Pre-Thinking for your Pre-Production

Pre-production is the most important phase of making a movie. Planning is everything, and you will need to start thinking about it even before you officially begin pre-production.

Step 1: Fundraising

Before you can start doing anything, you need money. Everything costs money, even pre-production. There are many ways to fundraise that may or may not work for your script. However, in order to convince people to give you money, they will probably want to see some sort of plan. So, you will need to write a treatment. A treatment will not only outline the story and tone of your script, but also your production plans. So, you will need to calculate how much money you will need to make the movie as you envision it. Detail the cost of running each department in a spread sheet. Also account for pre-production and post-production costs.

Step 2: Offices

Once you have enough money to make the movie, even if it is not as much as you would have hoped for, you can begin pre-production. Before you start this, you will need an operations hub. Look into finding a production office space. You will need to hold on to this space through pre-production, production and a couple of months into post-production. From here, you can do all the work that is needed to get the production on its way. Depending on your film, you may also need to get a building space lined up as well. This would be necessary if your production designer needs to do a lot of construction before the shoot. In some cases, weeks of work will need to take place before production.

Step 3: Staff

You will also need people to get everything done. In your production office you will need a few key staff members such as a Line Producer, Production Coordinator and maybe later a Unit Production Manager. A couple of production assistants could also come in handy to do the more menial work. To build the sets, you will first need to track down a good production designer. This is a highly creative position that should be filled with your director's consent. Once you have found this person, she will outline what is necessary for all the work that needs to be done.

Step 4: Timeline

You need to set a timeline for yourself in pre-production. Most of the tasks that you need to achieve will beg the question "when is the shoot?" So you need to determine how much time you need to spend organizing before you actually do it. Your production designer can give you a timeline for set building, but chances are that your own work will take much longer than construction. Try to give yourself a bit of a buffer to account for the unpredictability of the industry.

Pre-production needs to be preceded by more than just speculation. Keep your wits about you from the moment that you decide to take on a project in order to keep it on track from step 1.

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