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Some people like to say the pre in pre-production stands for “preparation.” Okay, no one actually says that, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t true. Pre-production is the time to plan ahead and get organized. While this may not be as fun as developing a story or filming on set, think of the work as fine-tuning your creative vision towards making it a reality. After all, if you were happy to have your story stay on the page, you would have written a book.
Even when you’re pulling 18-hour days on set, there’s not a whole lot of time during production. Those debates (or shouting matches) about the artistic merits of a certain camera angle or the emotional impact of a line reading need to be settled by the time you arrive on set. Pre-Production is the time to figure out your creative vision for the project, from the overall look and style to more minute details like prop placement. It might not fit your romantic notion of walking around with headphones and yelling “action” for a take, but most of the important creative decisions should happen before all of that. Because failing to prepare during Pre-Production means preparing to fail in production.
The crew you’ve been assembling to help with your dream is about to get bigger. After all, Pre-Production means you’re really close to actually filming something! Or, if you can’t afford to bring anyone else on board, your existing team will have a whole lot more to do when the project begins Pre-Production.