Pre-Production and why its important

When creating a media product, there are 10 steps of pre production you must go through before creating said product. In total there are only 13 steps to creating a product meaning pre-production takes up more the 75% of the process, which is why it is the most important aspect of creating a product. Pre-production is crucial when working for a client, the pre production allows the client to see why certain decisions are made, what research lead to this decision, and why its the best possible decision for the product, based on the circumstances. Pre-production also prepares the crew and creators for the worst, if a situation arise where changes need to be made, the creator and crew can refer to the pre production to work out what the next best option is, wether that means altering the budget, or cutting a scene. The quality of a product can often depend on the quality of the pre production.

  • Brainstorming
  • Research-Primary-Secondary
  • Proposal-Pitch(Synopsis)
  • Production Schedule
  • Budget
  • Storyboard
  • Location Recce -Risk Assessment
  • Contingency Plan -Back Up Plan
  • Shooting Schedule
  • Call Sheets
  • Production-Film Shoot -Shot Blog
  • Offline Edit -Rough Cut
  • Watch-Review-Online Edit


Brainstorming is the documentation of initial ideas, often done in a group, creators will write down a group of related ideas, and then expand on them, eliminating the ones that won’t work and evolving the ones that will. In the event of an idea failing, the content creator can refer back to the brainstorming to see if another idea could work in its place. often creators will find that although an idea might not work, elements of that idea might help make the product better. When creating our TV ad, we found that once we got to the post production stage, our initial idea wasn’t going to work, but instead of scrapping it and starting over again, we combined one of our other initial ideas with the footage we already had, and created a much better product.


Research is often seen as the most important part of pre production. Research is there to protect the content creator, wether its checking the legality of a scene, or the accuracy of statistics. Research also allows for content creators to make educated decisions and, when working for a client, can help to explain why a decision is being made.

there are 2 types of research, primary and secondary.

Primary –

Primary research is conducted by yourself, often in the form of a questionnaire or focus group.  This kind of research allows the creator to determine the target audience and preferences. primary research is used to gauge the audiences interests.

Secondary – 

Secondary research is research collected by an outside source. this could be anything from statistics, to personal documents. secondary research can be used to fill any gaps left by the primary research.


this stage of pre production is important for a number of reasons. when working for a client a proposal will be needed before production can start, if the proposal does not get approval you must revise your idea or create a new one. This is a situation where the brainstorming documentation would come into play. The Proposal is often presented in 2 parts; the treatment and the synopsis. A treatment is a detailed break day of what you are creating, how you are going to create it and what equipment is needed. A synopsis is a paragraph detailing what content you are creating and why.

Production Schedule:

This is a move by move plan of what is being done, when, where and what/who is needed. This gives the crew an idea of what to prepare for and helps keep the production on track. In the case of a cast or crew member not turning up, the production schedule protects the content creator from being accused of not informing said cast/crew member of when and where they needed to be.


When working for a client, often the client will provide  you with a budget to create the product. prior to receiving funding a client may ask you to present a budget plan. this is a document stating how you intend to use the funding. When creating a budget plan you must consider the following –

Cast/Crew Wages

Equipment Hire

Location Hire

Set Design

Costumes/hair and make up supplies



Rights Acquisition



Contingency plan


This is the final evolution of an idea, the storyboard is a culmination of all the ideas previously thought out. this is a documentation of how each scene is intended to look like, it creates an initial structure for the product and gives the cast and crew and idea of what each scene is supposed to look like. most commonly done in drawing form, a storyboard is the first complete look at what the product is intended  to look like. alternatively, a story could be created if a location has already been found, as stand ins can be used to portray ideas however this may impact your budget as you may be charged to use the location.

Location Reece:

This part of the pre production is important because it leads into all the other aspects. the location reece is when the content creator seeks out viable locations. when performing a location reece it is important to consider many aspects from camera angles, to lighting to health and safety. The location reece is important because it helps when perfuming other steps of the pre production such as the budget, storyboard and even the contingency plan.

Contingency Plan:

This step of pre production is one of the most important, a contingency plan is a back up plan incase something goes wrong during is important that the contingency plan is detailed so that in the event of an emergency production can switch to the contingency plan with ease. contingency plans are there to prevent the need to cancel shoot days which would cost you or the client money.

Shooting Schedule:

this is a day by day timeline of what shooting is being done when and for how long. This is one of the more complicated parts of the pre production as it requires you to know the availability of all the cast/crew as well as the availability of the equipment hire.

Call Sheets:

Call heats are documents giving to every cast and crew member. the document details what is required of each member,  when it is required and the location they need to be at. This document, when done correctly, also covers the creator in the situation of a cast/crew member not turning up and claiming they were never informed of when they were needed.





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