Pre production Steps in Filmmaking

Written by Nwachukwu_nelly

This will explain How to make a movie for any film production. for a film to be complete it typically goes through this three phases;

ALSO READ…Film Career; The Producer As a Career.

Each phase add its own spice and passes to the next before a movie is born
For this series I do be taking you guys on the first phase of filmmaking which is Preproduction and do well to keep note of film production jobs you can see here.

In brief preproduction is a stage in filmmaking or the process of preparations and planning for every scene.

You need the understanding that there is sets of different film workers in each phase of filmmaking, and each with their own varying degrees of involvement in each of this phase. While some workers such as the producers and directors get involve in all phases, others like the film editor, visual effects artists whose work is to combine the footage may have little or no involvement in one phase and do most works in in another filmmaking phase.

For each phase in filmmaking is outlined steps, this steps might happen differently or simultaneously in each phase,

Preproduction phase in filmmaking is the beginning of a movie creation after the idea in form of script has been born or made ready
Don’t get this missed up, generating a script is not part of preproduction except when it’s within the company of a producer and a director, but when it’s just an individual selling or giving out his script, that process is not part of preproduction.

Preproduction can take a month or even a year, it’s advisable to always get this phase right because it is the core of all other process and getting it right makes other process very easy but if you get it wrong you may end up with film that won’t sell. So guys before turning on that camera for production make certain that you get it right under your preproduction.

Having said all that, let’s roll on to the (9) Pre production Step to Consider in Filmmaking.


Like I said early writing script might not necessary be a step in preproduction when it doesn’t involve the producer and director,
but Script preparation is certainly a step.

In this step its vital for the director and others involve (Art Director, the location manager, Unit Production Manager, Director of Photography and Head of Sound to understand what the storyline is all about, see what one add or remove depending on the budget and relate it to other team members.

This step covers script development, character building, script analyzing and breakdown and finally forecasting how each scene will be shoot.

Key Persons:

Script Writer, Director, Producer, Unit Production Manager, Script Supervisor, Art department, Location department, Cinematography and Sound Department


No producer or director would like to go on set with people they are not sure will be able to handle a role if give, every director will love to have the best actor and this is how auditioning of actor comes in.

Auditioning are done in order to ascertain that an actor is capable to handle a role, mostly during auditioning directors or casting directors gets to pick an actor they feel will fits in to a character in terms of age, body size, traits and shapes.

Actors preparing for audition should be aware that there are expression a director is looking forward to see, this tips will help

Key Persons:

Casting Director, Assistant Director, Director, Producer and Scriptwriter


Financing is the aspect that deals with securing fund for the film project, fund that will see through from the inception to finishing result of a film project, and this is usually done by film mangers; the producers who takes the story about to be filmed meet with persons willing to invest in it (This set of investors are known as the Executive Producers) a signed contract seals the deal between the Producer and the Executive Producers after which work can set off rolling.

Producers, “You shepherd the project from script to screen,” says Producer/Director Michael Merino. “You are responsible for everybody and everything.”

Film Budget is also carried out by the producer who splits his money into various sectors that will bring about the film as part of the budget, he hires a Director, a Production Manager, create budget for the script, budget for location, feeding actors in location, special effects, logistics and for post-production.

All cost must be double checked, if in a case a scene incurs more expense the producer through the help of the director order for such scene to be rewritten to save cost.

All schedule, locations, equipment, crew and cost of the actors must be in consideration when planning and budgeting.

Key persons:

Producer, Unit Production Manager and Director


Having a great script with bad casting will definitely make you create a movie that your audience wouldn’t want to see, this is why most filmmakers pay inconceivably large salaries to profitable and audience acceptable actors to have them perform in their movies.

Casting contributes up to75% success of any film, good casting brings the best in a script even if the script isn’t great enough.

Casting means giving a role to who fits in, here you want to give a role to the best actor after auditioning such an actor and been convenient that they can deliver their lines and perfectly fit in to their character.

Before a casting director may finally give out a role he must have generated many prospective actors that could bring the best from which he chooses the particular actor he/she believes will perfectly fit in to describe the character.

Key persons:

Casting Director and Director


Most Professional film industry forgoes this step in order to save cost and preserve spontaneity. It’s only advisable that you follow this among the professional film industries if you have a highly experienced cast and crew whose professionalism will entirely compensate for lack of rehearsal and development.

Great movies and ideas grow out of rigorous rehearsal, but fiction films are usually denied it. Producers in order to save cost and preserve spontaneity make argue that rehearing is just a waste of time and money because they believe that actors can on their own learn their line before coming on set but here is the disadvantage of not rehearsing with actors, they will only give what they have, rehearsals challenges actors to go the extra mile and brings out only the best.

It’s also great to know that some accomplished actors most times disagree with the school of thought that acting is just a waste of time. This actors prefer to study and rehearse rigorously with fellow actors before going on set and this is why directors recommend them for filming.

If top professionals prefer rehearsal, those using a cast of mixed experience need it even more. Film equipment is not, as many beginners think, an alchemy whose techniques will produce gold, no matter what. Filming merely magnifies: what is good looks better, and what is bad looks worse. Shaping your ensemble before filming gives your actors a shared history.

Key persons:

Coordinator, Director, Assistant Director(s) and Casting Director


Location scouting and selection is one important aspect of preproduction because it enables one to prepare adequately.

Knowing your location will help you know how to arrange the shooting schedule, time to shoot and also help in budgeting for logistics.

Most film are shot in location order, therefore location scouting and selection is very serious. For low budgeted movies it’s always advisable to secure locations that are convenient for the actors and logistics won’t cost much.

Key persons:

Location Manager, Assistant Director(s), Unit Production Manager, Director of Photography and Director.


From the first reading of the script, the Production designer is to start planning and setting the overall look of a film. Design should be visually eloquent and depict the characters, settings, moods and circumstances surrounding the script.

This step involves building a complete world with all the characters, costumes, properties, color, Makeup, Special effects, settings, furniture’s, cars etc.

Also a production designer processes the ability to integrate settings at low cost, working with costume masters who are equally good in finding things needful in case the movie needs to be set in the past or modern days.

The final design is an important part of your Storyteller’s point of view.

In Production Design a lot are put in place (wade ropes, hairdressing, Makeup, moods, sounds, walls, furniture, practical lamps, special effects) to create a beautiful film, this step is very importance because it give life and beauty to characters and the entire movie.

Key persons:

Production Designer, Art Director, Unit Production Manager, Head of Sound, Director of Photography and Director.


Production or Shooting schedule is the final step in preproduction, after several meeting with cast and crew, several planning sessions and arrangement lock down for the production and every departmental head having visited the location and bringing back reports, breakdown and budgets, all this taken down into consideration by the unit production manager and the manager, then last minute correction down by all core participants which includes the producer, unit production manager (UPM), director, script supervisor ( also known as continuity supervisor) Director of Photography (DoP/DP)

Art Director and head of sound then the shooting schedule can be decide by the UPM and AD( assistant director) and double check by the director and other crew members such as the script supervisor, Director of Photography and line producer depending on the budget.

Production Schedule involve logistics, time of arrival, time to be on set, and contingencies such as unforeseen weather, illness, breakdown of equipment etc. the purpose of production schedule is making shooting easy and understandable, helping cast and crew members plan for the film and themselves, helping them know when to be on set and when not to, it also help to keep budget In check.

Key persons:

Producer, Script Supervisor, Unit Production Manager, Director, Art Director, Assistant Director(s), Head of Sound and Director of Photography.


In brief this will help you know how to make a movie, by getting you preproduction right you are sure of having a smooth production.

this is also a pointer to film jobs in production of movie, anticipate for stages in production and also what post production is all about


I encourage you to leave a comment and also do well to follow me for suggestions, contributions or Questions.

Do well to see related posts also in Film Production.

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