December 31, 2015

Here's a Pre-Production Checklist That Might Make Planning Your Film Easier

There are a myriad of other things to get situated before you ever even turn on your camera.

This, of course, is called pre-production. It's the time before actual shooting starts wherein cast and crew are hired, locations are scouted, and gear is rented. But that's just the tip of the iceberg -- the list is seemingly endless. Luckily, producer Devin Reeve, in this interview with Film Courage, shares a checklist of sorts that details a bunch of the big and little things that you'll have to accomplish before you head into production.

Here are the tasks Reeve mentions in the video:

Pre-Production Checklist

  • Cast your actors
  • Lock the script
  • Scout locations
  • Finalize your budget
  • Hire your crew
  • Set up vendors for equipment
  • Rent gear
  • Do a tech scout
  • Do a table read

If you're looking at this list and thinking, "Well, that's not a lot," just remember that these are macro-tasks, and completing them means completing a bunch of micro-tasks. For example, casting your actors alone is a big undertaking, taking an incredible amount of time and preparation in order to hold a successful audition.

There are countless pre-production checklists that you can look at/download online, some of which are much more lengthy and thorough that this one (including storyboarding and finalizing legal stuff, like insurance), but in the end, I think the lesson here is knowing that you must allow yourself ample time to prepare. The more prepared you are walking on set, the smoother the entire production will be.      

Your Comment

4 Comments

I would also add rehearse with cast if possible especially fight sequences or choreographed moves. Even though you are making a low budget film these would help get things rights.

January 1, 2016 at 6:44AM, Edited January 1, 6:44AM

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Johnny Wu
Director, Producer, Editor
439

We have written a guide to pre production when you are working with TV
https://blog.productionhero.co/what-the-heck-is-tv-pre-production/

February 10, 2017 at 6:17AM

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Thomas
150

I have to 100% agree. The better prepared you are going in, the better things go even when it all gets FUBAR'd in mid process. Table reads, Rehearsals, Lighting tests, SFX Tests are all important. With that said, when shooting a funding trailer it's a great opportunity to do all that before you go into actual production. As Budget goes Estimate High then Spend Low. Invariably unexpected costs creep in at the most inopportune times. IF you have any money left over after Post, there's seed money for Festivals.

March 10, 2017 at 7:38PM

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Jay Summers
Producer/Director
86

If you're in the animation business, we've created a pre production checklist based on our learnings creating our short film, Tend.

https://boords.com/blog/6-step-pre-production-checklist-for-animated-video

April 3, 2019 at 7:35AM, Edited April 3, 7:35AM

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James Chambers
Director of Animade & Boords
162