Judd Apatow: The Role of improvisation in FILMMAKING

In a recent podcast with the Director’s Guild, Judd Apatow shared his advice for film directors. Judd had lots of brilliant advice to give, but the principal thing he kept reiterating was the important of improvisation in film-making. He expressed that throughout the entire film-making process he slowly allows the film to come to life. He went further to state that the film should be a living organism that breathes and grows throughout all stages of production.

Apatow explained that he filmed various endings to his new film The King of Staten Island and felt out which ending felt most alive with the rest of the film. He describes the importance of having a film well thought out and scheduled, but he also expresses his attitude that it’s okay to bail on the script from time to time. Not only for the actors but also for the director as filming process goes on and new ideas come to life. During the filming process, he advises to think like an editor, and to see how the film will all come together.

For actors and written scripts, on his set, Apatow encourages actors that it’s okay to not be completely on book. He states that this makes the actors listen differently, since they don’t necessarily what will be thrown their way from another actor. According to him, this helps the film feel less scripted and more life like, and allows the actors to think outside of a tightly wound box. Apatow also expresses that during the casting process, he often throws actors into improvisation exercises to see how they interact with one another.


For me, until I know that the audience really gets what I’m trying to communicate I’m not done.

Judd Apatow

Listen to Judd Apatow’s full Podcast with The Directors Guild Here


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Photo by Thomas William on Unsplash

The 3 Stages of Production

There are three crucial stages of production when making a film. Each step is as important as the next, and every stage requires lots of attention. In this blog I am going to breakdown the three stages of production and what each stage includes.

Pre Production

  1. Writing– this is the stage in which a script is written, faces peer review, and the script is re-written. This also includes story boarding ideas before you begin writing.
  2. Crew and Cast– The film is cast, and each role is filled. Each crew member is handpicked, and the film is fully staffed.
  3. Schedule– A plan for each day of shooting is written out and planned. The schedule states when and where things are to be filmed.
  4. Locations– The location scouts search for the perfect setting and if required filming contrasts are drawn up and shared with the proper business people.
  5. Props/Costumes/Art Direction– In this stage all the needed props, costumes, sets, etc are creating and ready for use.
  6. Shot List– A format list breaking down each shot, angle, and direction of the camera.

Production

  1. Shooting– This is the stage in which all the pre-production work is put into place and the actual shooting of the film occurs. The longer you spend in Pre Production, the more organized and productive the Production process will be.

Post Production

  1. Editing– The footage is all spliced, transitions are added, and overlays are put into place.
  2. Special Fx– Special effects are incorporated and added to the film.
  3. Color Grading– This is one of the most important steps in the post-production process. It will distinguish your film as professional looking and increase the quality by a ton.
  4. Sound/ Audio Foley– Sound is mixed, editing, and added under neath each shot.
  5. Soundtrack– Music is handpicked and deed to the film in order to add an emotional impact.

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