One golden rule to a great photoshoot is to start with great production. A smooth production puts everyone and everything in the right place for the shoot to succeed long before the shutter button gets pressed. That said, I have some of the best producers in the biz on staff. And here, Megan outlines one essential to every commercial production – the production notebook. Use this info to help make your next production run smooth like butta’… Take it away, Meg.
Hello peeps, Megan here, producer for Chase. We’re gearing up for a several big international jobs, so as I’m booking travel and working with a local producer on locations + permits, I’m also putting the Production Book together. This is critical information that all professional production houses put together and it’s something clients and agencies expect from you on any large-scale shoot. Think of it as a one-stop shop for all pertinent details. It can be distributed to all parties via email prior to the shoot, and a printed copy should accompany you to set. Not only does it help make you look super professional, it just might be the most practical thing you carry (aside from your camera, of course).
You don’t need special software; start with a Word or Pages doc. Just keep an eye on formatting. It should be clean, easy to read and align with your brand. Once it’s complete, save a template you can always use to generate this doc for your next shoot, then output a PDF for the production crew and send it out!
Here’s a basic list of things to include (as applicable):
1. cover sheet: a nicely laid out page that identifies the client, the production company and/or the photographer
_client + photographer logos
_name of job
2. contact info: detail the names, titles, phone numbers + email address of all associated parties
3. shot list / creative: detailed shot list and/or photo references
4. travel itineraries: who’s going where and when?
5. accommodations: where is everyone staying?
_check in/out dates
_directions to/from airport
_meeting room location + details
6. location info: every shoot happens somewhere, whether it’s at your studio or the Mojave desert
_contact info (i.e. site rep)
_certificates of insurance for each
_copy of permits
_contact info for city or governing agency (i.e. FilmLA)
7. talent: actors, models, friends, guy you scouted on the subway
8. vendors: a list of any and all 3rd party resources involved in the shoot
9. shooting schedule: what does each day look like?
_travel to/from locations
_HMU + wardrobe prep
_lunch + breaks
10. production calendar: all pertinent deadlines should be identified here
_pre-production hot items (i.e. location + talent selection due dates, permit approval process, etc.)
_post-production requirements (i.e. number of rounds to client, amount of time allotted for feedback, proofing, due date of final images, etc.)
There you have it! Start with these categories as a template, and add or subtract as needed. May seem kind of tedious as you’re doing it, but I promise you, it’s so worth it. Until next time! Stay tuned for some behind-the-scenes goodness from our shoots, trips, and travels! -Megan the Producer
Very good tips! I do a lot of video production work in the Providence, Rhode Island area and one thing that my clients truly appreciate is my ability to bring very creative ideas to them with a full game plan and strategy on how everything will be completed. They also enjoy being kept in the loop every step of the way, so I would highly recommend a bit of “hand holding” throughout the production process.
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Great list gonna save this will be very handy when i get into the big wide world. Could i get your second name so i can quote this in my university work.