The sun is just starting to peek over the edge of the mountain. Your actors are in place. The light is perfect. Anticipation is high. Then it happens…you know – the unexpected: a battery dies, the wrong lens is on the camera, somebody “forgot” something. And just like a needle skidding across your grandfather’s favorite vinyl LP, it all goes up in smoke.

Shooting a video can be fun and easy. But only if you’re ready.

25 years ago, before I started Comprehensive Media, I did a lot of free-lance work around town. In those days I was usually a tape operator or a production assistant. Looking back, I learned a lot about what NOT to do.
I’ve been on-set when there were no batteries for the camera or when someone forgot to pack the video tape. And while those are extreme examples, they do illustrate my point:

Preparation or the lack thereof can make or break your video.

I guess it was out of those experiences that I decided Comprehensive Media was going to be different. We were going to make pre-production a priority.

What is pre-production?

Without a doubt, pre-production is the most important part of the entire production process. It’s where the hard work happens. It’s where the foundation is laid. It’s where you prepare for the “what if’s”. That’s why you’ll hear, “All mistakes are made in pre-production”.
As the name implies, pre-production refers to everything that happens BEFORE production, ie: shooting, begins. This includes, but is not limited to: writing the brief, developing concepts, scripting, storyboarding, script breakdown, budgeting, scheduling crew & equipment, scouting locations, casting actors, building sets, creating props, selecting wardrobe, having talent rehearsals, getting permits, securing licenses and the proper insurance to name a few.

Why you care

Done right, pre-production will save you 5 precious resources:

  • money
  • moments
  • momentum
  • misfortune
  • misery

What it teaches

Through the years, pre-production has taught me several important lessons:

  • If you’ve not read your script out loud, you’ve not read it.
  • It always takes longer than you expect.
  • Stuff happens. So plan for the unexpected.
  • Don’t assume.
  • Don’t skimp on talent or crew.
  • Don’t cut corners.

In the end, pre-production separates the men from the boys. It’s the difference between a video hobbyist and a professional. It’s an investment in your success and it’s the easy way to make great videos.

Not “doing” pre-production is like showing up for a college final n the wrong day, in the wrong class, for a subject you’ve never heard of – say, “Topics in Metaphysics and Epistemology”.

Do your homework. Be prepared. Because pre-production will make or break your video!
QUESTION: What nightmares have you experienced from a lack of pre-production?The