the folder, it then replaces the previous file and indesign updates the document to now include the lastest script. I then export a new draft of the "bible" which is then opened in scriptation and all my notes quickly transfered to the new draft. So its still not automatic, but when a 90 page script is updated and you have done an new run through with the director and changed the shotlist a few places, its great to spent 5 minutes updating the whole bible instead of 3 hours moving things around and trying to remember whats new.
This is of course not something I always get to do, and this all takes time, sometimes a note book or just scriptation with an extra page blank page between each page of script with rough floorplans is all there is time for, but I have found especially when working with crew who don't speak the same language or with bigger crew where you can't always share what you are thinking its a great way to distribute a plan and keep on top of updated scripts and shotlist drafts, and also a great way of working through the film and letting it get into your head, I must admit that the amount of time I actually look at the bible on set is close to none, mainly because in making it you actually end up remembering a lot of it, so all you actually end up doing is skimming through it in the morning and thats enough to remember it all.
Hope this was interesting, I know people prep in a thousand different ways, but this is mine if its of use to anyone awesome, if not oh well! Would love to hear how the rest of you solve this if anyone else is willing to share!