• 24Frames, Inc.

Pre-production Checklist for Commercials

Updated: Jan 16, 2020


Behind the scenes on a production for a home staging company.

Abraham Lincoln is thought to have said, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” An old carpenter’s axiom reminds us to “Measure twice and cut once.” There’s truth in this even when you’re dealing with video production for commercials, since the most important part of filming often takes place before we get to that relatively short expanse of time between “Action!” and “Cut!” At 24Frames, experience has taught us that careful preparation — especially when aided by a pre-production checklist — makes a world of difference to the final result.


Begin with a Script

Much of what follows will flow naturally when you know what you have to say and how you’d like to say it. The script need not be in its final form (edits and changes will follow later in the process), but it’s hard to plan for a shoot when you don’t know what you’re shooting.


Make a Budget

Notice we placed this second in the sequence. That’s because your script is both a guideline and a wishlist, but you need it in order for your numbers to be even remotely realistic. Budgetary demands and constraints may even result in your first bit of revision.


Line Up Financing

When you’re shooting a commercial for a business, this is often as simple as a budget line item and a purchase order. For nonprofits and some other entities for which we’ve worked, the process is a bit more complex, since promotions may fall outside of the organization’s usual expenses, or other concerns may come into play. In any event, you don’t want production to come to a grinding halt because money ran out.


Choose Your Team

This is an area that often requires collaboration between you and us. We take care of the technical aspects, but you may have input on talent that best helps you meet your goals. Leaving it until the last minute, in either case, often means key pieces of the puzzle not being in place when they’re needed.


Revisit Your Script

This is the point in the process where we turn