What is Pre-Production and Why is it so Important?
Many mistakenly believe that the first phase of a movie production takes place when the initial shoots are recorded–but they couldn’t be more wrong! Pre-production activities including preparation and scripting take place long before the production is filmed. We’re answering the common question, “What is pre-production and why is it so important?” to help you understand the value of pre-production steps in filmmaking.
Important Elements of Pre-Production Movie Making
Pre-production filmmaking will include several vital elements that work to bring the film together.
Your pre-production plan should include the following:
- A shooting script
- A storyboard and shot list
- Finding the right crew
- Scouting locations
- Preparing a budget
- Choosing essential gear
- Eliminating red tape
- Finding the right cast
*As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases. We receive commissions for purchases made through links in this post.
Finalize the Shoot Script
Movies are not born out of thin air. They take lots of pre-production planning before the execution takes place. As you prepare the production efforts, think about how you will finalize the screenplay.
And convert it into a working shooting script for your cinematographer and director to work with. Now is the time to tweak the screenplay and add, edit or delete unnecessary elements for the best production.
Prepare Storyboards & Shot Lists
Another necessary step in the pre-production checklist is the storyboard and shot list. Your storyboard and shot lists will be provided to the director and cinematographer to reference as they prepare for the scene.
Storyboard artists work with the director to bring the creative vision to life.
Seek the Right Crew for the Job
As you continue down the path of pre-production steps, you must begin considering who you should hire for the job in producing the film.
Begin rounding up the team before pre-production gets too involved so that the men and women that carryout the tasks of producing your film can provide valuable input along the way.
Where will you film each scene? Now is the time to scout locations and determine next steps to book the right locations for your production.
This may require tailoring your storyboard to the location or tailoring the location to the storyboard. So make sure you find the location early on in the pre-production steps for best results.
Prepare a Budget
Don’t just prepare a budget, but be prepared to stick to the budget too! Now is the time to finalize the appropriate budget for equipment, gear, professional resources and any other financial needs of the production.
This may not be fun, but it is an absolutely necessary element of the pre-production process.
Choose Appropriate Gear
What essential gear will be used to shoot the film? Will you use your iPhone or a cinematography crew? Once you have decided on the great you need to produce the film, you can begin taking steps to acquire the gear.
Consider rental houses and other options to negotiate discounts on props and other necessities for your film.
Eliminate Red Tape
When referring to red tape we mean paperwork and necessary steps that could otherwise delay production schedules. This includes permitting, insurance, and steps to getting municipal government approval for production prior to the film date.
Now is the time, in pre-production, to knock out any red tape issues and prepare for a smooth production.
Find Your Cast
Do you have the perfect presenter or actor for your film in mind? Have you reached out to him or her? Now is the time to find the cast that will bring your production to life.
Hiring your cast during pre-production ensures that when you are ready to begin filming everyone else is ready too. Don’t wait to seek brilliant performers out last minute–take some time during pre-production to find the right cast for your film.
Pre-production offers ample time for rehearsals to take place. You should prepare to rehearse the film several times in order to build confidence in cast and crew.
A smooth production comes together when all necessary time and elements of pre-production come together, rehearsals take place, and everyone is ready to tackle their role when shooting begins.