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What to Include on Your Pre-Production Checklist

When filmmakers engage in the numerous activities that relate to the planning of their film, they are working through the pre-production process. It’s a many-headed beast for which you’ll need a thorough plan of attack to ensure everything go smoothly.

This is where having a pre-production checklist can make a big difference. Step one in developing this all-important document is figuring out which tasks are most relevant to your project.

Here’s what every good checklist should have listed:

• Cast your talent
• Lock the script
• Scout locations
• Create a shooting script
• Engage a storyboard artist
• Finalise the budget
• Hire your crew
• Source equipment vendors
• Rent out gear
• Hold table readings

Is All That Really Necessary?

Honestly? Yes. The most expensive aspect of filmmaking is actually getting what you want caught on camera so take the opportunity to plan while time is on your side.

The more time and resources you commit towards pre-production, the more confident you and your team will be walking on set — not to mention how much more prepared you’ll be if a problem should arise.

On Micro-Tasks and Multitasking

Being able to wear many different hats and manage your time effectively will be your secret weapon in getting through those various little things that make up each major item on your checklist.

For example, once you’ve seen and selected your locations, you’ll then need to approach the venue or evem the council to secure permits for filming, which typically also means buying (public liability) insurance. Saftey first!

This tends to be par for the course at this crucial stage and whether you love it or hate it, you’ll have to put the work in — or find someone else to do it for you.

Creating Your Own Pre-Production Checklist

If you do some searching online, you’re bound to find an overwhelming number of browser-based and downloadable pre-production checklists and some of these can be almost exhaustively thorough.

But if you’re the kind of filmmaker who’d rather just get straight to the action, take a look at our pre-production services and get in touch. We can even offer support in Production Coordination for WA-based film projects!

Ultimately, the take-away point of this article is that you should always allow ample preparation time in the lead-up to production.

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