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  • Writer's pictureDean Russell

6 Keys To a Successful Plan For Your Next Video Production

We've all been there, you have some amazing ideas for your next video production shoot, but once you start doing pre-production the idea seems like it will be impossible to achieve.

Don't fret! There are many things to factor in when planning to film your amazing idea, but with a few simple steps, your idea will come to life. Here are my 6 keys to planning your next video production.

1. Location Scout

Before even thinking about all the other aspects of production, please do yourself a favor and see the location before hand. Look at every nook-and-cranny at the location so you can have a vision of where the scene will be shot, where the crew will reside, and your placement of actors. PRO TIP: Take pictures of your location to have on hand when referencing certain scenes or to use in your shot-list.

2. Shotlist, shotlist, shotlist

To keep every person involved in the production in the loop, they will need a visual reference to know what they are going to be shooting ahead of time. This is why a shot-list is very essential. There are many shot-list templates online, here is a website with many different templates:

3. Create a shot-for-shot schedule on an excel spreadsheet

This is especially helpful when you have a lot of shots to get in one shoot and time is limited. I input each shot, calculate how much time it may take to shoot and set it up, along with what time we are shooting it. This is an example from an old shoot that I did:

4. Maintain STRONG communication with your crew

As somebody with experience on small and big productions alike, it cannot be underestimated how much crew can make or break your production. If you communicate with your crew on a 1-2 day basis before the shoot, letting them know all the information about the shoot and what they need to bring, they will exceed your expectations almost all the time. On the other hand, if you don't send them the documents they need to know what is going to be taking place on the production or you just don't keep them updated on any changes to the shoot, you will find yourself very stressed. Just don't be lazy, keep everyone in the know. PRO-TIP: Make a group text chat or even better, a group email with all the crew members.

5. If your shoot is complicated, consider doing overheads on Shot Designer.

Shot designer ( is an app that makes production overheads. These are a birds eye view of your production location along with all the information you input into the software including: camera locations, camera movement if there is any, actors locations, and mostly anything you can think of that you would want to plan. It can also act as a shot-list designer at well. For the pro version, it is $19.99. I love this tool, it has saved me from major headaches.

6. Send out your call sheets to everyone involved ASAP

Your crew will love you if you do this. I have worked on major television shows that send out their call sheets the night before, which is common but a major pain for the crew. Call sheets are great for getting a lot of information out on one page, which includes: call time, location/locations, lunch break, weather, etc. Here is a call sheet template: PLEASE send them out as early as you can to the crew so they are prepped and ready for the shoot day.

There is a lot of planning involved in video production, but if you prepare correctly and efficiently, you will find that your production value will go up and your amazing video idea will come to life!

Feel free to reach out to me with any questions regarding software or templates, I use many different ones but the ones I linked should be very helpful in most use cases.


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