How Much Time Should A Filmmaker Spend On Pre-Production? by Jay Silverman

Watch the video interview on Youtube here

Film Courage: How much time did you spend developing the script before pre-production?

Jay Silverman, Photographer/Filmmaker: In the movie that I just made (OFF THE MENU] the pre-production period was around six months. It really became a legitimate pre-production three months before. Meaning we hired on some of the department heads and we start actually actively going into pre-production.

But I call pre-production the minute that the producers start working on managing our days, managing our equipment, managing our location time. I started scouting locations six months before we started shooting.

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Film Courage: Did you set a production date before the script was ready?

Jay: That’s a real important question because ultimately there are so many factors that enter the game.

We had another actor (a lead) that pulled out I think three weeks before we went into production. That’s always the big fear because I don’t care how much you think you’re paying them is good, it’s never even close to a legitimate film and the actors that we had hired for both my last movie and this movie fell out, not because they didn’t want the project, but because they got a huge project.

And one of them I believe was TRANSFORMERS, so how do you compete with that?

But it’s very interesting because you’ll find that most independent films are cast literally days before the film actually goes into production because of this problem. No disrespect to the agents but why would the agent take a small independent movie over TRANSFORMERS? His business model is to get as much business as he can for the actor.

That’s why it’s important to hire actors that really want to do this movie, which we were lucky enough to have.

And then if you’re lucky enough to get someone like Peter Coyote in a movie, you’re even more vibrantly walking down a road of just total luck, great luck.


Question For The Viewers: How many months of pre-production did you have on your last project?



Watch the video interview on Youtube here





About OFF THE MENU (description from

Romantic Comedy An unlikely heir to a Mexican fast-food empire goes ‘cuisine’ hunting for the next culinary big thing, and finds himself in a small, dusty New Mexican town where foodies come from all over to salivate over the culinary treats of a local, authentic, and feisty female chef.


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