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  • Jessica Clarke

The Importance of Pre-Production Planning: Things To Know Before You Hire a Producer

Published by: Jessica Clarke

Date Published: November 08, 2023

Let's be real, navigating content creation and campaigns can often feel like trying to catch a speeding train. Remember that deadline that was comfortably 6 weeks away? Now it's suddenly 2 weeks, and you're pleading with your brand execs for an extension. While it's common for producers and agency folks to shrug and say, "Well, that was a crazy one," I've come to realize that in our line of work, things being not so "crazy" are the exception, not the rule.

  While any great producer can tie a lasso around that tornado, so to speak, a solid strategy at the planning stage is crucial to ensure you're overjoyed with the creative output and getting that precious ROI. *insert money bag emojis*

  I've often received inquiries like, "Can you do this and how much will it cost?" after glancing at a single one-page document born from a creative director’s weekend psychedelic trip. Don't get me wrong, bring it. Speak fever-dream to me, baby, I’m all for it. However, that's not much to go on when trying to figure out the feasibility, cost, and how to best execute a project. If we're trying to spend "Mom & Dad's" (aka the brand's) money wisely, here are a few pointers to set you off on the right track for execution.



Your creative doesn't have to be a hundred percent complete, or even fully developed when you approach a producer. In fact, it's beneficial to stay relatively flexible, especially when the budget or timing is tight. Nevertheless, it's essential to have a clear vision of the campaign style, messaging, and overall creative concept. This includes but isn't limited to elements like the colour palette, brand colours, lighting styles, composition styles, the cast (if needed), wardrobe, props and so much more. Heck, throw in a Pulp Fiction screenshot if you want, and we'll run with it. My point is, these aspects allow a producer to assemble the right team to bring your vision to life, while also understanding the timing, execution, and budget.



Any savvy advertiser knows that successful campaign promotion hinges on understanding your target audience. It’s important to share these specifics with your producer as it can greatly affect who they will hire to direct and edit your campaign.

For instance, what's your media strategy? Where do you intend to display your content, and for how long? In which areas (geographically & digitally)? How many assets will you need? If it's a video, what's its length? What are the desired aspect ratios? And naturally, when is it needed in-market? It might be surprising to some, but the duration your campaign is in market can greatly affect your overall costs. Knowing the specifics before you approach a producer or production house will not only save you some unsavoury surprises down the road but a lot of back and forth and your precious time.



Nobody enjoys discussing money, but it's time to move past that narrative. Whether your production is large or small, it's crucial to have an open conversation about what your brand can feasibly spend on the campaign. Let me emphasize that more money doesn't always equate to better results, especially if you have a resourceful team. However, your producer needs to grasp your financial limits to deliver your desired outcome without surprising costs or surpassing the budget.

Consider establishing a contingency plan. Allocate 5-10% of the overall budget as a safety net in case unforeseen issues arise during production, or, if you're Alanis Morrisette there's "like, rain on your wedding day". Understanding the finer details is the job of the producer, but transparency with your hired team regarding the budget will encourage reciprocal transparency, ensuring that expectations are realistically met.

Remember, clear communication about finances allows for a smoother and more productive collaboration.

The topics above are not even close to exhaustive, but it's a great way to kick off your campaign queries. The more efficiently you communicate with your producer, the quicker you'll dive into the exciting parts and get your content out there. We all know time is money, so having these answers prepared before you approach a producer will save you time and get you to the good stuff, faster!

Fellow production folks, what are some "off-the-bat" info/questions you love to see?



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