If you are a filmmaker, then you know that pre-production is one of the most important parts of making your film. It can be very daunting to think about all the things that need to be done during this stage and it’s common for filmmakers to put off getting started on this process until they absolutely have to. But if you start with a film pre-production checklist template, you can easily duplicate this process each time you start a new production.
It will make everything much easier and smoother later on. Here are some key items that should be considered when thinking about pre-production:
What is pre-production?
Before getting into the actual checklist, it’s important to understand what pre-production is. Pre-production is the process that happens before production begins. This is when all of the planning and preparations take place.
This includes everything from casting to storyboarding to location scouting. It’s during this time that the groundwork is laid for the production, so it’s important to take the time to do it right.
The pre-production checklist
Let’s take a look at the actual checklist. This will vary depending on the type of film you are making, but here are some key items that should be considered:
Lock shooting script
One of the first things you need to do in pre-production is to lock down the shooting script. This is the finalized version of the script that will be used during production.
This should be done before any casting or location scouting takes place. This will help to ensure that everyone is on the same page and that only minor edits are made once production begins.
Finalize the budget
In order to make sure that you stay on track financially during production, it’s important to finalize the budget early on. This means calculating all of the costs associated with making the film and ensuring that everyone involved is aware of what they need to spend.
This includes everyone from the cast and crew to the post-production team.
Create the storyboard
Storyboarding is a great way to visualize the film and make sure that everyone is on the same page. This should be done early on in pre-production so that any changes can be made before production begins.
This involves creating sketches of each scene in the film, as well as noting down any specific shots or camera angles that you may want to use.
Hire your crew
One of the most important tasks during pre-production is hiring your crew. This includes everyone from the director of photography to the sound technician.
It’s important to assemble a team of professionals who are capable of bringing your vision to life while also keeping an eye on the budget.
Scout and secure shooting locations
Location scouting is another important task during pre-production. This involves finding the right locations for your film and securing them ahead of time.
This is an area where you are probably going to have to start making compromises.
For example, your director may fall in love with one location, but that location might cost a lot more than what another similar location would cost. Can you squeeze a few funds from other areas of the production to make your director happy? Or will you need to have a conversation with them about the second location instead?
Cast your talent
Casting is another important task that should be done during pre-production. This involves finding the right people to play the roles in your film and securing their commitments ahead of time.
It’s important to have a clear idea of who you want for each role before starting to cast. This will help to avoid any delays later on in the process.
Sometimes it is not just about finding the best person for a role. Sometimes it is finding the best person that fits in your budget for a role. Keep that in mind and don't waste your time auditioning actors and actresses that you will not be able to afford.
Secure your equipment
If you are renting equipment for your film, it’s important to secure it ahead of time. This will ensure that you have everything you need when production begins.
Since you already did the storyboarding and have a lot of your shots planned out ahead of time, you should have a pretty good idea of what equipment will be needed to capture those shots.
Create a shooting schedule
Once you have your cast and crew in place, it’s important to create a shooting schedule. This will ensure that everyone is aware of when they need to be on set and what scenes they will be working on.
It’s also important to make sure that the shooting schedule takes into account any location restrictions. Perhaps that alley you wanted to use can only be made available to you on Sundays based on local ordinances. Keep those sorts of things in mind as you create your shooting schedule.
It's a wrap
The logistics involved with creating a film can seem daunting, but if you have a checklist to follow it can make things a little easier.
Pre-production is an extremely important part of the filmmaking process. This is the time when you put all the pieces in place and make sure that everything is ready to go once production begins. By taking the time to do these things early on, you can avoid any costly delays down the road.