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The seven stages of film production

There are several stages that every film goes through to reach the screen. We'll give you an overview of each stage from development to delivery.
© Production Guild of Great Britain
Now we’ve looked at the money involved in filmmaking, its time to take a more detailed look at the stages a film goes through. Below are the seven key stages in getting a film from an initial idea through to watching it on the big screen.

1. Development

The start of a project varies, but generally will begin with development of a script, be that an existing script, a book, a brief story outline. Development may also start with a Director and/or Writer pitching an idea to a Producer.

2. Pre-Production

This is the phase where you would narrow down the options of the production. It is where all the planning takes place before the camera rolls and sets the overall vision of the project. Pre-production also includes working out the shoot location and casting. The Producer will now hire a Line Manager or Production Manager to create the schedule and budget for the film.

3. Production

During this phase it is key to keep planning ahead of the daily shoot. The primary aim is to stick to the budget and schedule, this requires constant vigilance. Communication is key between location, set, office, production company, distributors – in short, all parties involved

4. Principal Photography

This is when the camera rolls. It is nearly always the most expensive phase of film production, due to actor, director, and set crew salaries, as well as the costs of certain shots, props, and on-set special effects. Everything that has happened up to this point is to make principal photography go as smoothly and efficiently as possible. Communication between all parties is crucial during the shoot and the production must maintain a full set of records and strive to remain on time and on budget.

5. Wrap

The period immediately after shooting ends. It is when we strike (dismantle) the set and clear the location. Everything must be returned in good order to suppliers and there must be a full set of records of the shoot.

6. Post-Production

This stage starts when principal photography ends, but they may overlap. The bulk of post-production consists of reviewing the footage and assembling the movie – editing. There will be contributions as required from Visual Effects (VFX), Music and Sound Design. The picture will now be locked and delivery elements will be created. Further information on Post Production can be found later on in Week 1 of the course.

7. Distribution

Once the film is completed, it must be distributed. This is how producers make their money back and a considerable amount of time and energy will be invested to secure the right distribution deals for their projects. The film will go into the cinema and/or be distributed via various platforms such as Amazon Prime, Netflix, and HBO etc.
© Production Guild of Great Britain
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Film Production: Behind the Scenes of Feature Filmmaking

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