The 7 stages of film making (development, pre-production, production, photography, wrap, post-production, distribution)

After witnessing a great movie, very few people sit back and think about all the effort that goes into the making of the film. They may look up the budget of the movie and how much the actors were paid, but no one can truly understand the process of making a film, without going through it themselves.

Film production consists of 7 stages from conception to circulation. From devising the concept of the film, finding funds, cast and crew hiring, editing, marketing the film, to ultimately distributing it, listed below are the stages that we go through while making a film.


1. Development
This stage mainly consists of planning and conceptualising a script, based off a book, another movie, a true story, or can even be an original concept. After approval, the director works with the writers to come up with a step-by-step outline of the progression of the film.


2. Pre-Production
In this phase, the key objective is to narrow down options and plan the development of the movie in terms of film cast, film crew, and budget. A line manager or production manager is usually hired during this process to create a schedule and manage the budget for the film. Pre-production also includes figuring out the shoot location.


3. Production
The production stage is when the actual practical film production work begins. The primary aim is to stick to the budget and schedule, which requires constant attentiveness. The film director works with the cast and crew to ensure that everything goes as planned. Communication is key between all the involved parties.


4. Photography
Photography is essentially the most expensive phase in film production. This is because of the salaries owed to the actor, director and set crew, as well as the costs of certain shots, props and special effects, if needed. All the previous stages have been set to ensure the smooth transition of photography. This is where the camera rolls, so it is important for the film director to follow the schedule and remain within the budget.


5. Wrap
The period immediately after the shooting ends, when all the cameras are turned off. During this stage, everything gets disassembled and the set is cleared of the cast and crew. All equipment and props must be returned in a functioning order, to the suppliers and there must be an inventory list.


6. Post-Production
In most cases, this stage will overlap the stage of photography but not always. A rough cut of the film is drafted, and the film director will begin reviewing and editing the footage as he coordinates additions which may be required from visual effects, music and sound design.


7. Distribution
Distribution is the final stage of the production process. The film must be distributed for the producers to make their money back. It is the work of these producers to strike a lucrative deal for distribution amongst the cinemas and other platforms such as Amazon Prime, Netflix, HBO etc. It is also important to secure the correct deals because they will determine the film’s reach and rake in the right amount of money to ensure the return on investment.

While viewing a film in the cinemas or other streaming platforms, we overlook the effort and manpower that has gone into the making; from the initial stages of development, to the conclusive stages of distribution. Whistling Woods International is here to give you a more in-depth perspective of the skills required via their online eLearning platform- Virtual Academy. Come learn all about filmmaking, by clicking here.