Planning A Smartphone Feature Film

Susy Botello
Smartphone Filmmaking
3 min readNov 14


We provide a walk thru on pre-production from SBP Podcast’s “Fade In To Film” bi-weekly panel discussion.

In case you hadn’t heard, the SBP Podcast Mobile Filmmaking, created, produced, and hosted by me; created a series with a chosen group of panelists last summer. We discuss current events and topics on the minds of mobile indie filmmakers.

You can listen to our podcast in just about every major podcast app and many more.

In episode 165, I asked our panelists to walk thru the pre-production process to make a narrative feature film after acquiring funding for your project.

This episode is a step-by-step telling of how to plan your feature film production.

Distribution is part of the funding process, or it should be. Getting into festivals and attending, and marketing your film regardless of where it ends up streaming, is important.

I should point out that many indie filmmakers go through this process for short films as well, because it’s organized and helps to give filmmakers the confidence and resources they need to make a feature film.

In this session, our panelists were Levi Austin Morris, Ryan McDonald, and Jason Rivera.

What we discussed:
* First meeting with key crew members
* Casting calls, when to secure your principal actors
* Locations and shot list vs storyboard
* Props and renting smartphones
* Which comes when? Jason Shares his role in pre-production

The conversation was quite in-depth on each step but we did spend some time on when casting your principal actors should take place.

We also agreed that you should have a screenplay ready before you go into pre-production.

Production is the filming phase of filmmaking. Therefore, to plan your production you need your map, your screenplay is the foundation for that. Naturally, it comes before you begin to plan filming. Otherwise, you are wasting a lot of time and resources. And let’s face it, your team’s patience.

Casting your main characters is crucial because you need their commitment to your film dates. General production dates are set in advance and even though we did not discuss that in detail, you need them in order to get commitment from your cast, and main crew.

We mentioned that you need to have three people with you in your initial meetings. You need the director sometimes the director is the producer, but if not, you need your producer, and your DP/Cinematographer.

Once you have these people and your screenplay in the bag, sort of speak, you are ready to enter pre-production with your intended dates for production.

We differentiate storyboard and shot list for our listeners and we discuss some of the conundrums that come with omitting them. It’s easy to believe you really don’t need them, especially for a minimal location shoot. However, angles for complicated scenes are important. Also important are the shot list which help you stay on track.

Listen now to episode 165 or download the MP3 to listen anytime, anywhere.

Panelists in this episode: Levi Austin Morris, Jason Rivera and Ryan McDonald.
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The panelists: Ryan McDonald, Levi Austin Morris, Jason Rivera, Joey Min.
Learn more about the panelists:

SBP Podcast Mobile Filmmaking: The Voice of Mobile Film™ is for everyone who ever wanted to or is curious about making movies and videos using smartphones.

Mentions: Conrad Mess’ The Other Side | Ryan’s Married and Loving it! | Levi’s Trailer for Paralysis | Zacuto’s Smart Z-Finder

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Susy Botello
Smartphone Filmmaking

Official International Mobile Film Festival founder - S. Botello Productions. Mobile Film Advocate & Podcaster.