Once you have a script or story (I know there are some people who just like to make these things up on the spot) then there are two steps you need to take in order to be ready to film.
1. GET HOLD OF EVERYTHING YOU NEED BEHIND THE CAMERA.
2. GET HOLD OF EVERYTHING YOU NEED IN FRONT OF THE CAMERA.
Honestly thats all you need to do. Obviously there is a little more to it than that, But I find that looking at it like this makes what is quite a huge task, feel smaller and much more manageable.
Now at this point you should have a list of
1. People who need to be in front of the camera (actors)
2. Items that these people need to interact with (Props)
3. A place for these Items and people to be placed in (Location)
Then you should look at getting a couple of people behind the camera
1. Someone to Shoot it for you (You)
2. Someone to Direct the shoot (You)
3. Someone to Record sound (Sound guy)
4. Someone to help out (Sound guy)
I always tend to have a couple of people (P.A's) running around, but even then these are usually made up of people who don't have a job or anything better to do or my close friends and more often than not my girlfriend.
It's quite simple when you start looking at it like this and it makes the daunting task that is pre production a lot easier, just make a list of things you need and get it together.
Trust me, enjoy pre production, because quite honestly on a no budget production, Pre Production is the last chance you'll have to enjoy making your film until you're finished in the editing suite.
I know I've skimmed over a lot here, but it's good to figure out your own way of doing each thing, Of course I'll go into every step here in more detail of the coming weeks.
But so far this approach has worked on 3 short films, 2 features (albeit with a couple more specific crew) and countless music videos.
Of course it's hard, it's a challenge, but lets be honest, if you don't like challenge's, The last thing you want be doing is making no budget movies.