How to prepare for a shoot

Comment préparer un tournage

Once the script for your film written, once the film project approved by the stakeholders, it is time to prepare the shooting, that is to say, pre-produce.

But why and how to do it effectively ? What could be the different stages ? It is to these questions that meets the article below !

Prepare a shooting : the issues

Before explaining how to prepare for a shoot, it is important to understand a few issues that are related to it.

Let’s be clear : do not prepare the shooting of his film, it is miss. There are so many elements to put together to make a film that goes right into the wall if we try to improvise. It is necessary not only to prepare for the shoot, but also bring a lot of care.

For example, the sequences will be very rarely shot in the order in which they appear in the scenario ; and they will be very often the objects of folding to the availability of actors, locations, or even of such or such material. If all this is not carefully prepared, how will you get out ?

A second example to illustrate this : without proper planning, you will put in place the decor to turn the sequence n°1, turn, change of scenery to turn the sequence no. 2, and so on ; and, perhaps at the time of shooting the sequence, n°10, you will realize that it has the same decor as the sequence no. 1. You will then need to put it back in place ; this is a disaster in terms of resources (time, money, etc) wasted. It would have been better to turn the sequence no. 1 and sequence no. 10 at the same time.

A third example for you to see the importance of the preparation of a shooting ? If the director is unable to determine clearly how the movie will be done (Cutting technique, bias, aesthetics, etc .. ), the teams at HMC, sound, image, and decoration do not know how to give their creations the necessary direction.

Finally, here’s a fourth example : without a good count (we will talk later), this is only in the middle of shooting that you will realize that you are missing essential accessories :

  • The keys to the car should use the main player
  • Of shoes full of mud to stick to the scenario
  • Visual elements which, from one scene to another, must be fitting

Examples like this, I can give you dozens and dozens, but normally, now you perceive why it is necessary to prepare for a shoot, and why it is necessary to prepare carefully. Discover how to do it in 2 stages.


How to prepare a shoot in 2 major steps

Prepare a shooting goes through dozens of small steps that can be divided into 2 major :

  • The 1st step in preparing for a shoot

Comment préparer un tournage

Most often, that 1era stage lasts 2 to 3 months, and sees come into play several professionals in this business. It is here that :

  • The director of production (which on the shoots produced is very often the real) will take charge of the budget of the film mobilized by the production (which is often in the filming self-produced the director or an association), recruit individuals to key positions (assistant director, location manager, etc)
  • the commissioner general will, once the locations marked by people, such as a channel finder professional or the assistant director, move with the leaders of the different positions ; this will allow them to decide if it is technically possible to film sequences of the film ;
  • The director will then be in charge of the delicate task of cutting technique. It is here that he will describe, for each sequence, the plans to turn, their number, the music, the position, the camera movements, etc ; and he will do so taking into account the configurations of the sets identified and technical constraints.

NOTE : it is always possible to add a storyboard to the shooting script ;

  • The casting director or the director himself will hold castings to select especially the second and minor roles. Because the recruitment of the lead actors has already, most of the time, done upstream. And if this is done, it is to facilitate the financing of the film. As a film in which the actors are known, this film is a lot easier to fund ;
  • The director will meet with the various heads of department to ensure, among others, of what they are aware of the form that the scenario has taken in the director’s mind ;
  • the 1st assistant director will perform the counting, which will enable him to conceive later on the work plan. (There will be several versions of this work plan)


As you probably know, the counting and work plan are key elements to the success of a shoot.

For example, the analysis allows for a careful reading of the scenario sequence by sequence, and to identify elements such as sets, actors, extras, make-up, etc ; and if one strips the scenario, it is to ensure we identify the needs of the film, encrypt them, and not forget anything in the filming itself.

As for the plan to work, it takes into account all the constraints of the stations, and lets you know the days, the filming locations, and everything you need to make it a success.

  • The 2nd stage of the preparation of a shooting

Comment préparer un tournage

The 2nd step of the preparation of a shooting generally extends for up to a month, or even more. During this stage, new professionals enter the scene :

  • The team decoration will be in charge of the construction of the decorations necessary for the filming.
  • The deputy commissioner-general (or the commissioner-general himself) is going to negotiate, then retrieve the permissions of turning, etc
  • The 2nd assistant director, him, will deepen the self-emptying, to offer new version of the work plan, then to arrange the working days of each starting from the work plan.
  • The department Skin-Makeup-Hair styling (HMC), he will take care of the fittings of costumes, hairstyles, and make-up. If this department is involved in the preparation, it is to ensure that the actors will, through their costumes, hairstyles and make-up, in phase with the time evoked in the film ;
  • The real, the production manager, the assistant director, the chief operator, the chief Machino, the head deco and the gaffer, going to several meetings (all together or separately) to prepare for the turn shooting, review the DT (cutting technique) and anticipate as much of the stress.
  • Finally, the week before the shooting, grips as well as the teams picture/sound recover, from lessee, the equipment (They will normally be given their needs to the production manager, who will be ordered and negotiated all of this in advance). As to the governed, it is in charge of the design of key documents (itineraries, the bible of shooting) and handle all the logistics of the shoot.

But this is not all : the eve of the launch of the shoot, it is organized a pot from the beginning of filming. It is then the opportunity for :

  • The régie to transmit important documents to people and teams concerned ;
  • The members of the different teams to gain more insight.

Voila, you now have a more precise idea of how to prepare a shooting. Of course, depending on the specifics of each film, the available budget, other people, other teams, other institutions will come into play during the preparation.

To give you an idea, if your scenario requires to turn a minor children under 16 years of age, you will need to have, in France, with approval of the Departmental Directorate of Health and Social Affairs (DASS) , if this is done voluntarily with the permission of the parents is sufficient. For an animal, you will need the permission of the owner.

And also, of course, the filming is self-produced (for the vast majority of the readers of the blog) are more rustic, many of the positions are combined, the responsibilities re-dispatched, and some steps are skipped or combined.

But tell us, have you ever participated in the preparation of a shooting ? If yes, thank you for sharing your experience with us in the comments below.

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