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Flow Chart of Film Production

The Idea
Sources of Inspiration Films can be based on real life events e.g. Paranormal Activity in the US and Calendar Girls for the UK. Remakes of existing films e.g. King Kong in the US and Oliver Twist for the UK. Adaptations of a book e.g. Harry Potter for the UK and Lord of The Rings for the US. Also original ideas e.g. Green Zone for the US and Hot Fuzz for the UK. Producers Producers are always looking for a good idea for a film. Once they have thought of a good idea then they must make this a reality by taking the project further and then getting it made and released. Director Pitching the Project The producer uses the treatment and pitch plus their powers of persuasion to get money to develop a script. Production Companies The producer approaches film production companies for development money, but they have projects of their own. Sales, Distribution, Broadcast The producer can offer the future sales and broadcast rights to the film in return for money to develop the script. Public Investment The producer can also apply to a public funding body such as the UK film council for a development grant. Private Finance The producer can even pitch the film to private investors, in hope that they will support the project. Tying down the writer The producer can even pitch the film to private investors, in hope that they will support the project.

Development Finances


The director will work with the producer to have the film made. If the director is a well known one then this can help attract a good writer. Chris Columbus for Harry Potter, UK, and Peter Jackson for King Kong, US. Writer In many cases the writer can have an idea for the film and might already hav e a script written. The writer defines and clarifies the idea, the plot and the main characters and turns it into something tangible. Steve Kloves for Harry Potter, UK, and Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh and, Philippa Boyens for King Kong, US. Treatment The writer will then write a treatment, a one page description of the main story and characters of the film. Pitch A pitch contains all the information the producer needs in order to sell the idea to financiers to commission a script.

Financing Script Development
Synopsis The writer will first write a synopsis and then go to the producer and they will agree or disagree on the key events and scenes in the film. Step Outline There are as many ways of writing as there are writers, but most writers create a step outline to plan their script. Drafts Part of the writer s fee is conditional on delivery of the first draft. This can be the hardest part of screenwriting. Revisions Once the writer and producer are happy, the draft is sent to the financers, all of whom will have their own ideas. Final Draft When everyone is happy with the script, it is locked off and becomes a final draft. Then the writer gets paid. Sales Treatment The final stage of the script development process is the creation of a sales treatment. The producer has packaged the film into a viable commercial proposition, now its time to see what people think of it. Once the entire essential funding and insurance is secured, the film gets the green light and the producer will celebrate. Potential investors will want to know how the producer plans to raise the money and how they will pay them back. The complete package Most financers insist that a completion bond is in place before they agree to invest, this is insurance for the production. Green light To turn the film into a proper business proposition, the producer must know how much it will actually cost to make. Finance plan and recoupment schedule There are departments of banks that specialise in film finance. They invest in commercial projects, and also offer loans. Completion bonds Respected, commercially successful heads of department carry considerable clout with knowledgeable financers. Detailed budget and production schedule The producer can also raise money from pre-sales, selling the rights to the film before it has even been made. Banks and gap funding One common way to make the project more commercial is to attach well known stars to the script. The heads of department What is packaging The producer and director must now package the script into a full commercial proposition ready for financing. The cast


The market Financers can be anywhere in the world so the producer must travel to secure any investment deals. Investment Private individuals, production companies and public bodies all invest in films; the producer s lawyer draws up contracts to seal the deals. Pre-sales

The kick-off meeting Once all the heads of department are hired, the shooting script is circulated and pre-production begins in earnest. Casting The casting director, with the director and producer, begins the long process of identifying and casting the actors. Storyboarding Storyboards are the blueprints for the film, where every shot is planned in advance by the director and director of photography. Production design The production designer plans every aspect of how the film will look, and hires people to design and build each part. Special effects planning Effects shots are planned in much more detail than normal shots, and can take months to design and build. The production unit The first assistant director, the line producer, and the production manager make up the key logistic triangle of the production.

The shoot
First day of principal photography This is the key moment in the film production, shooting begins, funding is released, and the producer breaths a huge sigh of relief. Camera The camera department is responsible for getting all the footage that the director and editor need to tell the story. Lighting and sound Once the lighting and sound are set up and hair and makeup have been checked, the shot can begin. Acting In the midst of all the commotion, the actors must create an emotional world and draw the audience into it. Special physical effects Every special effect is carefully constructed and must be filmed with minimum risk of injury to cast and crew. Chain of command Film productions are run with military precision, if they fall behind schedule, the financers and insurers may step in. Rough cut


As the processed footage comes in, the editor assembles it into scenes and creates a narrative sequence for the film. Post-production sound Once the picture is locked, the sound department works on the audio track laying, creating and editing every sound. Digital effects and titles Digital are added by specialist effects compositors, and titles and credits are added in a compositing suite. Grade and colour The final stage of the picture edit is to adjust the colour and to establish the fine aesthetic of the film. Final mix After picture lock, the rough sound mix goes to a dubbing theatre where the sound mixer sets the final levels. Final cut After the final cut the film reaches full lock. It is now finished and ready for duplication. But who gets the final cut?

Marketing Sales
The marketing team Selling the product To help sell the film to the distributors, the producer secures the services of a sales agent, a specialist in film sales. The trailer To help sell the film, a trailer is made to show busy film buyers the most marketable aspects of the film. Sales toolkit The producer and the sales agent collect everything they will need to sell the film to distributors. Taking the film to market The market is saturated with films, so the producer must go to great lengths to attract attention to their product. Screenings A high-profile screening at one of the top film festivals can be great for generating heat around a film. Deals The producer now has a hot product, and can negotiate good deals with distributors around the world. To help sell the film to the distributors, the producer secures the services of a sales agent, a specialist in film sales. The audience Knowing the audience is essential, and the marketing team runs test screenings to see how the film is received. Advertising The potential audience for the film is targeted with posters, cinema trailers, TV spots and other marketing materials. Press and media coverage The premiere


A high-profile, star-studded premiere is used to launch the film to the public with an explosion of media coverage. UK cinemas The UK has more than 3,500 cinema screens, although not all are British owned, or show British films. Prints and logistics Distributors supply the exhibitors with prints of the film. The more screens the film is shown on, the more prints are needed. Box office performance

Television, radio, newspapers and magazines can all help create positive word-of-mouth about the film. The internet and new marketing models The birth of digital media and the internet has flooded the world with information, but also made niche marketing possible. Selling the film to exhibitors

Distributors supply the exhibitors with prints of the film. The more screens the film is shown on, the more prints are needed. Revenues The exhibitors take their share of the box office receipts, after which the distributors recoup their marketing costs. Recoupment

In order to get the film to audiences, the distributor must negotiate a deal with the cinemas to screen it.

Once the distributors have been paid, the financers can recover their investments, as laid out in the recoupment schedule.

Other windows
Hospitality hospitality sales for hotel channels and in-flight entertainment can bring in millions in additional revenue. DVD and video UK audiences spend more on DVD s than on cinema tickets, so success on DVD can compensate for the box office failure. Broadcast Television is the final source of revenue, rights are sold separately for pay-tv showings and terrestrial broadcast. The game of the film Rights for computer game and other product licenses can be extremely lucrative sources of additional revenue. Profit Once the film has made a profit, the producer and key creative people can reap their rewards, or so the theory goes. The end The final income of a film is never known, distribution continues in perpetuity, and it may even be re-releasded in the future.