5 Steps to Jumpstart Your Film’s Pre-Production

By Lee Jameson / Film Education Coordinator

Seasoned indie line producer Angela Sostre, who has worked with a diverse group of directors including comedy legend Bobcat Goldthwait, Justin Lin and Film Independent’s own Will Slocombe, returned to the Film Independent office last week to provide our members with some helpful hints on working with line producers.

Once you have accrued the necessary start-up funds to get the ball rolling on your film, Sostre recommends these five steps to jumpstart pre-production:

1) Hire a line producer and UPM (unit production manager)

“They will work to create a professional budget for you to present to potential investors.” Your line producer will first create a proper schedule breakdown and a budget “to help you gain an understanding of what may be adjusted in the script to get the budget down to where it needs to be.” It is essential to trim the fat of your script (i.e. rethink those exploding helicopters) and put some serious thought into your budget before reaching out to investors.

2) Hire a lawyer

Someone whose skills fit your needs “that can also work within your budget to draw up preliminary agreements.” As soon as you have a budget in place, make sure you’re covering your bases legally. Be proactive about protecting your work.

3) Put together an investment packet, also known as a “lookbook”

You will need to budget for this because you will want to hire a graphic designer to create a high quality presentation for your project. “You have a better chance of getting investors interested in your material if you have the most professional packet available.”

4) Hire a casting director

It is important to bring on a casting director in the early stages “who can go out and create interest in the key roles.” You want actors, agents and publicists aware of your film and a reputable casting director adds credibility to your film.

5) Save up money to survive

“You want to be able to pay the bills for three months while you’re focusing on the project. This amount is typically around $20,000-$25,000.” Strive to live frugally and never use the film’s budget for personal items. Keep the two budgets separate and avoid crossover.


February 21st, 2013 • 6 Comments

6 Responses to “5 Steps to Jumpstart Your Film’s Pre-Production”

  1. February 21, 2013 at 3:38 pm

    Does $25K for 3 months savings seem a little extravagant for anyone else?

    • March 1, 2013 at 10:52 am

      Haha! My thoughts exactly! I saw that and did a double take. Who the hell has 8k in bills/living expenses a month? If you’re rolling like that you probably don’t need this list because you’re obviously doing something right.

    • Film_Shark
      March 2, 2013 at 11:47 am

      It might be a wiser decision to take a portion of that $25K and move it to post-production. Quite a few filmmakers forget to set aside money for that critical step in the process.

    • JakeSpeed
      March 11, 2013 at 6:18 pm


  2. tactfool
    February 22, 2013 at 9:15 pm

    Shoot, at maximum I might have $10,000 in savings. Money doesn’t grow on trees anymore!

  3. bob
    November 22, 2014 at 8:39 pm

    who has that kind of money at all , please point me in the right direction. If i had that kind of money i’d be just done and made a movie myself or at least try and get some extra funding via kickstarter or something.
    some people are lucky to have 5$ let alone 100.00

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