Why pre production is important to us and our clients

An interview with Evan Abrams

Often times, we overlook the value of the pre-production process, when it’s actually an incredibly important part of what we do. In many ways, a little extra work up front, will save a lot of extra time on the back end. To help us all understand this better, I’ve brought in someone who truly knows the importance of this concept.

Evan Abrams is a fantastic motion designer who runs his own YouTube channel where he teaches motion design. With over ten years of experience, Evan has fine-tuned how he creates his projects from beginning to end. Not one to keep his skills to himself, Evan uses his YouTube channel to share his expertise with other motion designers.

His recent videos about the pre-production process have me thinking that we too often ignore this essential part of creating animations. So today we’re talking about how you can streamline your pre-production process for better efficiency and more clients. Evan also talks about why it’s crucial to position yourself as an expert in what you do and to share that expertise with as many people as you can. To that end, Evan shares his advice about whether or not you should start your own YouTube channel. 

Evan gives some great tips on using your expertise to get new clients by using your knowledge to get you in front of new audiences. Much of this involves being active in the right communities and offering each other support.

Evan and I also dive deep into how important pre-production is to creating a great final project. By focusing on the process before the creation begins, we can better anticipate potential problems and streamline collaboration, not to mention reduce stress. It allows us to be able to do and consider more in the end by being more intentional from the start. In that way we should enjoy the process even more than the finished product.

What are some of the most important things you do during the pre-production phase of your projects? Let me know in the comments!

In this episode

  • Why you need to make content that is meaningful to you instead of trying to please everyone
  • The importance of being an expert in your field and sharing your skills with others
  • The most important thing to consider when starting your own YouTube channel
  • Why planning and pre-production is the most essential aspect of your work even though it’s rarely discussed
  • How pre-production helps you and your clients understand each other better from the start
  • Why mood boards are one of the most important pre-production tools you can utilize
  • Top tips for communicating effectively with clients from the very start of a project


“If you’re going to create something, you can’t please everybody all the time. That’s probably the biggest hurdle to get over.” [6:25]

“I think we’re entering an age where secret knowledge is not valuable, but shared knowledge is. If you hoard all this behind the scenes stuff to yourself, that’s great, now nobody gets to know about your process. Your process is as valuable as the product you’re putting out. It’s often more valuable if you want people to work with you. They’ll need to see how you work.” [11:35]

“Pre-production, in my mind, is the only way to achieve great production. It’s the party that happens before the party. You can’t get somewhere if you don’t know where you’re going.” [22:49]

“It’s vital to remember, everybody is a person. No one is a robot. Behave less like a robot.” [46:38]

“Great work doesn’t come fully formed into the universe. We all want to produce great work and it doesn’t just pop out of people’s heads. It doesn’t just show up. Most great work comes from collaboration, working the problem, the process. There is a system and systems are not to be feared.” [57:12]



Milanote is a tool for organising your motion graphics projects – everything from the creative brief, mood boards, storyboards – all your pre-production material in one place. Watch Evan's series on pre-production where he uses Milanote and shows you how to organised your motion design projects to get better results. Check out Milanote and sign up for free milanote.com/motionhatch


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