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How to Stay Organized During The Pre-Production Process

Karen Mc Guinness
Karen Mc Guinness, Customer Success Specialist

In the world of video and animation production, especially for short-form explainers and marketing videos, there's an old adage that goes, "Pre-production is the blueprint, production is construction, and post-production is interior design." Just as you wouldn't start building a house without a blueprint, diving into a production without thorough pre-production is a recipe for frustration and inefficiency.

Pre-production is your opportunity to plan every detail and foresee possible challenges before they arise. It's where the creative vision takes its first form and where everyone involved aligns on the path forward. From shaping the concept, developing scripts, creating storyboards, to client approvals, pre-production sets the tone for the entire project. But amid the creative process, it can be easy to lose sight of the organizational aspect. Poor file management, managing versions, and tracking client feedback can turn an exciting pre-production process into a chaotic whirlwind.

“Pre-production is your opportunity to plan every detail and foresee possible challenges before they arise. ”

But fear not. This guide is designed to demystify the pre-production process and equip you with practical strategies to stay organized, ensuring you capture your vision effectively and efficiently, without any organizational headaches. Let's dive in.

Decoding the pre-production process

The pre-production process in video and animation is a complex series of tasks, each serving a critical role in shaping the final product. Let's delve deeper into the key aspects and the common challenges often faced in this crucial phase.

The beginning of pre-production often revolves around brainstorming and solidifying the concept. It's during this period that the broad strokes of the project are decided, and from these discussions, the script begins to take shape. This stage can be a flurry of creativity, and while that’s part of its charm, it can also be the first point where organizational challenges arise.

Once a script is in place, it's time to create a storyboard, a visual representation of the script that provides a clear direction for what will happen in every scene. This is where issues of versioning and file organization commonly surface. Keeping track of different storyboard versions can be tricky, and the last thing you want is to present the wrong version to a client or the production team. A well-organized system for managing different versions is essential to avoid confusion and save time.

The next hurdle in the pre-production process lies in managing and applying client feedback. This feedback loop is crucial in ensuring the client's vision aligns with the proposed storyboard. However, tracking feedback, especially when it’s coming from multiple sources, and implementing changes can often be a challenging task.

“It's important to have a clear process for managing and actioning this feedback to ensure the right changes are made without disturbing the creative flow.”

Finally, the animatic - a moving storyboard that gives a closer approximation of the final product - is created. Gaining client approval at this stage is critical, as it allows you to move forward with the actual production confidently.

Understanding these challenges is the first step in overcoming them. In the next section, we will discuss the key strategies to maintain organization and efficiency throughout this process.

The vital role of a comprehensive pre-production plan

The fast-paced digital age has seen a rise in the production of short-form videos - pithy, engaging content that succinctly conveys a message or tells a story. This trend has sometimes led to the false assumption that pre-production steps, like creating detailed storyboards, can be glossed over or skipped altogether. In reality, the opposite is true. The condensed format of short-form videos actually necessitates a more meticulous planning phase to ensure every second counts.

Enter the comprehensive pre-production plan. This plan serves as the roadmap for your project, outlining every detail, from the initial concept to the final approval. It identifies all the necessary tasks, sets a timeline for completion, and delineates who's responsible for what. This level of organization not only ensures a smooth production process but also allows for quick adaptations should unforeseen changes occur.

The plan should include specifics on the script and storyboard creation, determining a schedule for client reviews and obtaining approvals, and outlining the logistics of the production phase itself. This might seem like a lot to manage, but the time invested in a well-thought-out pre-production plan pays dividends in the long run.

“In essence, a comprehensive pre-production plan keeps the project on track, ensures that nothing is overlooked, and allows for efficient communication among all parties involved. ”

While each plan is tailored to the specifics of a project, there are some universal strategies that can help to maintain organization and efficiency. Let's explore these strategies in the next section.

Stay organized during pre-production with our free checklist template.

Proven strategies for a smooth pre-production process

Navigating the complexities of the pre-production process successfully requires foresight, effective communication, and strategic planning. Here are some proven strategies that can guide your journey.

1. Get early client approvals

One common pitfall in pre-production is pushing forward without the client's complete agreement on key stages. This can lead to significant revisions down the line, leading to wasted time and resources. The animatic stage, which offers the closest approximation to the finished product, is crucial for this. Having a clear 'green light' from the client on the animatic can prevent costly alterations in the production stage.

2. Emphasize the storyboard's role

The storyboard is not the finished product; instead, it's a visual representation of your video's narrative. It's vital to educate your client about this aspect to set the right expectations. Having the client understand this can streamline the feedback process, making it more focused and efficient.

3. Use tight feedback loops

A feedback loop refers to the process of sharing work with the client, receiving their comments, making the necessary changes, and then repeating this process. The quicker these loops, the sooner you can move to the next phase. The key here is to communicate frequently and clearly, ensuring that the feedback is actionable, and any changes made align with the client's vision.

4. Be prepared for changes

While a detailed pre-production plan is your guiding star, being prepared for alterations is equally important. Changes might come from client feedback, or due to unforeseen circumstances such as logistical issues. Having a flexible mindset can help you to quickly adapt and find solutions while keeping the project on track.

Applying these strategies can help make your pre-production process more effective and less stressful. But remember, even with the best strategies, the right tools can make a significant difference in managing these tasks. Let's explore how Boords can help streamline your pre-production process.

Staying organized in pre-production with Boords

In an industry where time is of the essence and creativity is king, having a tool that streamlines organization and enhances efficiency can be a game-changer. Boords is designed to do just that, addressing common challenges and simplifying the pre-production process.

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1. Simplified versioning

Keeping track of different versions of storyboards can be daunting. Boords takes the hassle out of version management by enabling simple versioning. With a few clicks, you can easily create, manage, and access different versions of your storyboard, ensuring that everyone is working from the correct version and reducing the risk of errors.

2. Integrated feedback and approval

Collecting, managing, and implementing client feedback doesn't have to be a complicated task. Boords' integrated storyboard and animatic feedback system allows for clear communication within one platform. Clients can leave comments directly on the frames, speeding up the review process. The frame-by-frame status update feature (e.g., approved, in progress) helps track the project's progress, so you always know where things stand.

3. Efficient shot lists

In the world of short-form video production, every shot counts. Boords’ shot list feature helps to ensure that nothing is missed during production. By creating a detailed shot list from your storyboard, you can organize your shoots more efficiently, saving time, and minimizing potential reshoots.

4. Quick edits

Need to make changes to your storyboard or animatic? Boords’ intuitive interface allows for quick amendments using the drag-and-drop feature. This functionality, coupled with the ability to instantly create new versions and export to various formats (pdf, mp4, excel, docx), enables a smoother, more efficient pre-production process.

The right tools can empower you to navigate the pre-production process with more confidence and less stress. By leveraging Boords, you can keep your focus on the creative aspects of your project, knowing the organizational details are well in hand. Let's look at how some have used Boords to make their pre-production process a breeze in the next section.

Making the most of Boords for streamlined pre-production

A good tool isn't just about features; it's about how you use them to maximize their potential. Here are some tips on how you can use Boords to the fullest to simplify and streamline your pre-production process.

1. Lean on Boords for quick edits

It's not uncommon for storyboards or animatics to undergo several revisions during pre-production. Use Boords' drag and drop feature to quickly amend sequences or shuffle frames. With instant versioning, you can experiment without fear of losing previous iterations, making the revision process smoother and less time-consuming.

2. Centralize feedback

Use Boords' integrated commenting and approval features to manage feedback effectively. Invite clients to comment directly on the frames. This not only helps keep all feedback in one place but also ensures each comment is contextually linked to the right part of the storyboard or animatic. With frame-by-frame statuses, you can instantly see which frames are approved and which ones need more work, keeping the whole team in the loop and aligned on the project's progress.

3. Optimize export options

Boords gives you the flexibility to export your work in various formats, including PDF, MP4, Excel, and DOCX. This means you can provide scripts for voiceover artists, create viewable animatics for clients, or even detailed shot lists for the production team, all from the same platform. These export options are designed to make it easier for you to communicate and collaborate with different stakeholders involved in the project.

4. Utilize shot lists

When shooting day arrives, you need to make sure every planned shot makes it to the camera. Boords' shot list feature ensures you have a detailed list of every shot derived directly from your storyboard. This way, nothing gets overlooked during production, making your shoots more efficient and effective.

Leveraging Boords to its fullest can transform your pre-production process, turning it from a stressful juggle of tasks into a streamlined, efficient operation.


In the world of video and animation production, the pre-production process can often feel like a daunting maze of tasks, revisions, and approvals. But it doesn't have to be this way. By implementing effective strategies and utilizing the right tools, this vital phase can be transformed into an organized, efficient, and even enjoyable part of your project.

“Staying organized during pre-production is all about planning, communication, and flexibility. ”

Remember the importance of early client approvals, educating your clients about the process, working in tight feedback loops, and always being prepared for changes. Use tools like Boords to manage versions, integrate feedback and approval processes, create detailed shot lists, and make quick edits.

Incorporating these strategies and tools into your pre-production process not only saves time and resources but also allows for a smoother transition to the production phase. With the organizational aspect taken care of, you can focus on what truly matters: bringing your creative vision to life. Ready to experience a streamlined pre-production process? Start using Boords today, and let your creativity flow unhindered.

Free Storyboard Software
Boords App Screenshot

The Shortcut to Effective Storyboards.

Boords is an easy-to-use storyboarding tool to plan creative projects.

Get Started for Free
*No credit card required

Don't let organizational challenges hinder your creative process. Try Boords today, and experience the difference of a streamlined, efficient pre-production process. Because your time is better spent creating, not coordinating. Try Boords today!

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