Pre-production, as the name implies, is all the work and planning you do before you start the actual production work on a project. Pre-production, or pre-pro, is the most important part of any project. More time spent in pre-pro generally yields a much better and smoother production. In this video, Walter walks you through all the ins and outs of pre-production and budgeting.
- Pre-production, as the name implies, is all the work and planning you do before you start actual production on a project. Now, I consider pre-production, or pre-pro, as is known, the most important part of any project. More time spent in pre-pro generally yields a much better and smoother production. Why is that? Well, pre-production is where you finalize a production concept and plan through all those logistics we started talking about earlier.
The more time you spend working through those scripts and all the elements it will take to create your project, the better you'll be able to plan your production. Then, when unplanned things happen during production, and they will, you'll be better prepared to handle the situation. Depending on your situation, pre-production can actually start with the very first client meeting, even before a contract is signed. Talking through the project with the client gives you the vision they are hiring you to create.
That vision gives you direction to plan out the how, where, and when logistics you'll need to complete the project. Scripting is primarily completed in the pre-production phase. Having a completed or nearly completed script is critical to planning out the rest of the project. Storyboards created in the pre-production process can greatly help in the planning process, allowing your crew to quickly see what needs to be accomplished in each scene.
Pre-production usually includes creative meetings with your primary crew, such as the director of photography and the video editor, to get their input on scenes and requirements to complete the project. Oftentimes, these will include site surveys to scout appropriate locations for scenes. Logistics, such as crew and equipment needs are often driven by these discussions and the storyboards. Production scheduling is a big part of pre-production. Understanding the time required to complete each phase of the overall project is important to ensure you can deliver by a deadline and within budget.
The scheduling also drives many of the additional logistics required for a project, such as meals for the crew and elements for post-production. Most importantly, your pre-production planning will help you to develop a budget. The more time you spend on pre-production, the more likely you are to create an accurate budget to submit to your client. If you'd like to get more information on creating a video production budget, check out my course, Video Budgeting, which is a deep dive into budgeting.
Have a contract before starting billable work. If you remember nothing else from this course, know that you must have a signed contract or agreement with your client before starting any real billable work. Now, there will be some meetings and some pre-production work that you might need to do in order to create the contract, but don't start any billable work until you have a signed agreement. That agreement should lay out not only what you are going to create, but also the payment terms.
I talk more in-depth about this in my Video Budgeting course and we'll talk about this again later. Pre-production is what I consider the most important aspect of any project. Now, let's take a closer look at some of the elements that make up pre-pro.
Walter Biscardi takes you on set and shows you how production decisions unfold in real time, whether you're scripting, scheduling, directing crew members, or providing feedback to post. Follow along and explore the responsibilities of a producer in all stages, including pre-production (planning), production (running a set), and post-production (editing and delivery). By the end, you'll have a better understanding of skills and techniques it takes to run a smooth and successful video production.
- Scripting and storyboarding
- Running a set
- Paying your crew
- Working with post
- Providing constructive feedback