THE 5 STAGES OF FILM PRODUCTION
Film production is the collaborative process of bringing your film idea to life. It is a lengthy process that can take months, sometimes years to properly plan and execute. Whether it be a big-budget studio film or a smaller indie one, all filmmakers must go through the 5 stages of film production which are; Development, Pre-Production, Production, Post-Production, and Distribution. Each stage has its own primary assignment that needs to be completed before your film is ready for an audience.
The 5 stages of film production are imperative to the overall filmmaking process and they are explained below:
This is the creation, writing, planning, and organizing stage. It has to do with the fleshing out and development of your story. What is the movie going to be about? This process includes writing multiple drafts, sometimes 2 or 3, other times 4 or 5. To make sure that the script is solid enough to show producers and potential investors. Here, you also lay out your budget and financial logistics, while sourcing for capable people to work with on your film project. This stage could take months or even years, especially if you are looking for funding, but not to worry… Trust the process
Pre-production involves the complete breakdown of your script and can be as intense as filming. This is the stage where you hire a film crew; director of photography, assistant directors, unit production managers, costume and set designers, etc. Each department works with the line producer to break down what each field needs to properly execute the directors’ vision. Everyone gets busy, Casting directors will scout for actors, and cinematographers will budget out the appropriate equipment; cameras, lenses, light, etc. Location, wardrobe, and props will be acquired at this time too
Finally! You are at the production stage. Also known as Principal Photography, this is when shooting begins. During this time, the director’s vision becomes clearer and the cinematographer shines. After the first scene is filmed, post-production starts, and editors begin work. Camera operators and grips will follow the shooting plan set by the director and cinematographer. Extra hands may also be hired at this point, like script supervisor, continuity, production coordinator, welfare, logistics, property manager, etc to ensure a smooth filmmaking process.
Post-production is where the raw film footage gets refined, errors are corrected and the editor assembles footage shot by shot and adds music either licensed or original. While no part of filmmaking is easy nor can any of the stages work without the other, in post-production, filmmakers can breathe easier and maybe even sleep a little. The post-production crew is made up of editors, effect artists, sound designers/engineers, etc. Editing is one of the most important parts of filmmaking and you need a really good editor to ensure that the audio and visual materials are properly cut together to create a film that is ready for distribution.
No serious filmmaker ever makes a movie for their eyes only. You want people to see. admire, appreciate and rate your work. Without a good distribution plan in place, the other 4 stages of production may not reach their full potential. Distribution begins when your film has been edited and is ready for viewing. Producers then start to look for a return on investment so that all prior commitments to investors can be reconciled. Distribution can be done either through cinema, selling to a streaming service, or a tv network. In the digital age, film producers have access to a wider audience, and viewers are now able to watch content in new and different ways.
Even though distribution is the last stage of film production, it is imperative that you have this covered before you begin production or at least, in pre-production. It is in bad taste and may bring about confusion if left till the last minute.
Overall, the filmmaking process can be daunting and potentially chaotic. However, the rewards are exhilarating, and fulfilling and can last a lifetime.
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