How to Plan a Production

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Film productions, theatrical productions and productions for school or community theater each require a planning process in order to achieve exceptional results. The wrong planning process can result in productions that cost a lot of money, irritate a lot of people, and generate no revenue at all. It doesn't take long to understand the principles behind planning and executing a good production, but mastering these principles can take a lifetime.

Things You'll Need

  • Script
  • Team members
  • Spreadsheet software
  • Word processor

Schedule one or more readings of your script with your team. During the first reading or two, have team members identify what they do and don't like about the script. Have them identify the logistical issues associated with producing it. Ensure that the script falls in line with the preferences of your audience.

Review each scene in the script carefully. Identify the cast, props, crew, equipment and other resources needed to produce each individual scene. Make a spreadsheet identifying each person or item required by scene numbers. Also include a column for the cost of each person or item.

Assign roles to your team members. For school and community theater productions, be sensitive not only to what people would like to do, but also to how much time they have to work. For film productions and paid theatrical productions, work with professionals who have worked in other successful productions. They will have a solid understanding of their respective roles in the production process.

Assess the costs of your production. Move through the spreadsheet you created to identify a cost for each item in the production, including labor and overhead. You may want to ask your team to help you assess costs. Compare the overall projected cost of the production against how much you can afford to pay. Use this information to project how much you want it to earn in ticket sales.

Create a schedule that accurately reflects how long it will take to produce your project. Make sure it encompasses time for cast and technical rehearsals, constructing props and sets, acquiring equipment for use during the production, and clean-up after the production ends. Review the schedule with team members to ensure that it reflects their best estimates. Add extra time to ensure that you can handle unforeseen events.

Combine the script, schedule, cost estimate and team assignments into a written production plan. Use this document to help raise money to produce your project. Follow your production plan when the time comes to create your production.

Tips & Warnings

  • Allot enough time in the schedule for each team member to do his job well. A good production requires time and resources. Shortchanging either will waste time and money. When working with volunteers, identify who will take over a given role assignment if the assigned person fails to complete it.
  • Never start a production without having all the money in place. In almost every instance, "half a production" will be worse than no production at all, and will make your team members leery of working with you on future projects.

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