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"Filmmaker" redirects here. Filmmaking_sentence_0

For other uses, see Filmmaker (disambiguation). Filmmaking_sentence_1

Filmmaking (or, in an academic context, film production) is the process of making a film, generally in the sense of films intended for extensive theatrical exhibition. Filmmaking_sentence_2

Filmmaking involves a number of complex and discrete stages including an initial story, idea, or commission, through screenwriting, casting, shooting, sound recording and pre-production, editing, and screening the finished product before an audience that may result in a film release and an exhibition. Filmmaking_sentence_3

Filmmaking takes place in many places around the world in a range of economic, social, and political contexts, and using a variety of technologies and cinematic techniques. Filmmaking_sentence_4

Stages of production Filmmaking_section_0

Film production consists of five major stages: Filmmaking_sentence_5


  • Development: The first stage in which the ideas for the film are created, rights to books/plays are bought etc., and the screenplay is written. Financing for the project has to be sought and obtained.Filmmaking_item_0_0
  • Pre-production: Arrangements and preparations are made for the shoot, such as hiring cast and film crew, selecting locations and constructing sets.Filmmaking_item_0_1
  • Production: The raw footage and other elements for the film are recorded during the film shoot.Filmmaking_item_0_2
  • Principal photographyFilmmaking_item_0_3
  • Post-production: The images, sound, and visual effects of the recorded film are edited and combined into a finished product.Filmmaking_item_0_4
  • Distribution: The completed film is distributed, marketed, and screened in cinemas and/or released to home video.Filmmaking_item_0_5

Development Filmmaking_section_1

In this stage, the project producer selects a story, which may come from a book, play, another film, true story, video game, fairy tale, comic book, graphic novel, or an original idea, etc. After identifying a theme or underlying message, the producer works with writers to prepare a synopsis. Filmmaking_sentence_6

Next, they produce a step outline, which breaks the story down into one-paragraph scenes that concentrate on dramatic structure. Filmmaking_sentence_7

Then, they prepare a treatment, a 25-to-30-page description of the story, its mood, and characters. Filmmaking_sentence_8

This usually has little dialogue and stage direction, but often contains drawings that help visualize key points. Filmmaking_sentence_9

Another way is to produce a scriptment once a synopsis is produced. Filmmaking_sentence_10

Next, a screenwriter writes a screenplay over a period of several months. Filmmaking_sentence_11

The screenwriter may rewrite it several times to improve dramatization, clarity, structure, characters, dialogue, and overall style. Filmmaking_sentence_12

However, producers often skip the previous steps and develop submitted screenplays which investors, studios, and other interested parties assess through a process called script coverage. Filmmaking_sentence_13

A film distributor may be contacted at an early stage to assess the likely market and potential financial success of the film. Filmmaking_sentence_14

Hollywood distributors adopt a hard-headed business approach and consider factors such as the film genre, the target audience and assumed audience, the historical success of similar films, the actors who might appear in the film, and potential directors. Filmmaking_sentence_15

All these factors imply a certain appeal of the film to a possible audience. Filmmaking_sentence_16

Not all films make a profit from the theatrical release alone, so film companies take DVD sales and worldwide distribution rights into account. Filmmaking_sentence_17

The producer and screenwriter prepare a film pitch, or treatment, and present it to potential financiers. Filmmaking_sentence_18

They will also pitch the film to actors and directors (especially so-called bankable stars) in order to "attach" them to the project (that is, obtain a binding promise to work on the film if financing is ever secured). Filmmaking_sentence_19

Many projects fail to move beyond this stage and enter so-called development hell. Filmmaking_sentence_20

If a pitch succeeds, a film receives a "green light", meaning someone offers financial backing: typically a major film studio, film council, or independent investor. Filmmaking_sentence_21

The parties involved negotiate a deal and sign contracts. Filmmaking_sentence_22

Once all parties have met and the deal has been set, the film may proceed into the pre-production period. Filmmaking_sentence_23

By this stage, the film should have a clearly defined marketing strategy and target audience. Filmmaking_sentence_24

Development of animated films differs slightly in that it is the director who develops and pitches a story to an executive producer on the basis of rough storyboards, and it is rare for a full-length screenplay to already exist at that point in time. Filmmaking_sentence_25

If the film is green-lighted for further development and pre-production, then a screenwriter is later brought in to prepare the screenplay. Filmmaking_sentence_26

Analogous to almost any business venture, financing of a film project deals with the study of filmmaking as the management and procurement of investments. Filmmaking_sentence_27

It includes the dynamics of assets that are required to fund the filmmaking and liabilities incurred during the filmmaking over the time period from early development through the management of profits and losses after distribution under conditions of different degrees of uncertainty and risk. Filmmaking_sentence_28

The practical aspects of filmmaking finance can also be defined as the science of the money management of all phases involved in filmmaking. Filmmaking_sentence_29

Film finance aims to price assets based on their risk level and their expected rate of return based upon anticipated profits and protection against losses. Filmmaking_sentence_30

Pre-production Filmmaking_section_2

See also: Pre-production Filmmaking_sentence_31

In pre-production, every step of actually creating the film is carefully designed and planned. Filmmaking_sentence_32

This is the phase where one would narrow down all the options of the production. Filmmaking_sentence_33

It is where all the planning takes place before the camera rolls and sets the overall vision of the project. Filmmaking_sentence_34

The production company is created and a production office established. Filmmaking_sentence_35

The film is pre-visualized by the director and may be storyboarded with the help of illustrators and concept artists. Filmmaking_sentence_36

A production budget is drawn up to plan expenditures for the film. Filmmaking_sentence_37

For major productions, insurance is procured to protect against accidents. Filmmaking_sentence_38

Pre-production also includes working out the shoot location and casting process. Filmmaking_sentence_39

The Producer hires a Line Manager or a Production Manager to create the schedule and budget for the film. Filmmaking_sentence_40

The nature of the film, and the budget, determine the size and type of crew used during filmmaking. Filmmaking_sentence_41

Many Hollywood blockbusters employ a cast and crew of hundreds, while a low-budget, independent film may be made by a skeleton crew of eight or nine (or fewer). Filmmaking_sentence_42

These are typical crew positions: Filmmaking_sentence_43


  • Storyboard artist: creates visual images to help the director and production designer communicate their ideas to the production team.Filmmaking_item_1_6
  • Director: is primarily responsible for the storytelling, creative decisions and acting of the film.Filmmaking_item_1_7
    • Assistant director (AD): manages the shooting schedule and logistics of the production, among other tasks. There are several types of AD, each with different responsibilities.Filmmaking_item_1_8
  • Film producer: hires the film's crew.Filmmaking_item_1_9
  • Production designer: the one who creates the visual conception of the film, working with the art director, who manages the art department which makes production sets.Filmmaking_item_1_12
    • Costume designer: creates the clothing for the characters in the film working closely with the actors, as well as other departments.Filmmaking_item_1_13
    • Makeup and hair designer: works closely with the costume designer in order to create a certain look for a character.Filmmaking_item_1_14
  • Casting director: finds actors to fill the parts in the script. This normally requires that actors part-take in an audition, either live in front of the casting director or in front of a camera, or multiple cameras.Filmmaking_item_1_15
  • Director of photography (DOP): the head of the photography of the entire film, supervises all cinematographers and Camera Operators.Filmmaking_item_1_17
  • Production sound mixer: the head of the sound department during the production stage of filmmaking. They record and mix the audio on set – dialogue, presence and sound effects in mono and ambience in stereo. They work with the boom operator, Director, DA, DP, and First AD.Filmmaking_item_1_18

Production Filmmaking_section_3

See also: Cinematography, Audiography, and Principal photography Filmmaking_sentence_44

In production, the film is created and shot. Filmmaking_sentence_45

In this phase it is key to keep planning ahead of the daily shoot. Filmmaking_sentence_46

The primary aim is to stick to the budget and schedule, this requires constant vigilance. Filmmaking_sentence_47

More crew will be recruited at this stage, such as the property master, script supervisor, assistant directors, stills photographer, picture editor, and sound editors. Filmmaking_sentence_48

These are just the most common roles in filmmaking; the production office will be free to create any unique blend of roles to suit the various responsibilities possible during the production of a film. Filmmaking_sentence_49

Communication is key between the location, set, office, production company, distributors and all other parties involved. Filmmaking_sentence_50

A typical day shooting begins with the crew arriving on the set/location by their call time. Filmmaking_sentence_51

Actors usually have their own separate call times. Filmmaking_sentence_52

Since set construction, dressing and lighting can take many hours or even days, they are often set up in advance. Filmmaking_sentence_53

The grip, electric and production design crews are typically a step ahead of the camera and sound departments: for efficiency's sake, while a scene is being filmed, they are already preparing the next one. Filmmaking_sentence_54

While the crew prepares their equipment, the actors do their costumes and attend the hair and make-up departments. Filmmaking_sentence_55

The actors rehearse the script and blocking with the director, and the camera and sound crews rehearse with them and make final tweaks. Filmmaking_sentence_56

Finally, the action is shot in as many takes as the director wishes. Filmmaking_sentence_57

Most American productions follow a specific procedure: Filmmaking_sentence_58

The assistant director (AD) calls "picture is up!" Filmmaking_sentence_59

to inform everyone that a take is about to be recorded, and then "quiet, everyone!" Filmmaking_sentence_60

Once everyone is ready to shoot, the AD calls "roll sound" (if the take involves sound), and the production sound mixer will start their equipment, record a verbal slate of the take's information, and announce "sound speed", or just "speed", when they are ready. Filmmaking_sentence_61

The AD follows with "roll camera", answered by "speed!" Filmmaking_sentence_62

by the camera operator once the camera is recording. Filmmaking_sentence_63

The clapper, who is already in front of the camera with the clapperboard, calls "marker!" Filmmaking_sentence_64

and slaps it shut. Filmmaking_sentence_65

If the take involves extras or background action, the AD will cue them ("action background! Filmmaking_sentence_66

"), and last is the director, telling the actors "action!". Filmmaking_sentence_67

The AD may echo "action" louder on large sets. Filmmaking_sentence_68

A take is over when the director calls "Cut!" Filmmaking_sentence_69

and the camera and sound stop recording. Filmmaking_sentence_70

The script supervisor will note any continuity issues, and the sound and camera teams log technical notes for the take on their respective report sheets. Filmmaking_sentence_71

If the director decides additional takes are required, the whole process repeats. Filmmaking_sentence_72

Once satisfied, the crew moves on to the next camera angle or "setup," until the whole scene is "covered." Filmmaking_sentence_73

When shooting is finished for the scene, the assistant director declares a "wrap" or "moving on," and the crew will "strike," or dismantle, the set for that scene. Filmmaking_sentence_74

At the end of the day, the director approves the next day's shooting schedule and a daily progress report is sent to the production office. Filmmaking_sentence_75

This includes the report sheets from continuity, sound, and camera teams. Filmmaking_sentence_76

Call sheets are distributed to the cast and crew to tell them when and where to turn up the next shooting day. Filmmaking_sentence_77

Later on, the director, producer, other department heads, and, sometimes, the cast, may gather to watch that day or yesterday's footage, called dailies, and review their work. Filmmaking_sentence_78

With workdays often lasting 14 or 18 hours in remote locations, film production tends to create a team spirit. Filmmaking_sentence_79

When the entire film is "in the can", or in the completion of the production phase, it is customary for the production office to arrange a wrap party, to thank all the cast and crew for their efforts. Filmmaking_sentence_80

For the production phase on live-action films, synchronizing work schedules of key cast and crew members is very important, since for many scenes, several cast members and most of the crew, must be physically present at the same place at the same time (and bankable stars may need to rush from one project to another). Filmmaking_sentence_81

Animated films have different workflow at the production phase, in that voice actors can record their takes in the recording studio at different times and may not see one another until the film's premiere, while most physical live-action tasks are either unnecessary or are simulated by various types of animators. Filmmaking_sentence_82

Post-production Filmmaking_section_4

Main article: Post-production Filmmaking_sentence_83

This stage starts when principal film production ends, but they may overlap. Filmmaking_sentence_84

The bulk of post-production consists of reviewing the footage and assembling the movie and taking it to the next step that is editing. Filmmaking_sentence_85

Here the video/film is assembled by the film editor. Filmmaking_sentence_86

The shot film material is edited. Filmmaking_sentence_87

The production sound (dialogue) is also edited; music tracks and songs are composed and recorded if a film is sought to have a score; sound effects are designed and recorded. Filmmaking_sentence_88

Any computer-graphic visual effects are digitally added by an artist. Filmmaking_sentence_89

Finally, all sound elements are mixed into "stems", which are then married to picture, and the film is fully completed ("locked"). Filmmaking_sentence_90

Distribution Filmmaking_section_5

Main articles: Film distribution and Film promotion Filmmaking_sentence_91

This is the final stage, where the film is released to cinemas or, occasionally, directly to consumer media (VHS, VCD, DVD, Blu-ray) or direct download from a digital media provider. Filmmaking_sentence_92

The film is duplicated as required (either onto film or hard disk drives) and distributed to cinemas for exhibition (screening). Filmmaking_sentence_93

Press kits, posters, and other advertising materials are published, and the film is advertised and promoted. Filmmaking_sentence_94

A B-roll clip may be released to the press based on raw footage shot for a "making of" documentary, which may include making-of clips as well as on-set interviews. Filmmaking_sentence_95

Film distributors usually release a film with a launch party, a red-carpet premiere, press releases, interviews with the press, press preview screenings, and film festival screenings. Filmmaking_sentence_96

Most films are also promoted with their own special website separate from those of the production company or distributor. Filmmaking_sentence_97

For major films, key personnel are often contractually required to participate in promotional tours in which they appear at premieres and festivals and sit for interviews with many TV, print, and online journalists. Filmmaking_sentence_98

The largest productions may require more than one promotional tour, in order to rejuvenate audience demand at each release window. Filmmaking_sentence_99

Since the advent of home video in the early 1980s, most major films have followed a pattern of having several distinct release windows. Filmmaking_sentence_100

A film may first be released to a few select cinemas, or if it tests well enough, may go directly into wide release. Filmmaking_sentence_101

Next, it is released, normally at different times several weeks (or months) apart, into different market segments like rental, retail, pay-per-view, in-flight entertainment, cable, satellite, or free-to-air broadcast television. Filmmaking_sentence_102

The distribution rights for the film are also usually sold for worldwide distribution. Filmmaking_sentence_103

The distributor and the production company share profits and manage losses. Filmmaking_sentence_104

Independent filmmaking Filmmaking_section_6

Main article: Independent film Filmmaking_sentence_105

Filmmaking also takes place outside of the mainstream and is commonly called independent filmmaking. Filmmaking_sentence_106

Since the introduction of DV technology, the means of production have become more democratized and economically viable. Filmmaking_sentence_107

Filmmakers can conceivably shoot and edit a film, create and edit the sound and music, and mix the final cut on a home computer. Filmmaking_sentence_108

However, while the means of production may be democratized, financing, traditional distribution, and marketing remain difficult to accomplish outside the traditional system. Filmmaking_sentence_109

In the past, most independent filmmakers have relied on film festivals (such as Sundance, Venice, Cannes, and Toronto film festivals) to get their films noticed and sold for distribution and production. Filmmaking_sentence_110

However, the Internet has allowed for the relatively inexpensive distribution of independent films on websites such as YouTube. Filmmaking_sentence_111

As a result, several companies have emerged to assist filmmakers in getting independent movies seen and sold via mainstream internet marketplaces, often adjacent to popular Hollywood titles. Filmmaking_sentence_112

With internet movie distribution, independent filmmakers who choose to forgo a traditional distribution deal now have the ability to reach global audiences. Filmmaking_sentence_113

See also Filmmaking_section_7

Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: