The Ultimate Step-by-Step Film Pre-Production Guide

Hosted by Rachel Crouch


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Rachel Crouch

Webinar hosted by: Rachel Crouch

Director of Development at Cold Iron Pictures

Rachel Crouch began her career with a rather unconventional start working a variety of jobs all over Los Angeles. After interning with Miranda Bailey's former company Ambush Entertainment, she landed a job as a producer's assistant at the film financing and production company Cold Iron Pictures. While at Cold Iron, she has worked on such films as the Spirit Award-winning The Diary of a Teenage Girl, Sundance award-winning Swiss Army Man starring Daniel Radcliffe and Paul Dano, Time out of Mind starring Richard Gere, and Mike Birbiglia's latest Don't Think Twice, as well as produced a series of short YouTube videos in her "off" time. As a writer, Rachel has had articles published by The Mary Sue,,, and co-founded the geek girl podcast and blog The Babes in the Woods. Full Bio »

Webinar Summary

Pre-production is the most important time for filmmakers. How you plan and the crucial decisions you make will determine the success of your production and ultimately, your film. No matter what experience level you are at, pre-production can quickly become an overwhelming process. To make the most of this valuable time to prep you'll want to take it step by step to ensure no loose ends come back to derail you while you're on set.

Whether you're filming a project for $1 million or a $1,000, pre-production is the foundation to make sure your production goes smoothly. If you're making a digital series, as short or a feature length film it's imperative that you have a clear understanding of your cast and crew and their roles. You need to understand the key hires you need and the obstacles you may face as a filmmaker before you you can ever put together your call sheet for day one. 

Rachel Crouch will use her experience as the Director of Development from Cold Iron Pictures to help ensure your pre-production process runs smoothly. Rachel has worked on $1M+ films such as Swiss Army Man, The Diary of a Teenage Girl, Don't Think Twice, Time out of Mind, I Do...Until I Don't (among many more!), and in her off time has produced a digital series in the $1k+ range. Through each of these project Rachel has learned the highs and lows filmmakers face during pre-production.

Rachel will help you define your film's budget range and go over pros and cons, as well as similarities and differences in a $1M+ production and a $1K production. You will learn the key department heads to hire, how to meet with them to ensure your budget, shooting days, schedule and casting go smoothly. You'll know what to do for your location scout and how to put all the pieces together and avoid any obstacles. You'll get the all important  list of resources to help you through pre-production and a checklist to make sure that you've thought through everything. And, as a bonus, Rachel will take you behind the scenes of pre-production on Swiss Army Man, Don't Think Twice and the digital series she produced to give you a real life look at how, with the right planning, these projects got started on the right foot. 


This is the ultimate guide for you to plan your pre-production, no matter your budget!


"Rachel is so knowledgable and approachable about pre-production. You can tell she's seen it all on her productions. The checklists and resources are extremely helpful. Thanks for sharing your experiences with us Rachel!"

-Tony P.



What You'll Learn

How to Define Your Budget & Your Production Days

  • Pros, cons, similarities and differences in a $1M+ production and a $1k production

Hiring Your Key Department Heads

  • Who to hire and in what order for a $1M+ production
  • Who to hire and in what order for a $1k production

Meeting With Your Department Heads

  • How to go over budget, shooting days, schedule
  • What you need to know for casting

Location Scouting

  • What you need before you scout
  • What you need after your scout

Putting All the Pieces Together

  • A comprehensive checklist of things to make sure you have thought of everything
  • Resource list you will need to help you through your pre-production process

Avoiding Getting Burned

  • A list of examples of where you can go wrong and how to stay on the right path
  • Key advice Rachel has learned through the years working on small productions and large productions.

Pre-Production Case Studies:

  • Swiss Army Man (Winner Sundance Best Director, starring Daniel Radcliffe)
  • Don't Think Twice (SXSW, Tribeca, featuring Ben Stiller & Lena Dunham)
  • Rachel's Digital Series Project

Q&A with Rachel


About Your Instructor

Rachel Crouch began her career with a rather unconventional start working a variety of jobs all over Los Angeles. After interning with Miranda Bailey's former company Ambush Entertainment, she landed a job as a producer's assistant at the film financing and production company Cold Iron Pictures. While at Cold Iron, she has worked on such films as the Spirit Award-winning The Diary of a Teenage Girl, Sundance award-winning Swiss Army Man starring Daniel Radcliffe and Paul Dano, Time out of Mind starring Richard Gereand Mike Birbiglia's latest Don't Think Twice, as well as produced a series of short YouTube videos in her "off" time.

As a writer, Rachel has had articles published by The Mary Sue,,, and co-founded the geek girl podcast and blog The Babes in the Woods.


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