Preproduction is (in our opinion) the most important part of the video creation process. But what exactly is it and why is it so important?

Let's take a closer look.
The process of making a video can be separated out into three different stages:

René Clair, the French director, once said: "My film is already done. I just have to start filming".
In other words: a solid vision of the end result can eliminate uncertainty and ambiguity during the production stage.

Consider the amount of work that goes into the construction of, say, a skyscraper. Before a single brick is laid, the entire project has been meticulously planned – often far in advance – blueprints drawn up, dioramas built, and shareholders schmoozed.

So it is with animation.
Case Study
Here's the storyboard we made for Acronis Access Advanced video.
Note how almost every detail of the video is included in this simple illustration.
Final Result
Before even the first storyboards were drawn, we spent almost a week determining what the client really needed, which ultimately saved us, and Acronis, valuable time.

Preproduction is the least expensive part of making a film. There are fewer overheads and less people involved than in other parts of the process. While it's tempting to 'just start working', done correctly, preproduction can prevent the studio running over schedule, and over budget, during the production stage.

Making key decisions during preproduction will save a lot of time; so it's essential both client and studio keep communications channels open.

There are no real hard and fast rules, but here are a few tried and true methods we'd like to pass on – some advice gleaned from our experiences…
First, know your product

It's great when your client has a clear idea of their product's unique selling point, as well as an infectious enthusiasm. Sadly, this isn't always the case. From a preproduction perspective, insight is crucial.

Second. Get ready to a ton of questions

The studio is going to need a lot of information in order to work on the project. If the information needed isn't immediately available, talk to your colleagues. But it's important to ask the right questions – to get the material needed for a script. For an idea of those questions, take a look at the product brief template on our website.
Third. Schedule your work load.

Time is precious, so don't try to squeeze in "a minute here and a minute there". Instead assign an hour or two each day to review your concepts, copy, and sketches.

We always provide our clients with a list of suggested actions they should take.

This way the client knows when they have to focus on specific parts of the process.

Fourth. Don't overinflate your team.

Keep it small. Stay agile. Big teams slow things down with constant meetings, revisions, and consensus by committee.

Choose a leader (better, if it's an owner/co-founder/CEO) and approve every step with her. If you still want to approve the video with everyone in your team, you need the leader even more. Approve all proposals with her and send them to the studio.
And lastly…trust the studio.

You're doing a great job running your company, and the studio is doing just the same.

Trust your studio's taste and experience, and be prepared to collaborate as much as possible to get the best result.

We hope this guide helps you get aligned with our work process.
Still have questions? Let's discuss them over email or fb messenger.

BTW, there's a second article, dedicated to the next step, Production Process. We highly recommend you reading it as well.