What to Expect in Pre-Production at Waves

April 30, 2024

When it comes to your video, pre-production is vital to its overall success. So let’s discuss both why pre-production matters, and what those steps look like for us (and you) at Waves.

What Is Pre-Production?

Basically, anything you need to do BEFORE either the shoot day or the design production, to prep for it. In short, the level and quality of your pre-production can affect the overall final product dramatically. Which is why we value it so highly at Waves, and have a thorough pre-production process.

Initial Exploration or Discovery Call

This is the starting point, and (honestly) one of our favorite parts: getting to know you, your brand, and your video goals. And don’t worry, we’re nice. You don’t have to have your entire game plan together pre-call. But whatever you do have will help clarify the overall vision and aid us in grasping that. It’s in this initial conversation where we will determine if we’re the best fit for your needs, as providing creative solutions is always our ultimate goal.

Relationships are what encompass and drive our work, and we know the best creative products generally come from good partnerships. Towards this end, some questions we’ll discuss will include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • What problem do you or your product solve?
  • Goal and/or overarching message of project
    • Secondary goal(s)/message(s) if applicable
  • Feel or vibe (ex. humorous, expert, etc)
  • Timeline and ‘drop dead-deadlines’
  • Budget (or at least roughing this)
  • Expectations and request of our team
  • Homework (usually for us but could be for us both) until next communication/meeting (ex. proposal, rough storyboard, a project mission sentence, etc)

Pre-Production Elements

Decisions, decisions, decisions. There are quite a few of them when it comes to pre-production. So, we’ve found at Waves it’s best to have a clear outline of what they are, and how to decide them. The outline below highlights the most important of these topics, with a brief description of each attached.

Proposal and/or Treatment

There may be multiple meetings or phone calls during the lifespan of each project but before we all put too much actual work into the project some numbers should be agreed upon. This should include expectations and the scope of work, costs, timeline and details of what each party will take responsibility for and what will be involved.

And very important: what the agreed upon goal(s) are for the project!

Script, Storyboard, Shot Lists

The level of your involvement in this next portion is somewhat up to you. We at Waves have drafted up scripts and storyboards for our clients on many occasions, but have also worked with scripts they provided us. What’s important is that you give final approval on both the script and storyboard.

As to creating them, click here if you’d like help writing an effective script. As for storyboarding, we love this simple app we’ve used before should you want to check it out – we also can create more formal or less formal ‘boards’ (like a Google doc). Just remember, get creative here, and don’t worry about throwing in a “crazy” idea or two–sometimes it’s those that work the best in the end.

As for shot lists, our team will put one together for the crew that will fit the storyboard and overall concept.


Again, how much you wish to be involved in this process, is up to you. If professional acting is required, our team sends out emails to actors/actresses or agencies we know with details and requirements. Then virtual auditions are submitted and reviewed.

Should you wish to use your own team as actors or “talent”, however, that process may look a little different. Just be sure to assess if your own employees can fulfill the ultimate goals of the video. Not sure how to do that? Click here for help.

Location Scouting and Call Sheet

As any good realtor will say, “It’s all about location.” And actually, the same applies to your video shoot. Where you film affects every other element of your production, so choosing this wisely will benefit you (and us) greatly.

You may already have a location for the shoot (your own office building, for starters). However, if you don’t, we’ve had great luck using Airbnb, providing us with many options, easy to vet with their secure booking system and visual pics of the available spaces. Just ensure homeowners are ok with video usage beforehand.

Other location scouting ideas:

  • Actual video studios able to handle the live set or even a simple green/white/color backdrop.
  • Companies with premises that would fit (or your own!). Maybe offer them a promo video of their space in return for allowing you to use the facilities.

And finally, once all the above details are in place we will create a ‘call sheet’ to send to cast and crew and any producers with details about the shoot day(s) such as times, locations, and contacts.

Again, your level of involvement in these decisions is somewhat up to you. Some clients handle these entirely, while others prefer us to manage these choices or do it together. Ultimately, you’ll be giving final approval on all steps, with us at your side, simplifying the process as much as possible.

Benefits of Great Pre-Production

Yes, we know, it may feel like a LOT to get through in order to get to shoot day. But, trust us, it’s well worth it.

For one, preparation for anything is key to things running smoothly. Because there will be some surprises most likely on set, so it’s best to be prepared in order to cut down on those. In addition to this, great pre-production prep promotes a solid post-production experience. Less revisions, editing, and overall need to “correct”, as the initial vision was set clearly to begin with.

Ready to begin the conversation towards your next video project? Click here. We can’t wait to hear from you. 🙂