Free filmmaking resources: pre production edition

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Welcome to April! For this month’s free filmmaking resources round up, we’re focusing on things that will make pre production easier. Enjoy, and let us know which of these were the most helpful!

StudioBinder pre production checklist 

I’m sure you’re familiar with Studiobinder. They’re a great all-around filmmaking resource; they have paid accounts that allow you to do all kinds of things, but of course this is a FREE resource round-up. They have one account tier that is free, but that option isn’t what I’m here to talk to you about. They have other free resources that you can download without creating an account, like this pre production checklist that will help you make sure you’re covering all your bases before you even get started. This is a great resource for people who are relatively new to production work, but even for veterans it’s good to have a clear to-do list. Newer producers should also check out their blog, which has comprehensive articles covering a variety of filmmaking topics.

Michael Wiese books

These resources were designed to be used alongside Michael Wiese’s book Film + Video budgets, 6th edition, but can absolutely be used on their own. On this website, you can download a variety of budget templates, as well as things like call sheets, crew lists, and more. These templates are free to download, even without the purchase of the books they’re associated with.

Formsbirds.com

Formsbirds.com does not focus on filmmaking; it’s a general, all-purpose website with downloadable forms, from cleaning schedules to wedding planning checklists. However, if you search “film,” there are a plethora of options that will help you in pre production. It’s definitely worth perusing all of the options that they have available on this website. Be cautious as you click download; like many sites, formsbirds relies on advertising, and you want to be confident you are clicking on the correct download button, rather than an ad.

Thinkcrew.com

Thinkcrew.com bills themselves as “the best way to schedule your feature or TV series,” and while they have a paid subscription model, they have a tier that is 100% free and allows you to create unlimited projects. With this free subscription, you can import scripts directly to the site to create shooting schedules. There are perks to the paid subscription, of course (mostly related to collaborating with other producers and exporting data to other softwares) but the free version should get you far as you design your schedules.

Asana

I’m sure you’ve seen ads for Asana, but did you know that they have a free subscription tier? The free tier is for teams of up to ten, with unlimited tasks, messages, file storage, and more. Asana is a great way to collaborate with other producers if you are looking to optimize your workflow, communicate clearly, and stay on the same page about what’s been accomplished and what still needs to be done.

Milanote

Milanote is an app you can use from your desktop. Think of it as your all-purpose, digital bulletin board. After making a free account and answering some quick questions about your work, you’ll be prompted to create a “board,” which can in turn become anything you want. Need a moodboard for your set design? Check. A team planner to get everyone on the same page about their to-do list? Check. A creative brief for client work? Check. Like Asana, this is a great way to make the most of your workflow, give you or your team a virtual workspace, and plan out a project using a platform designed with creatives in mind. This is a pre-production round up, but Milanote will be useful throughout the entire production process, especially if you’re working with a team.

G-Casper

This free, cloud-based spreadsheet is specifically designed for film production crews. G-Casper automatically imports schedules, will calculate sunset times based off of your location, automatically creates call sheets… the list goes on. It works off of Google Sheets, which is great if you don’t have the time or energy to learn new software, and will make it easy to use for your whole production team.

Nofilmschool storyboarding checklist

I could write a whole article about Nofilmschool’s free filmmaking resources (where would we be without them?) but today I want to highlight this storyboarding checklist. Especially if you’re new to storyboarding, this guide will make sure you’re covering all your bases. And while you’re over there, check out the other resources on their site.

Saturation

Saturation is a cloud-based budgeting tool created by producers, for producers. There are three price tiers, including a free tier where you can work on one single project, and the pricier tiers with more features and unlimited projects have a 30 day free trial.

Set Hero

Set Hero is a subscription based service that allows you to create call sheets and communicate with your team through their software. While they don’t have a free tier, they have a few free resources I want to share with you today. When you sign up for any of their tiers, your first project (with up to five days of shooting) is free. They also offer a year of free services for students who are actively enrolled in university. They also offer a free download of production documents and cheat sheets, which are linked above. From character breakdowns to location agreements to walkie talkie lingo cheat sheets, they’ve got you covered.

Molly Stein-Seroussi

Molly Stein-Seroussi

Author

Molly is an author, screenwriter, blogger, and brand manager for New 32 Productions. They are passionate about sharing content that helps filmmakers live a more productive, informed, and well-balanced life. They live in North Carolina with their spouse and way too many dogs.

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