There are a lot of things that go into making a movie or a television show. But even before anything is shot with a camera, there is a lot of work that has to be done beforehand. Below are the steps that are taken during pre-production work on a film.


Concept is where you’re going to develop the plot points and structure of your story. Often the ideas are going to be ripped from headlines or drawn from your personal experiences. Maybe you’re creating a movie from a story you’d been told when you were little or maybe its your own personal story. You should be able to communicate your concept in just three sentences – its beginning, its middle and its end. This translates to the first, second and third acts. The second act should be the main part of your film, with the other two being bookends which set up and resolves your main plot.


This is the film’s extended summary. It’s usually one to three pages long, based on your project’s scope. This will cover your entire story, from its beginning to its end.


The majority of writers outline their story with index cards. This lets them arrange as well as rearrange scenes easily. After it’s completed, the scenes in the outline should be given numbers and letters so they’re organized. These are going to stay with your scenes during production as well as post-production. Therefore you want to be logical and consistent about the system you are using. Chances are that you are going to add some more scenes in the future, so you want to put aside unique combinations for the pickups.


When you’re writing your screenplay, make sure you’re always referencing the outline so that you’re not losing track of the structure of your story. Use great tools and software for screenwriting such as Celtx or Final Draft. This is going to help with speeding up the process. After you’re done, you want to rewrite it. You will find that there is a lot of rewriting to be done before it’s ready for a final draft. Your screenplay is never going to be perfect. However, you’ll need to decide when it’s the right time to go onto the phase that is next.

Script Breakdown

This step is the process where all of the items that is needed for the shoot of the movie is identified. This will include things like effects, props, locations and more. This is everything you’ll need. It’s very important that you are poring over all of the details during this process so you’re able to have an estimate for your schedule and budget.

Shot List

As the name implies, it’s a breakdown of each shot in the scenes, with descriptions of things like your framing, camera movement, location and framing.


Storyboard your film’s scenes visual representations. These will be able to illustrate the placement of characters, lighting positions, focal length, blocking and many other notes. If it isn’t in your budget for hiring someone to do this, you can do it on your own or you can have the production designer do it for you.


It’s expensive to make a film. The producer will have to secure the funding for paying for your whole process of producing the film, along with the distribution and marketing after the film is done. Getting funding for a film sometimes can take a long time. That is why there are some filmmakers who do it without the funding and pay for it themselves and then license or sell the rights once it’s done. Funding can happen at any time.

Location Scout

It’s important that you are going to the locations that you want to look for, if you can. You want to observe things such as ambient sound and light. Bring your shot list so that you can visualize each of the scene’s shots. If it’s an outdoor location, consider going there throughout the day so that you can see how sound and light changes. Check out the weather. If you have lots of gear or a big crew, consider getting access for your production vehicles and crew members. You also want bring a camera with you to take some pictures of the location. This is going to be helpful when it comes to your production designer choose your location. Consider the property releases or permits you’ll possibly need for each of the locations.

Tech Scout

When you’ve locked all of your locations as well as created your shot list, the cinematographer, director, line producer, 1st AD and production designer will go on what is called a tech scout. This is done so that the director can visit all of the locations with the department heads and then precisely explain what each of the shots are going to entail. This is things like where cameras are going to be, the camera movement details, the actions of the actors and how they scene is going to look. It’s also important that a camera is brought long to take pictures. Your cinematographer can use it for replicating the shots using the still camera.


Once the tech scout’s done, your 1st AD will use the shot list from the director to create a daily schedule for each shooting day.


This will be done by casting directors, and these are excellent at finding the actors who match the specifications of the director. Final choices are made by the director, but the first selection, which takes the most amount of time and is very tedious, will be done by casting directors.

Production Design

Once everything else is done, the set pieces’ production is designed and overseen by a production designer. They also will arrange procuring of things that need to be bought, like props, furniture and plants. Your costume designer will do the same with the costumes.

If you are planning to make a movie, remember these steps above and take them and you’ll have a great movie.

About 800-KAMERMAN

800-Kamerman is a 20 time National Emmy award-winning video production company with over 30 years of experience producing compelling branded content, commercials, live events, features, corporate communications and educational videos for clients. Offices in Orange County and Los Angeles.