Film production work and turning a script into a movie is a long and complex process. It requires many tasks and people involved at different stages of the process, which is exactly what we’re going to go through in this article!
We tend to think about film production in three stages: pre-production, production, and post-production. But in reality, there are 7 stages of film production.
Working every stage in the right order makes it easier for the shooting days and ensures that everything runs smoothly. In this article, we are going to discuss all the details about those stages and the main roles in film production. Let’s dive in!
What Is Film Production?
Film production is the process by which a film is made. We refer to film production when we talk about the whole process of making a movie.
Many people think film production is only about writing the script, doing some pre-production, and starting to shoot a movie. But, film production is much more than that.
Movie production involves financial funding, hiring the film crew, finding the locations, marketing, and distribution. To help give you a better understanding, let’s talk about each stage in a bit more detail.
The 7 Stages Of Film Production
There are many different ways to approach the development stage. In many cases, this starts with a script already written and an executive producer.
Another way is a custom-made project – when a film production company asks for a movie to be made. In that case, the producer is in charge and the screenwriter starts to work on the idea.
In both cases, the development process involves the planning and conceptualising of the movie.
While the writers do their work, a first synopsis is done so that way the producer can start with the sales work and raise funds or pitch the idea.
Once the script is approved, the director works with the writer to come up with the outline of the film rhythm, narrative, and concept.
Budgeting is a significant stage of film pre-production. The producer needs to work on the budget to start raising funds and do a projection of how much money is needed for each stage.
Every department’s work depends on the budget. Once the movie producer knows the budget, they can do the proper negotiation with the crew, providers, cast, locations, and post-production.
Producers meet financers by networking and attending meetings. They travel to film festivals to show the project materials to possible investors.
Once the script is ready and the budget is funded, it’s time to start preparing for the shooting days. In the pre-production stage, the film is outlined from start to finish. The main roles in the film production are defined, the casting director looks for the characters and there’s scouting to find the locations.
The pre-production stage is not an easy one. Doing this job requires full attention. Any detail that is not clear could affect the entire movie.
In this stage, the director works along with the main roles to define the style of the movie. This means photography, art, wardrobe, and locations. This happens while the producer and the assistant director execute all the planning and shooting schedules.
Usually, the times of pre-production depend on the shooting schedule. For example, if the movie will take a month to shoot, then the pre-production stage should have the same duration – that’s one month of pre-production and one month of production.
The most exciting of all the film production stages, this is the time when all the magic happens. The production stage is when the film work begins – this means the shooting days.
If all the previous steps were done right, this should be a breeze, and super fun! But, if not, it can turn into a nightmare. So, you better work with extreme detail during the previous steps.
The most important thing is to stick to the budget and that can only be done by following the film production schedule. Which requires being attentive and staying creative to propose resolutions in any circumstance that can occur.
At the film production stage, actors shoot their scenes after days of rehearsals. Additionally, the film crew works hard to make sure that every scene is on time so the production runs well, and the photography director and film director focus on making the shots as good as possible.
Producers may be on set depending on their workload or the kind of production. Sometimes there are campers with an office integrated so producers can work on set. Other times producers stay at an office and just attend when needed.
In other productions, depending on the agreement, writers can be on set if the director or producers give them the creative decision. Or, if they need to supervise any details.
Once the shooting days are over, it is time to get the pieces together and polish the details. Post-production is divided into multiple steps and involves different film roles.
Some steps of the post-production stage are editing, sound editing, colour correction, animation, and visual effects insertions. Every film production works differently, so there can be more or fewer steps depending on the movie.
At this stage, the editors create the first cut of the film based on the storyboard. The director may work along with them to visualize how it starts to look with the assembly and give instructions. For bigger productions, there may be extra editors working on a teaser and small clips for marketing purposes.
Marketing is a very important step for a film to be successful. Not only in a creative way, but in monetisation.
Even though this is one of the final steps in the film stage production process, there are many ways you can start marketing your movie at an early stage.
Some productions start promoting the film during the screenwriting process, this can be possible through social media at an early stage. Also, if allowed by the film producers, it is possible to market with behind-the-scenes clips. That way, people are engaging with the movie and it generates expectations for the film.
Another great way to do marketing is through film festivals as they already have the right audience. The marketing stage is about creating awareness of the film and get the audience excited to watch it when is released.
It is very important to set apart a budget for this stage. Many new producers forget about the marketing and distribution stage and once it is time to do it, they run out of budget. Keep this in mind so your movie has the best marketing strategy and the audience is ready waiting for it!
The last film production stage is distribution. This is also a very complex process that requires another role in the film crew. Or, in some cases a company dedicated to the distribution business.
Major film companies tend to have their own distribution team. But independent films will need a distributor.
Is very important to understand the business side of film production to prepare for this stage. It’s crucial to design a business model to distribute the film and get the maximum financial gain.
Once again, film festivals and production encounters are the best ways to find the right distributor for your film.
Also, you can do a pre-sell. For example, once your script is very well structured, the producer can seek a distribution company or theatre to see if they are interested in the final product.
Film Production Equipment
Now we have talked about the film production stages and film crew, let’s go over some basic film production equipment.
It’s extremely important to understand this part and be able to cover all of the crew’s needs.
In the pre-production stage, there is very little equipment needed.
You will maybe require a photography camera or a tablet with a photography app for the scouting notes.
Many photography directors use apps on their tablets that have information about lenses, sunset hours, and other detailed information that they need.
For the rest of the pre-production, software like Final Draft for writing or Movie Magic to do the scheduling and budgeting is essential.
The production stage is the one that requires the most equipment such as video camera equipment, lenses, and lighting gear.
Every movie requires a different kind of camera depending on the photography style that’s been set up and the final look that it is going to have.
During the post-production stage, editing software is important.
Furthermore, if the movie requires many special effects, then a render farm and specialized computer systems are required.
While this gear can be expensive, any investment you make in it will allow you to put the finishing touches on your film faster and more efficiently.
Our Final Thoughts
Each movie is very different depending on the project size, budget and needs but this is basically how it is structured.
For independent films, the procedure can be very flexible and also the crew can be reduced. Just don’t forget to add any details in the pre-production stage and do the right analysis of how the budget is going to be executed. Good luck!
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