Getting the Greenlight

Posted on June 7, 2007

I had another Director’s Prep today and discovered a formality that I never knew existed. This prep was considerably longer than the last one I attended being that it’s a double show, and a quite unique double show at that.

It’s being co-directed, co-written, co-shot, and co-edited by two students who decided to team up. They wrote the script together (a George Bush protecting us from vampires from hell type film) and then split it up into different parts. When one person is directing their part, the other will be the cinematographer and later editor.

Where the last Director’s Prep had only 25 storyboards, this one had 180. But besides that it went by considerably fast (90 minutes), mainly because the co-directors would just remain standing for each part of the presentation.

Once the prep was done the Producer, First AD, Second AD, and myself (the Unit Production Manager) had to stay behind with the Head of Production professor. He pulled out a checklist with the title “Greenlight” on the top and began going through each item.

I always took it for granted that all films were greenlit, but apparently there’s a bit more of a formality to it. We had to provide breakdown sheets, the production board, one-liners, call sheets, day out of days ((These are all items I plan on explaining in the future. And if I’m using too much film jargon please let me know what’s confusing in the comments.)), and go over other items such as casting and location details.

Then the Producer and Head of Production sign an agreement that basically summarizes a 16 page document we have to sign at the beginning of each semester (rules such as when we can call, how long we can work, when we have to eat, etc.).

The greenlighting quest wasn’t over yet. We then had to go to another professor (not exactly sure what his official title is, but he schedules all the film shoots) and go through another greenlight checklist that covered more production elements, such as are we using any weapons, minors, stunts, etc. (yes to all).

After that was signed we were officially greenlit (I’m not sure if anyone has gotten the redlight). But the work is just beginning. We have to find one more location, convince a public park to let us have a zombie battle with gun fire on a weekend, come up with a production schedule that works around some crazy actor availability, and build an evil lair that resembles hell. It’s going to be a busy week.

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Written by Joey Daoud

Joey Daoud is an award-winning documentary filmmaker. His past films have appeared on Netflix, The New York Times, and National Geographic. He is also a YouTube creator across multiple channels with videos garnering millions of views. In his free time, he likes to climb mountains, scuba dive, and brew unique coffees.

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