Checklist for the perfect pre-production meeting (PPM) for advertising and image films

Pre-Production Meeting Film-Video
Shooting "The Black Swan" (2010) by Darren Aronofsky, with Natalie Portman | © shotonwhat.com

The pre-production meeting is a lot of things: the starting signal for the final preparations for shooting. Checkpoint, whether director, client, advertising agency and film production agree on all essential points of the implementation of the upcoming commercial or image film. Performance record for the competence of an advertising film production. Here you will find a checklist as a guide with all important points about PPM.

Every advertising film and every video production knows particularly intense points. This includes the moment when you learn that your production company has won a pitch for a commercial against competitors. Turning start and turning end. But also: The Pre-Production Meeting (abbreviated PPM). Because here it shows in front of everyone’s eyes whether they have understood how to successfully combine creation and production, vision and logistics with a budget and a schedule!

Checklist for a Pre-Production Meeting (PPM)

Please note that each commercial and each image film has its own special features. It may be that you do not have to adapt or supplement this checklist or consider individual points on it at your pre-production meeting .

Guide preparation for director:

No.PPM: Checklist for the director
1Shooting Board created, corresponds to reality (director for at PPM through the shots)
2Casting: Favorites selected, prepared on video for presentation
3If the customer does not like the favorites for the roles, plan B prepared
4Location for the PPM illustrated and prepared as a booklet and justifiable
5If locations do not meet with approval: alternatives available
6Explanation of special effects, assembly and post-production
7Notes on sound and music prepared for pre-production meeting
8Additional information on décor, costumes and important props

Checklist for directing a commercial or image film

Checkpoints for the production company, producer and production management:

No.Checklist Pre-Production-Meeting for production companyStatus
1.1The right contacts invited on the client and agency side
1.2All key people in film production available for the PPM
1.3Documents (dossier, booklet) prepared for pre-production meeting
1.4Discussion points discussed internally in advance, sensitive topics named
1.5Determined where the meeting takes place (incl. necessary infrastructure)
1.6Discussed in advance who will lead through the pre-production meeting (director? producer?)
2.1Clarifies who makes notes and minutes
2.2Ensures that all actors and extras are available on the shooting date
2.3Assurance that all locations have been clarified in advance and are available
2.4Video clips or photos available of all performers, extras and locations
2.5Photos of costumes (ideally worn by actors) prepared
2.6Important props (inside and outside) compiled as a photo list
2.7Information on decor (plans, illustrations) available
3.1Important logistical notes (such as weather, security, etc.)
3.2Shotlist and shooting schedule created and ready for presentation
3.3Key dates and milestones for the next steps
3.4Explanations for image editing (if relevant for shooting)
3.5Explanation of Special Effects, VFX, Digital Effects (Green Screen or similar)
3.6If off-commentary: speaker casting with audio ready for presentation
3.7Logos, graphic elements, abdominal bandages, etc. can be presented
3.8Music examples (or sound design, if important for understanding)
3.9Does the customer have to provide products for shooting? Which one?
3.10Clarify delivery/return of items that the customer must deliver
3.11Check: is the production contract signed?
3.11Clarify: have the due down payments been made on time?
4.1Must travel/accommodation for customer be co-organised
4.2Comments on insurance (if stunts are planned or similar)
4.3Reference to special legal aspects (if necessary)
6.1list of everything that is to be delivered with the promotional film
6.2At the end of the pre-production meeting, ask the customer: what is missing from the customer’s point of view

Checklist for production company for commercial or image film

Who should attend the Pre-Production Meeting (PPM)?

In the case of a advertising film or an image film, the group of participants in a PPM is made up of all persons who bear a decisive share of responsibility for the success of an advertising spot.

As a rule, these are: director, cameraman, producer and production manager, assistant director (if required). Depending on the type of commercial film, the presence of other key persons of the production is also useful: post production supervisor (for special effects), costume and make-up artist, composer or decorator.

On the other hand on the customer side all important decision makers belong at the table! This together with the advertising agency, which accompanies your customer. The agency is the link between client and advertising film production. At the same time, she usually developed the film idea and, up to the storyboard level, successfully agreed it with the client.

Is there an ideal time for the vote?

In the film industry and for video productions, when we talk about PPM for commissioned films, we mean the pre-production meeting.

This is usually set 2 to 3 days before the start of shooting. At this point the pre-production is sufficiently advanced that all details on the production side are clarified and the agency and client can be presented. On the other hand, with 48 to 72 hours notice of the shooting, there is still (some) room to respond to the client’s wishes and make corrections where necessary.

In advance of each PPM, there are diverse preliminary agreements between the director and creative director, production management and agency producer and other key functions at all parties involved. Only in this way is it possible to achieve the level of agreement that distinguishes a professional pre-production meeting.

Contract law / contractual consequences

The basis of every commissioned production is a contract. Nevertheless, it is in the nature of things that all the details can never be regulated and decided in the order distribution nie. Regardless of how detailed a calculation is – essential elements of a advertising spot will only become concrete always days or weeks after the start of the order.

The PPM is a legally relevant milestone of film production! Here, once again – and for the last time – influence must and can be exerted on the way the commercial is implemented. Anything that is subsequently changed or overturned necessarily entails additional costs for the client.

Conversely, after the pre-production meeting the production company is legally obliged to deliver everything that it promised at that time at PPM. If this is not the case, the agency can recommend that the customer refuse to accept the video.

For rights and obligations from a PPM to be binding, this type of discussion must be specified in the production contract. The more clearly the rules are defined together in advance, the less potential for misunderstandings.

The minutes of the PPM resolution

Because the resolutions from a pre-production meeting are binding for all those involved, they must be recorded in minutes. A keyword or resolution protocol is sufficient for this purpose. For this to become legally binding, it must be distributed to all parties involved and accepted by the client and agency.

Carlo P. Olsson
About Carlo P. Olsson 69 Articles
Carlo P. Olsson accompanies the production of films, videos and TV series on behalf of companies, agencies and production companies. In his free time he plays ice hockey and is engaged in baroque sound drama.

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