Inspiration is the most critical piece when creating a film. The need to create something, to feel inspired, but by what? Many things can inspire you, whether that be drawing on your childhood, family history, travel experiences, relationships, hobbies, jobs, or lived experiences. Inspiration can come in many forms, like a song, book, film, and even a smell.
As an independent film production company, we constantly explore new and creative ways to bring our stories to life. One of the tools we use to achieve this is concept pieces and lookbooks. These elements help us to solidify our vision and communicate it effectively to our team, cast, and investors.
Visualizing your World
Concept pieces refer to the various forms of artwork that help us visualize the world of our film. They can be illustrations, paintings, storyboards, or even photographs. These pieces provide a visual representation of our film's atmosphere, characters, and key scenes, allowing us to experiment with different looks and styles before committing to a final design.
However, concept pieces are about more than just visualizing the world of the film. It is also often used to help visualize the characters within a film. When you pitch a story, you need to convince investors that the audience will love the characters just as much as they will love the world they live in. Character concept art helps make them feel more natural and exists to compensate for any potential lack of imagination from investors when a character is first being described to them. After all, showing is better than telling. It also helps create a list of attributes to look for when entering the casting stage during pre-production.
Harnessing your Inspiration
You may feel inspired at any given moment, and you may not be prepared for it. Sometimes the best things come when you least expect them. Harnessing your inspiration is very important, but how you do it makes the most impact. One way you can do that is by creating a lookbook, which is used in many creative outlets to display your ideas visually.
A lookbook is most commonly used in the fashion industry, where the designer puts together an array of photos that displays a new collection. For someone in the beginning stages of filmmaking, a lookbook can be a collection of images that can be used to illustrate your vision for the project you are working on and showcase the visual style of your film. They include concept pieces, reference images, costume and set design sketches, movie stills, and location photographs.
Often, lookbooks can help lay out your ideas in a way where the story builds itself and the vision comes to life. A lookbook functions as a reference for everyone involved in the production process, helping us to ensure consistency in the look and feel of a film, shining a light on the film's vision based on various cinematic elements such as cinematography, production design, or casting. These visual elements assist in identifying the mood and tone of the film before the production process even begins.
Lookbooks often flow like a narrative, taking the reader through the project's look, feel, and intended execution. The best way to think of a lookbook is that it is the blueprint for your project, and it can include any and everything you may want it to - whatever will help you best execute your ideas.
A lookbook can also help you communicate your ideas with your team. By using visuals, everyone can understand the vision better than if you were to communicate it. A concise picture of what you want to do will help you bring you back to reality when things start veering off track. It can also create consistency and cohesiveness among team members to ensure that everyone has the same understanding of what you are trying to do.
When are Concept Pieces and Lookbooks Made?
Both elements are made before projects go into production to help with the ideation process and harnessing your inspiration. However, some lookbooks can be created after the show is complete and be used as marketing materials for potential distributors or to gather additional or initial funding. In that case, you can use them to convince a studio to pick up a project or even to entice producers to join your project. They are also sent to potential talent to give them an overview of what kind of movie or television show they could star in.
Why are Concept Pieces and Lookbooks Important?
One of the advantages of using concept pieces and lookbooks is that they allow us to make changes early in the production process without incurring high costs. For example, if we decide that the initial design of a particular character is not working, we can easily make changes to their appearance before the film is shot. This saves us time and money and ensures that our vision is appropriately communicated and executed.
Another benefit of these elements is that they help us to secure funding and support for our projects. By presenting investors with a clear vision of what our film will look like, we can demonstrate our commitment to the project, convince them of its potential, and generate excitement. This is especially important for independent film productions, as securing funding can be challenging.
In conclusion, concept pieces and lookbooks are essential tools for independent film production companies. They allow us to experiment with different visual styles, make changes early in the process, and secure funding and support. By using these elements, we can bring our stories to life in a way that is creative, effective, and visually appealing.