Introduction to pre-production

The pre-production process

Genevieve Clay-Smith and first assistant director, Michael Santos, are interviewed about the pre-production process.

Camera operator on a ladder

Access 'Video 3 – Introduction to pre-production' and then discuss and respond to the questions below.



  • Why is pre-production so important to ensuring successful short films?
  • What kinds of things do students need to consider in their planning?
  • What are the possibilities and limitations in your production?
  • What tools/techniques do directors and industry professionals use to put together pre-production briefs?




preparation before shooting a film

Big rocks

essential elements of pre-production such as auditions, cast, rehearsal days, location, HOD, creative brief, shot list, the unit, schedule (3 drafts)

Creative brief

document outlining the intentions and goals of a creative project

Shot list

plan for a filming session that includes types of shots (close-up, drone, wide angle)

The unit (craft services)

catering on location for cast and crew


plan for a day, week or month of filming work (scenes to shoot, times, actors required, location/s)

Call sheet

a document with lots of organisational detail about a day of filming (address of filming location, actors, contact details, schedule for filming, props needed) 


a collection of ideas and images collected while researching the look and feel of a film


minor roles in a film (such as driver or café customer)


plan and process to film all the required visuals

Wardrobe department

team of people who source and create the costumes for actors to wear during filming.


visual display of a narrative or sketches of scenes in a film in the right order

Shot list

plan for a filming session that includes types of shots (close-up, drone, wide angle)

Close up

zoomed in

Feature film

movies for entertainment that last more than 1 hour


delegating roles and jobs between people

Rack focus

when camera is focus is changed whilst recording


director of photography

Call time

arrival time

Wrap time

finish time