Module 1 – Introduction

In filmmaking and video production, pre-production formally begins once a project has been greenlit. At this stage, finalizing preparations for production go into effect. Financing will generally be confirmed and many of the key elements such as principal cast members, director and cinematographer are set. By the end of pre-production, the screenplay is usually finalized and satisfactory to all the financiers and other stakeholders.

During pre-production, the script is broken down into individual scenes storyboards and all the locations, props, cast members, costumes, special effects and visual effects are identified. An extremely detailed schedule is produced and arrangements are made for the necessary elements to be available to the film-makers at the appropriate times. Sets are constructed, the crew is hired, financial arrangements are put in place and a start date for the beginning of principal photography is set. At some point in pre-production there will be a read-through of the script which is usually attended by all cast members with speaking parts, the director, all heads of departments, financiers, producers, and publicists.

Even though the writer may still be working on it, the screenplay is generally page-locked and scene-numbered at the beginning of pre-production to avoid confusion. This means that even though additions and deletions may still be made, any particular scene will always fall on the same page and have the same scene number.

In pre-production, every step of actually creating the film is carefully designed and planned. The production company is created and a production office established. The film is pre-visualized by the director, and may be storyboarded with the help of illustrators and concept artists. A production budget is drawn up to plan expenditures for the film. For major productions, insurance is procured to protect against accidents.

Course Objectives

This unit covers planning pre-production of a film, television and multimedia production through research, preparation and presentation of ideas and by visualisation of the creative concept. The skills include working with the executive producer, the producer, a studio or a production company; reading the script and identifying the core elements that will contribute to the realisation of the script from final draft to screen production for any film, television and multimedia production; visualising the creative concepts, and contributing to the storyboard; contributing to the selection and hiring of key personnel within the creative and technical team in conjunction with the producer; and, deciding the key logistical decisions which will be necessary to fulfil the requirements of the production.