Weekly production meetings are a great way to keep all your cast and crew members moving in the same direction. Ideally, these meetings will give each department leader an update on where everyone’s at so they can better align everyone. Read on to discover how to run an effective production meeting and who you should invite.
- What is a production meeting?
- How to run a production meeting
- Why do you need a production meeting?
- Tips for running a production meeting
- Who is invited to a production meeting?
What is a production meeting?
A production meeting is when your cast and crew all get together to discuss the next stages in your production. Anyone involved in the production can join the meeting – prop masters, production managers, actors, set designers, you name it. These meetings will typically cover production deadlines, budgets, props, costumes, and more. Typically, the properties director should host production meetings weekly to keep everyone up to date.
Host delightful production meetings
A well-run production meeting can foster communication and collaboration by including an agenda the whole team can contribute to. Try using a tool like Fellow!
How to run a production meeting
Here’s how to host a production meeting in a few simple steps.
- Greetings and introductions
- List of cast and crew
- Issues related to the entire staff
- Each department’s progress
1Greetings and introductions
Each production meeting should start with everyone giving a brief introduction before you show your appreciation for everyone there. The introductions are especially important whether you’re hosting your third meeting or your thirtieth meeting – new cast and crew members can always join. Once everyone introduces themselves, you can give a brief summary of what’s to come in the meeting.
2List of cast and crew
Your meeting agenda should include a list of everyone participating in the production, from cast members to directors and stylists. Some topics you may need to discuss with your crew are your wardrobe, soon-to-be-new staff, props, travel logistics, and shortlisting.
Staying on budget is one of the most important and difficult components of any production. But with so many different production teams in your production, it can be tough to really look over the budget. For this reason, you may want to ask one team member – maybe someone on the accounting side of things – to take the lead here.
4Issues related to the entire staff
Once you get through everything above, you should spend about five minutes on any other team concerns. These issues could relate to your staffing or budget, or they could be a friendly reminder of how many rehearsals are left.
5Each department’s progress
During your production meeting, you should ask each department to share a brief overview of what they’re working on, especially if it affects multiple departments. For example, if a magazine wants to do a cover shoot for your upcoming production, you’ll need to alert actors and costume designers. This way, the costume department has plenty of time to create the actors’ outfits.
The director should always begin these progress updates and then guide the conversation through each department. If a department goes over its allotted time, you should schedule a separate one-on-one meeting to discuss it further.
Before you end your production meeting, you should schedule a time for your next meeting. You should also figure out when in the coming days you can set aside time for each department’s needs. For example, maybe your set-building team can’t do its work while your actors block certain scenes. You’ll need to schedule separate times for each at the end of your meeting.
Why do you need a production meeting?
Production meetings are super helpful for everyone involved in your production. They’re the quickest way to make the sort of day-to-day choices that keep you on budget – and on track for a great production. They can seamlessly align everyone in the room so that you all reach the same destination more quickly.
Tips for running a production meeting
Here’s how you can hold the best possible production meetings.
- Choose a meeting facilitator
Figure out which of your cast and crew members is best with time management and hearing everyone’s ideas. Then, choose that person to be your meeting facilitator. while still ensuring each department gets its say. This person should work from the meeting agenda to ensure all the boxes are getting checked and that the meeting goes off without a hitch. That involves active listening, conflict resolution, and other people skills – look for your natural-born leaders.
- Set time frames
Meetings can run longer than expected when no one pays attention to the clock. A meeting agenda with clear time frames for each topic can help. Lean on that to keep everyone within their time when they speak. This way, you can cover all the bases without running overtime.
- Focus almost entirely on key decisions
You’ll likely make some key decisions during your production meetings – budget, production processes, costumes, so much more. These should be the bread and butter of your meetings – you should leave smaller topics for each department to handle on its own.
For example, at your meeting, you can free up more of your budget for certain departments. That’s all you need to do – let the department figure out how to use its money on its own time. If you have any concerns, you can meet with that department separately.
Who is invited to a production meeting?
Here’s a list of who you should typically include in your production meetings to ensure you don’t waste anyone’s time.
- Technical director
- Set designers
- Lighting designers
- Costume designers
- Props master
- Sound engineers
- Stage managers
Producers are maybe the most important people to include in a production meeting – they’re typically the leaders of the whole show. Producers are also a logical choice to organize and facilitate the meeting. Your producers can make sure everything gets discussed in a timely manner while keeping everyone on top of their responsibilities.
The director can act as another guide throughout production meetings to help lead everything to its final destination. After all, they have the vision for the production, so they can help address any questions from department heads.
The technical director plays a big part in figuring out which teams can use which equipment when. That means costumes, sound, lighting, the whole shebang. Naturally, that means they should be part of your meetings. As you figure out what needs to get done when, the technical director can get all your ducks in a row to make it happen.
Set designers should be included in production meetings to align them with the director’s vision. During your production meetings, your set designers can also share whether they’re facing any challenges with lighting, sound, or labor.
The lighting crew can bring any new research or renderings to the table. They may also work closely with costume design to ensure that all the lighting colors work well with the chosen costumes.
The costume designer will likely need to collaborate with the lighting designer during the meeting. That’s a quick way to confirm that all the actors’ outfits will look good under all the lighting. The costume designer may also need to speak to the actors and director about fittings and schedule time for wardrobe practice. They can also show the rest of the team their costume ideas.
The props master, as their name suggests, is responsible for all the props. They can figure out their budget at your production meetings before figuring out how to stock the prop closet. And if they can’t get an important prop, they can discuss it with the team and weigh out their solutions.
Sound engineers need to be in constant contact with the actors and directors. They’ll need to design and control the sound in every venue. They’ll play new samples at each meeting and note if there are any problems.
Stage managers are your director’s right-hand people. During your production meetings, they’ll share updates or changes with your set designers and craftspeople. They’ll also be the ones helping the director with scheduling and note-taking. If they notice anything during rehearsals that they’d like to change, such as entrances, they’ll say so during your meetings.
You may want your publicity team at your production meetings to help plan special events for the cast. During the meetings, your publicist can discuss any upcoming events and get your actors and costume designers well-prepared.
You may also want your concessions rep at the meeting to discuss your budget and food options for each venue. This rep can update your whole team about labor for the evening and whether there are any setbacks.
Prepare for your next production meeting with Fellow
Weekly production meetings can keep your cast and crew on point in your production. To prepare for your production meetings, you’ll need a space for creating meeting agendas and sharing ideas with your team. With Fellow, you can do all that while taking meeting notes and getting team feedback, all under one streamlined platform. It’s the best way for you and your whole cast and crew to share the stage.