How to make a film

The filmmaking process might seem a bit of a mystery at first. So to help you know what to expect, here's a short guide to the filmmaking process. Helpful Films is based in London in the UK and run by Sam Care, a freelance filmmaker. This blog post is written by Sam:


First Step

We will normally chat on the phone first so I can hear what you would like to achieve by commissioning a film. I'll find out your ideas, why you want to commission a film, your rough plan, your deadline and your budget. Then I can write up a rough quote for you. If you like the quote, then we move on to the next stage...

How long does this take?  Half an hour to one hour for the phone call. I can normally have a rough quote with you in a day or two.



We will meet in person for a kickoff meeting. This is a brainstorm and planning session. In that meeting, together we will come up with a creative treatment for your film and a rough storyboard. We will also sketch out a more detailed schedule.

After the kickoff meeting, if the film is an unscripted documentary, I will work out a structure for the film in advance of filming. I will write a more detailed storyboard and write interview questions ahead of filming. If possible, I will begin building rapport with documentary participants to help them feel comfortable before filming begins, by chatting with them on the phone ahead of filming. 

If the film that you are commissioning is a scripted film, this is when I will write the script - normally using Google Docs so that you can feed directly into it and we can keep track of any changes.

This is also the time when I might, along with you, audition and book actors or voiceover artists. And this is when we find locations and buy props or costumes. 

How long does this take? 1 - 4 weeks



This is the filming bit. You'll often be on location or on set with us so you will see this first-hand. I help documentary participants feel comfortable in front of the camera. I interview them and direct them. I create an environment on set that helps actors give us their best performance. And I take care to make sure the footage looks and sounds great. I make sure you’re happy that you're getting what you need from the participants or actors.

How long does this take? 1 day - 1 month+ 



This is the editing stage. After filming, I send you a first cut based on the storyboard we wrote together. You review it with your colleagues, you collate all the feedback from your stakeholders, and then send it to me. I make changes and we work together over email and phone to get the film just right.

How long does this take? 1 day - 2 weeks


And finally...

I send you the finished film(s) over the web. You put it on your website and social media channels. Your audience watches, enjoys, and takes action. 



Sam Care is a freelance filmmaker with 10 years of experience making films for clients.