What the heck is TV pre production?

Jackpot! The broadcaster has green-lighted the TV production

When the Broadcaster confirms the buying of a TV show, several things must occur. Start the TV pre production

We made a nice infographic to show you what the TV pre production is all about for a TV production manager.

pre production

The TV pre production begins and the TV production company's executive producer will hire the editor in chief. The editor in chief is the person in charge of the content of the show in a nutshell. The editor in chief will decide the overall content of the show and coordinate with the executive producer and broadcaster.

During the same time the head of production will hire the production manager. The production manager is in charge of ALL logistics and budget. He will schedule the TV production, hire the crew, book equipment, and make sure everybody is synchronized. He or she will also keep track of every dollar spent and make sure the TV production is not going over budget and refer to the head of production.

The key to success from the start of the TV pre production is the editor in chief and the production manager’s ability to collaborate as they work side by side. They are in charge of two very important things: content and money. These two things always drag in opposite directions so the pre-production phase is a long road of compromises.

If this is not a happy marriage you either end up with a show that not will be approved by the broadcaster or major budget overruns. Neither of these will logically make you very popular.

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TV pre production

Start the TV pre production

The production schedule is made in the TV pre production phase to get an overview of how long it will take to produce the show. In this matter, “time is money” the longer it takes, the more expensive it will be. 

After the TV production manager makes the first draft of a TV production plan, the next step is to hire your crew. The editorial crew is hired first.

The TV pre production period is maybe the most important phase of a TV production because you will decide the direction of content, the time period, and cast the right crew to solve the task. 

The editorial team will write all content for the show and have it approved by the executive producer. The executive producer will then confirm with the broadcaster that it’s on the right path. A caster is then hired to scout for people to participate in the show. The editorial team and the production manager will now start to plan the practical aspects of the recordings and they will also create call sheets for the different recording days.

Fail to prepare, prepare to fail

When you plan it helps you face what’s realistic and what’s not. Be too optimistic and you will end up with half a show, too pessimistic you will also end up with half a show, because the budget is gone through before the production is finished.

Doing a reality show you may say that you’re recording real life. But, in order to succeed, you need to plan every little detail in the pre production. Of course things will change, but you will be aware.

The big challenge is time. The time from the green light to the first delivery is usually way too short to have everything in place from the start. That’s why the collaboration between the entire production crew that has been working together since pre production is so important. One little miscommunication, can have large consequences.
Production Hero

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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