Six Steps to Planning Pre-Production

Planning is the first and most important function of filmmaking. Although it is needed throughout every stage of production, planning is required the majority of the pre-production stage. Pre-production itself is vital because it is the stage where most of the work is required. Additionally, planning is crucial to all members of your team to ensure that everyone is on the same page during the entire filmmaking process. Through proper planning, your video production will increase in efficiency and success.

Having a strategy in place that ensures organization  will aid in the overall quality of the production. Below we have listed six vital steps of planning your pre-production stage:


Brainstorming – Brainstorming is the process of drawing up a initial ideas. Whether you are a novice filmmaker, fresh out of film school, or a seasoned industry professional, brainstorming is a tool that can help get your team out of dead-end situations. The brainstorming stage is the most important component of planning pre-production because there is no possible way to move forward with your project without a clear concise idea.


Research – Although the research stage can be broad and time consuming, it is essential to pre-production. During the research process, your team should find examples of ideas that emulate what was brainstormed and figure out the best execution method. It should be your mission to make sure all parts of the video product are accurate.


Proposal – A film proposal is the first step to get your film into development. Although it is a tricky task, it is vital to describe to your client every detail of your project for approval. For a film proposal, you usually must create two sections: a treatment and a synopsis. A treatment is a scene-by-scene breakdown that contains just about everything to be found in an actual screenplay or short film, except the dialogue. The synopsis on the other hand is a brief retelling of your story designed to generate interest. Basically, your verbal pitch in written form.


Production Schedule – The production schedule is exactly what it sounds like - it’s a schedule of your production. This schedule should outline when you’ll be filming, what you’ll be filming, and what equipment you’ll be using on each day. The production schedule is important to keep order and keep your production on track.


Budget – A film production budget determines how much money will be spent on the entire project. It involves the estimation what each item will cost for each phase of filmmaking. This is extremely significant for clients, because in creating a film one can easily forget that this is business. It is important to prove to your client that you can handle a budget so they trust you to not waste money.  


Storyboard – The last component of pre-production is your storyboard. A storyboard is a series of panels on which a set of sketches is arranged to show the visual ideas of your film project. The sketches are shown consecutively, and depict the important changes of each scene and action in a series of shots. Shooting a film without a storyboard usually takes twice as long due to the amount of different ideas on set. A storyboard can either be drawn or, if you have found your location, you can take pictures using stand-ins.


Pre-production is essential in the filmmaking process. Without proper planning, your production could be disastrous. By using the six steps listed above, you can guarantee a well planned video. If you have any questions about filmmaking or you’re interested in adding a video component to your social media feed, don’t hesitate to reach out! Email us at or give us a call at 404-850-2081.