What Is a Pre-production Plan?

Pre-production planning involves determining what you will need to produce your film, how much it will cost, and who you will be able to recruit to assist you. The director, cinematographer, producers, first assistant director, Project Managers, production coordinators, and site scouts are frequently involved once the script is finalized. Each project is unique, based on the budget and scope of the production, but there are some general criteria to keep in mind. These plans are essential to make sure no relevant detail is forgotten before proceeding to the next stage of production. Check out an example of pre-production plans to see how they are structured.

How to Make a Pre-production Plan

Pre-production planning for video, film, and Multimedia won’t be easy without a thorough document to be shared with other roles of the crew. This entails that if you don’t bring your concepts or ideas into a physical document, the other members of the crew may have difficulty envisioning what you have in mind. This is why a pre-production plan will come in handy to make sure that your message is received and understood by others who will be working with you to produce a film, music, or other forms of art. Take a look at the available pre-production plan examples this article provides.

  • Step 1: Write Your Executive Summary

    The pre-production plan’s main points should be summarized in an Executive Summary. It should restate the project’s goal, emphasize the most important elements, and summarize any relevant details, conclusions, or recommendations made in the project. Even though this can run from two to four pages long or depending on your contents, the details should still not be lengthy and confusing to whoever would be reading the contents. Since the main purpose of the executive summary is to encapsulate the main points, producers who are in a rush can get the gist of your project by reading this section of your plan.

  • Step 2: Candidly Give Your Objectives

    The next step would require you to thoroughly state the goals and objectives that your project would want to achieve. This includes knowing what do you want to accomplish through the process of the pre-production stage, the reasons for achieving the goal, as well as the rewards of doing so, etc. Alternatively, you can also utilize the SMART Goals to have a guide on your respective objectives and they have their specific structure. Take your time in this section because you should be able to identify your objectives and goals before proceeding to other steps.

  • Step 3: Add the Operational Plan

    An operation plan is a very detailed strategy that outlines how a team or department contributes to the project’s overall objectives. It lays out the day-to-day responsibilities of running the Project. When correctly prepared, an operational plan ensures that each management and employee are aware of their unique responsibilities as well as how they should be carried out within a certain timeframe. It’s critical to plan out the day-to-day chores that will provide a clear route to your project and operational objectives. Your operations plan should address essential topics such as the strategies and tasks that must be completed, the persons responsible, the timelines for completing each strategy, and the cost of doing so.

  • Step 4: Elaborate on the Team

    No project can be accomplished with a single individual solely carrying all the tasks by themselves. If you are the director, then you are not expected to create the entire script, find appropriate locations or tailor to the costume to be worn on set. Especially for a large and major project, you will be stressed out handling numerous tasks all at once. This may be expected for an independent film. Nevertheless, if your budget allows it and if the producer demands it, assigning roles and responsibilities is vital to disseminate the tasks necessary to complete a project with ease.

  • Step 5: Elaborate on Your Action Plan

    Reaching this last and final step will mean you have completed all the prior steps. It is important that you do since each Objective will have a designated action plan. And a more specific action plan is advisable. Each respective action should also have a designation to one of the team members and an estimated end date. An example of this is for scouting locations, you can assign one of the crew to have a list of areas appropriate for the film by a specific date or the costume department to have their sketches ready for the concept of the outfits that the cast would be wearing.

Essential Elements of Pre-Production

On a movie set, the first day of shooting is never the first day of production. Days, weeks, months, years, or decades might pass between the commencement of a film’s development and when the cameras begin rolling. A movie’s production and post-production processes might be shorter, longer, or about the same, but neither can exist without pre-production, the effort that goes into a film before any pictures are captured. The following stages or elements will be relevant to keep in mind to ensure a steady process and smooth Video Production workflow. The items in this curated list will act as a checklist for you to keep track of the necessary things that should not be forgotten while planning during the pre-production process.

Complete the Shooting Script: Movies are amazing, but they don’t appear out of nowhere. Even before the pre-production phase begins, you will need a concept and, in many cases, a complete and polished script to work with. When the pressure is on, you will need to finish that screenplay and turn it into a shooting script that can be read by the director, cinematographer, and camera crew as it does for the actors. Tweaks and entire scenes can be modified, added, or removed at any moment even in later stages of the post-production, but your shooting screenplay should be mostly ready to film by the time the director calls action.Shot Lists and Storyboards: Storyboards and shot lists complement shooting scripts by providing a visual representation of the screenplay for the director and cinematographer to refer to and prepare for. While some directors have a clear vision of what they want and can sketch it themselves, storyboard artists are typically recruited to bring the narrative to life. When a film is viewed, even in black-and-white drawings, it comes to life in a way that the entire team can see and provides them a real goal to work towards.Choose the Right Team: While certain crew jobs may already be connected or suggested for a project, and others, such as your writer and storyboard artist, may be hired early in the process, you should strive to complete the team before pre-production begins. After all, it will be these roles who will be performing many of these duties, and the earlier they are included in the creative process, the more significant their advice will be. Not just the filming, but the entire process of filmmaking is a collaborative effort. Keep in mind that their designated roles will be beneficial to fill in even before pre-production begins so you, no matter what your role is, will not have to constantly worry over other tasks.Scouting for a Location: Finding them early is crucial since you may need to modify your storyboards to your setting or vice versa. Many hands-on producers and filmmakers may want to do this themselves, but hiring a professional site scout who already has locations in mind or understands how to uncover unique ones that fit your screenplay is frequently the best option. Whether you’re filming at a studio or soundstage, start looking early and make sure it’s not booked before you lock it down. It’s just as vital to find real-world venues early because you will need time to obtain the required permissions and paperwork.Create a Proper Budget: You should be completing your budget by now to ensure that you can obtain the equipment you need and afford the areas you plan to visit. This is sometimes the professional thing to do; other times, it’s the only option since you don’t have any credit or financial supporters prepared to go above and beyond what they have already pledged. This is rarely the most enjoyable aspect of pre-production, but it is frequently the most crucial. Coming up with a pre-production budget is crucial to define the necessary funds you will need to prepare before proceeding with the next stages of production. Select Your Equipment: You have the option whether to choose to shoot digitally, with a specific number of close-up lenses or as a starting and independent filmmakers make use of, their accessible mobile devices. You can get your gear, often from a rental house, once you have decided how you want the film to be shot. After your first film, you may develop a connection with a particular rental house, allowing you to negotiate discounts and find out just how much auxiliary equipment your budget will allow. This option only applies if you don’t have the equipment, but if you do, then you are well aware of what works for you and your film.Securing Permits: Once you have decided on the gear and destinations you want to visit, you will need to start filling out paperwork, such as permits and insurance. Municipal governments demand permits for shooting on public land, and site agreements are often necessary for shooting in private homes, especially if you will need to move furniture or equipment around or repaint the walls after the shoot, for example. You will also need insurance to protect yourself in the event that you or a member of your team causes damage to the site or your leased film equipment by accident. Finally, you should consider insuring your staff and actors.Locate the Ideal Cast: Once your dominoes have fallen into place, you will need to settle on your cast, depending on how many actors you auditioned for, may seem impossible. You could be irritated because you can’t locate the right person for the part you have seen in your imagination, or you might have discovered two equally talented actors and are tearing your hair out trying to choose between them. In any case, auditioning early and often, as well as hiring a casting agency to discover more actors, potentially from beyond your area, can go a long way toward ensuring that your film has the appropriate cast.Constant Rehearsals: Finding the ideal cast may often make a director overconfident, causing them to place too much reliance on their actors to be self-sufficient. Actors, like crew members, rely on their directors, and working with them individually and as a group is an important element of the pre-production process. Holding table readings and rehearsals weeks before filming ensures that when the camera is ready to roll, your actors will deliver the performance that your film requires. This extra time before the filming also helps the cast to create true chemistry, which your viewers will notice.


What is the importance of pre-production in filmmaking?

Before you start rolling the cameras, you may organize everything you need during the pre-production phase of filmmaking. Pre-production is the process of arranging and carrying out all of the tasks that must be completed before production can begin. When it comes to filmmaking, effective pre-production may help you save time and money which are the two most scarce resources. You are less likely to misuse resources or run out of money if you have a Budget in place. Detailing the timeline is also important for a smooth production process since it offers the team a clear picture of how much time they need allot for an effective shot.

When does pre-production end?

The cameras are now ready to roll when this stage is completed. You have cast your actors, obtained site permissions, recruited the crew, and made arrangements for equipment rentals. Pre-production is an important part of every project since it ensures that the actual production runs well. Make sure that before you or your producer gives the acknowledgment that pre-production has been completed, no other relevant detail essential for the Film has been forgotten. Otherwise, you will need to go back to planning it and could stall the production stage.

What happens without pre-production planning?

The entire production is built on the foundation of pre-production planning. Without pre-production, locations for filming would not have been reserved, shot lists have not been established, and talent has not been recruited. If you mess up pre-production, your team won’t be as prepared to execute their optimum effort or make speedy modifications when problems arise on set. Modifications done in the long run would instead lengthen the production and post-production time which could delay the film further than intended. This could lead to a loss of resources and money, which would not please the producers or film crew.

Pre-production video planning may seem tiring to go through and might tempt you to jump right into starting a production. But without finishing the script, creating a storyboard, contacting locations, and securing permits, your project may encounter issues that could compromise the flow of the production. This would end up with you facing more stress and hassle than preparing it from the beginning. This is why creating a pre-production plan is essential to ensure that your production and post-production stages are smooth and without any unnecessary bumps. What are you waiting for? Start making that pre-production plan now!