3 Production Checklists Directors Like You Need

Mar 10, 2023
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3 Production Checklists Directors Like You Need
It’s time to tick some things off your list. 

As a director, overseeing a production can be a daunting task, with countless moving parts and potential pitfalls. From casting to filming to post-production, there are numerous elements to keep track of to ensure a successful outcome. That’s why having a comprehensive production checklist can be invaluable.

In this article, we’ll explore three essential checklists that every director should have on hand to help streamline their production process.

These checklists cover pre-production, production, and post-production, and offer a step-by-step guide to managing each phase of the project.

Whether you’re an experienced director looking to improve your process or a newcomer to the field, these checklists will help you stay organized and on track, allowing you to focus on bringing your creative vision to life. So, let’s dive in and discover how these three production checklists can help you achieve your filmmaking goals.

Let’s get to work. 

Checklist directors need for pre-production, production, and post-production
Steven Spielberg on set of ‘Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull’Credit: David James

3 Production Checklists for a Director

As a director, your role is critical in the production of a film or video project. To ensure that you stay organized and prepared throughout the entire production process, it’s important to use production checklists. Here are three production checklists that every director should have in their toolkit:

1. Pre-Production Checklist:

Pre-production is a critical stage in the production process, and it’s essential to stay organized and prepared. Use this pre-production checklist to help you stay on track:

  • Casting: Cast actors for your project and hold auditions if necessary.
  • Location scouting: Scout locations and select the best ones for your project.
  • Storyboarding: Create storyboards to help you visualize the scenes and plan the shots.
  • Script breakdown: Break down the script into scenes, shots, and sequences to help you plan the shoot.
  • Scheduling: Create a shooting schedule to ensure that you complete the shoot on time and within budget.

Checklist directors need for pre-production, production, and post production.
‘Coco’ director Lee UnkrichCredit: Deborah Coleman/Pixar

2. Production Checklist:

During the shoot, it’s crucial to stay focused, organized, and efficient. Use this production checklist to help you stay on track:

  • Camera and lighting: Check the camera and lighting equipment before the shoot and ensure that they are working correctly.
  • Rehearsals: Conduct rehearsals with actors before the shoot to ensure that everyone is on the same page.
  • Shot list: Use the shot list to ensure that you capture all the necessary shots.
  • Time management: Manage your time effectively to ensure that you stay on schedule.
  • Communication: Maintain clear communication with the cast and crew to ensure that everyone is on the same page.

Checklist directors need for pre-production, production, and post production.
Director Catherine Eaton on the set of her film ‘The Sounding’Credit: Asya Danilova/Mariya Bulat

3. Post-Production Checklist:

After the shoot, it’s time to edit and polish the project. Use this post-production checklist to help you stay organized:

  • Footage organization: Organize the footage and label the shots and takes for easy reference.
  • Editing: Edit the footage, and create a rough cut of the project.
  • Sound design: Create a sound design for the project, including music, sound effects, and dialogue.
  • Color correction: Correct the color of the footage to ensure that it matches the desired look and feel.
  • Finalize: Finalize the project, including the sound design, color correction, and any special effects.

Checklist directors need for pre-production, production, and post production.
Film editor Marcia Lucas with husband, director George Lucas, editing his movie ‘Star Wars’Credit: Julian Wasser/The LIFE Images Collection via G

By using these three production checklists, you can streamline your work as a director, stay focused, and create compelling visual stories that captivate your audience.

A director’s job is never an easy one, and the success of a production relies heavily on a director’s ability to manage each phase of the process effectively. By implementing the three production checklists outlined in this article, directors can streamline their workflow, stay organized, and ensure that nothing falls through the cracks.

From pre-production to post-production, these checklists provide a comprehensive guide for directors to follow, helping them manage the various elements of a production from start to finish.

By taking the time to create and follow these checklists, directors can save time, reduce stress, and focus on bringing their creative vision to life.

In the end, the success of a film ultimately depends on the director’s ability to manage their team, resources, and time effectively. By utilizing these production checklists, directors can set themselves up for success and achieve their filmmaking goals. So go ahead and give them a try. You might just be surprised at how much smoother your next production will run.

Let me know if there’s anything we should add in the comments.      

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