By definition, Pre-Production is all the planning that is done for the video before full scale production begins. Regardless of whether you are producing an animated spot or a live action shoot, this is a necessary step for any type of video. In many ways it is the most important. When things don’t go well in production, you can usually trace the fault back to this stage, and when the production turns out to be a huge success the credit also goes to great planning in this pre-production stage.

Depending on the type of production you are planning, Pre-Production can be fast and seamless or long and labor-some. The backbone for the Pre-Production stage is the message and the budget. The budget is critical for developing the video concept. It determines the level of resources you can allocate to the project that establishes the boundaries when thinking of different video concepts and ideations. With the budget set, the project brief is then broken down and turned into a concept (sometimes called a treatment). It answers the obvious questions “what is our message and call to action” and “how best will we get the message across?” These questions seem simplistic but they are far more complex than they sound. Messaging is an art and a science. There are many factors that need to be considered for making an effective video among which is demographic information on the target market and competitor research.

Once we have the message nailed down, we begin working on the concept. This is a highly collaborative stage, the client works directly with Click Play Films as well as any additional third parties involved in the video or advertising campaign. The concept for the video is the HOW. Will we use animation or live action video, or both? What happens in the video – will it be an explainer video with 2D stock animation and motion topography or a talking head interview style video or will we have an acted/scripted production with actors, props, or even special effects. Will there be a script? If so, than the script is written in this stage as well as any supporting storyboards if necessary.

Once the concepts and scripts are finalized, then all the actual planning and scheduling begin. If casting is necessary than the entire casting process takes place in pre-production. Casting can be for on screen actors or voice-over actors. In producing animation, depending on the style of animation, we would also seek illustrators with a specific type of artistic style that we want to bring on to draw the animation sets. Staging and staging companies are also evaluated, and any additional team members that we may want to bring on to make the video a reality. Locations are scouted, props are rented or built from scratch, and permits are secured when necessary.

After everything is locked in, we send out a Call Sheet that details all the people involved in the shoot, including the production crew and all the actors. The Call Sheet will also list the locations and time of each scene for each shoot day as well as what props are necessary for each scene. This is the final manifesto for the shoot. Once the Call Sheet is ready – that means that everything is ready for the shoot and we begin Production!

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