Filmmaking Blog Posts by Indie Film Factory

How to make a movie

Knowing how to make a movie starts with the script breakdown.

By Kelly Schwarze – Filmmaker and Author of “What Film Schools Don’t Tell You”

How to make a movie and the art of the breakdown: 

Ever wonder “how to make a movie?” Well, it’s not an easy thing to answer. Planning your first feature might feel like marching into battle. How do you not only protect yourself, and your crew but also win? You need a battle plan, better known as a script break down. 

Possibly one of the most important aspects of how to make a movie starts with pre-production, a breakdown is a systematic and thorough evaluation of your script that allows you to budget, schedule and devise a strategy for completing your project. In order to get the most acquainted with your breakdown, we suggest skipping the program generated breakdown and creating your own from scratch with the following steps:

  • Fill in the blanks: Add the particulars of each scene under the scene report headings. This includes a small description of each scene, the actors involved with the scene, props, stunts, ect.Arrange the scenes based on location. In order to save on money, time, and frustrating company moves, rearrange your scenes in the scene report via location. All scenes that take place in a similar or nearby location (I.E INT. kitchen, then the INT. hallway of that same house) get clumped together.
  • Using your script writing software, create a scene report. This will act as your skeleton to build your breakdown on top of. 
  • Arrange scenes based on actors. Keep in mind that you are trying to wrap actors as soon as possible. Putting all of an actor’s scenes back to back or with as few breaks in between as possible creates the most efficient day for all the departments involved. Once you divvy these scenes between your scheduled shoot days, you will have your shooting schedule ready to go!

Time is the most valuable thing any organism has. While you should prepare to spend several weeks creating your scene breakdown, the hours of frustration, confusion and possible over time pay it will save you will be well worth it once your product is in sight. 

If you would like to learn more about this stuff, be sure to check out my new book:

What Film Schools Don’t Tell You
Your Basic Guide to Making Movies and Finding Good Distribution.

That’s all for now. Make Movies!


Kelly Schwarze is an Emmy © Award Recipient filmmaker who has written directed and produced 7 feature films, dozens of music vides and commercials, and has owned successful media companies in Las Vegas. 

Kelly also does one-on-one consulting for filmmakers. Click here for more details.

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