Free production checklist for starting up new productions

A basic production checklist

production checklist Use this production checklist to make sure everything runs as smooth as possible.
Before you go out shooting, you need to have a couple of things done in order to actually be able to execute it.
We made a production checklist, so you can check off the most important things - and handle the unknown way better. Because something will change, that's for sure. We made the production checklist as PDF or Numbers as well, so you can download it.

1. Contracts and insurance!

When you hire your crew, make sure to make a contract or a supplier agreement. That way, you are sure that you agreed on everything, before the job start. Do you have a production insurance? There are so many different types of insurance, it will make your head spin. Talk with some experienced insurance professionals, so you know you are covered if any accidents occur.

2. Start-up meeting!

Have a start-up meeting with the department heads and run this production checklist through, and make sure everyone’s needs are met.

3. Equipment!

Get all the equipment down to every little cable in a document. Fill out a spec sheet with the post department, so you know what they expect. You also want to agree on memory needs and format with the DP - BEFORE your shoot! This is not a talk you want to take when you out on the shoot.

4. Props!

Same procedure as the equipment list. Get every little prop divided into days of usage.
If you have a prop master let him do it and put a price tag on every prop.

5. Call Sheet!

Create a call sheet for your shooting day. This is the only way to manage the day and secure you get all the work done. Remember to make time for press shooting during the production.

How to make the perfect call sheet

Call sheet template

6. Catering!

Make sure you have food. If you are doing a union production there are guidelines and rules you must follow. If you are doing a non-union production then the advice is: Quality!

7. Agreements & Permits!

Figure out how to get the permit to shoot at your location - also if you are in a public space. This may seem like a tiny detail but if you don’t have a permit and you start shooting at a public location, you run the risk of being closed down. Get the agreement on paper if you rent the studio or your location.

8. Backup location!

Find one or two backup locations, if you are outside consider a plan for doing the shoot indoor - or make a plan for what you do if the weather is working against you.

9. Release forms!

If you are shooting in public, and people can be, or you want them to be in your shot you need them to sign a release form. Have a bunch ready, so you always are ready to get a signature.

10. Production box!

This box is kind of a treasure box and important on your production checklist. When people work on a set, they're often really focused in their job, and that leads to forgetting essential stuff as a pen, paper, a phone charger or sun-lotion. Also, keep some backup candy for those urgent sugar cravings and a first aid kit.

11. Power supply!

Obviously, without some kind of power for lights, camera, and other equipment will not work. Be sure you know what your power supply options are for a location you are shooting at and be prepared with additional options in case of outages.

12. Transportation!

First off all: make a plan, you then know how many production vehicles you need. Second, if you need to switch locations during the day there is always a lot of logistics to handle with transporting crew, between locations and this will not have a good outcome, if you don't plan it.

13. Accommodation!

Shooting on different locations may require accommodation. You need to plan who is going and for how long. Is it possible to share rooms to reduce costs?

14. Parking rules!

Maybe you need to block an area for production and gear vehicles and that requires a permit in some way. You also need a crew to do the blocking a couple days in advance.

15. Happy shooting and enjoy the production checklist!

production checklist

Download this TV Production checklist as PDF here or as Numbers here

Markus Ramlau

I'm Markus Ramlau, COO and co-founder of Production Hero. I have 15 years of experience from the tv industry as a production manager.


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