First, someone has to come up with the idea for the film.

Producer is the key figure in pre-production. He makes sure everything is there to make a film a reality. Financing is one of the most crucial parts. A studio might provide financing, in exchange for the movie been released through their studio. Sometimes funding comes from multiple sources.

Once the idea is there, the screenwriter writes the script, names the characters, adds action, and thinks of locations.

Director is invited at some point in the pre-production stage.

In some cases, one person is doing all three things. Such person is called Producer-writer-director.

Casting is than done, where matching actors are selected to make sure the movie can be carried out as envisioned. Famous actors usually get biggest roles. Sometimes they are attached to the film at the time of script writing, but casting always needs to be done for smaller roles.

Than location scouting is done. Sometimes decisions are made that set designs will be necessary to be built at a location. Some studios have a "backyard" where sets can be constructed artificially, when a perfect location cannot be found or is not feasible.

Script revisions may be made throughout the entire pre-production stage. Some minor changes may be done even during production phase.


Some shooting is done in sound-stages, where there is plenty of room to build sets of various sizes, arrange lights, maneuvering the camera equipment.

Key figure in production stage is the cinematographer, the person in charge of everything related to the camera, loading, maintenance, lighting. 

A lot of films are recorded on film rolls. But more and more films are recorded digitally.

Quite a bit of sound recording goes on at this stage, mainly involving dialogue between actors.

Blocking needs to be done - deciding where actors will need to be placed. The concept of blocking is taken from the stage acting world. And it is important in planning films too.

Physical special effects and stunts are done. There is a special category of people who do most of these stunts, called stuntmen.

One of the main decisions a director makes is deciding where the camera will be placed. Part of that is deciding how to compose the shot, where in the frame to place actors and background. Director also decides when a shot is good enough to move on to the next shot. Director's job is also about guiding the actors how to read their lines, and helping them understand their characters.


Post-production involves things that take place after filming is done.

Editor is a crucial figure in this phase. He decides which takes will be used, under supervision of the director. There is typically 10 to 20 times more footage than what the film will have in the end product. Editor is the guy who has the power to either save the film or ruin it. Some great editors can fix mistakes done during filming, to the point where the audience wouldn't even notice. On the other hand, a bad editor can ruin all the hard work of filming, if they can't make the transitions happen right.

Most sound recording is done in post-production phase. That involves sound effects, orchestra, and mixing of dialogue. Some lines of dialogue are often re-recorded at this stage, if they where not recorded properly during production. When this is done, the newly recorded audio needs to be synced with lip movements.

If in pre-production, the editor and sound designer plan how sound is going to be made, in post-production, they apply those plans.

CGI - Computer Generated Imagery is added, sometimes adding new special visual effects, sometimes modifying the live recording by adding effects to it.

Than advertising materials are designed and made for use in theaters and elsewhere. Creating preview trailers and TV spots are done. Previews will be used in existing movies to raise interest in the future movie.

Interviews with producers and famous actors are done to raise buzz about the movie.


This used to be physical distribution of disks. Nowadays, more distribution involves digital transfer of files through internet or satellite. Those movies are shown on digital screens.


Audiences pay their fees to actually watch the movie. Where, how, and when the movie will be shown is decided. Theater locations are selected, that are close to target audience for the movie. Best time of day to show the movie is decided. How long the movie is shown in theaters is determined.

Once the film is believed to have had its time at the theaters, Post-theatrical distribution is done for additional revenue. DVDs, NetFlix and paid subscription services, and TV are the channels used to gain additional revenue from the movie.



"ENGL 225 Film Production Process", Published on Jan 15, 2012,

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