Pre-Production TV and Movie Materials

   Endangered large

Digital records of the creative and production process for film and television, such as initial designs, screenplay and script, on set still photography, rushes or out-takes that are not included in the final production and therefore not available to on-air broadcast archives or film libraries.

Digital Species: Sound and Vision

Trend in 2022:

No change No Change

Consensus Decision

Added to List: 2017

Trend in 2023:

No change No Change

Previously: Endangered

Imminence of Action

Action is recommended within twelve months, detailed assessment is a priority.

Significance of Loss

The loss of tools, data or services within this group would impact on many people and sectors.

Effort to Preserve | Inevitability

It would require a major effort to prevent or reduce losses in this group, possibly requiring the development of new preservation tools or techniques.


TV and Movie production archives in digital form; outputs of script management software; drafts of a screenplay; continuity photography; costume design; set design; lighting and sound design.

‘Critically Endangered’ in the Presence of Aggravating Conditions

Lack of custodial responsibility; confusion over intellectual property rights; lack of appraisal; lack of recognition of preservation at executive level.

‘Vulnerable’ in the Presence of Good Practice

Preservation responsibility understood and acted upon; preservation infrastructure and planning for key items; access and use of collections to inform subsequent productions.

2023 Review

This entry was first introduced in 2017 and noted as being ‘of concern,' though the Jury did not have the capacity to assess the entry thoroughly. Additional expertise was recruited for the 2019 Jury, and the entry was added with the Endangered classification based on the materials not being collected in any coherent way, likely loss when not valued by production companies, costly space needed to hold them, and lack of expertise needed to catalogue and collect them. In other words, this is not primarily a technical problem and advocacy is needed urgently.

The 2021 Jury added the trend towards greater risk in light of the rise of streaming services. The movie and film industry has been digitizing for a long time, but COVID has brought with it the rise of streaming services like Netflix, Disney+ etc., with productions tied to their organizations. These types of pre-production materials are great for promotion before and immediately after release; ongoing preservation after promotion finishes is unclear or uncertain. The 2022 Taskforce noted no change to the trend (they agreed these risks remain on the same basis as before).

The 2023 Council agreed with the Endangered with the overall risks remaining on the same basis as before (no change to the trend) but noted an increased imminence for this entry.

Additional Comments

With the importance of advocacy in mind, it is important to raise awareness and educate directors and filmmakers about managing their digital archive so that it is still accessible if donated to a cultural institution in the future.

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