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Behind the Scenes: How a Movie is Made

Holly Bissonnette| February 13, 2015

Being one of the millions of people who love to watch movies, you may have asked yourself this question, How is a movie really created? Movies can be funny, romantic, inspiring, sad, imaginative, and so much more of them out there. You have to admit, there are a number of great movies to watch, but do you have any idea how these are made? Read on, and a process will be revealed.

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There are exactly five parts that can briefly define movie creation. As you go through each one of them, you will have a clear view on how your favorite film has come to life.

I. Development

Most people in the film industry call it the ‘development hell’. It’s the stage where all the fuzz, unknown things, and sometimes, the painful endless period in making a movie combine. In short, this is where the movie making process actually begins.

As you mark this period, you will slowly discover the various activities that sequenced in order (and sometimes, not) in creating the movie.

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In completing this part of the process, all you need are just two things:

1. Concept

No matter the size of the production, whether it’s a big movie you are about to make or a simple YouTube video production, concept is the most vital thing. Without the idea of what the movie is going to be like, no film production is going to happen.

2. Script / Storyboard

Following the creation of the concept or idea, you can now move to this step. Keep in mind that anyone can create the concept. It could be the writer, director, or even you. The key is to have an idea of what the movie is.

Again, the moment you have it, you are now ready to write the script and create the storyboard. Script contains the lines of every character in the movie. Meanwhile, storyboard contains the pictures of every scene in the movie.

Take note: Start writing your story before creating the storyboard. The storyboard will tell everything about the story – from where your characters will be standing to where the sun rises (proper lighting) will be placed on the board.

Once the document, also known as the ‘screenplay‘ is ready, you can now present it to the studio. The studio is a team of people including the producer and director who will decide whether or not, a movie will be created.

This is where you will pitch and start proving to them whether or not a movie is worth producing for. Directors and most of all, the producers will take all the responsibility of creating the movie.

Normally, you can present a summary or simply a plot of what the storyline is going to be, to the producer. Producers are responsible for coordinating the aspects of the entire movie such as the budget and the schedules. In addition, these people plan out the project and how it is supposed to be made.

From here, producers will start hiring for a director. Directors bring the script to life on camera. His job is to identify the themes and different emotions, or anything that would convey the audience or viewers.

In order to realize this activity, he will have to assemble a group of people. Otherwise, he will have to work on all the responsibilities of creating the film and making it come to life. (That would be impossible.)

Gather these people and assemble a team to complete the movie production:

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  • Costume designers
  • Makeup artists
  • Special effects crew
  • Set designers or location scouts
  • Stuntman (if needed)
  • Cameramen
  • Cinematographers
  • And most of all, the Actors (without them, no film will ever exist)

II. Pre-Production

Remember to begin this stage ONLY when you have gone through the ordeal of the Development Hell. Otherwise, you will have to go back to the part where you need to ensure you have the green light in creating a worthy movie production.

Casting and Location

During this time, the money should be in the bank and ready to be spent. Remember, pre-production involves a lot of activities. This is the stage where casting directors will start looking for good actors to match the director’s specifications. Even with the number of potential actors trying to audition, keep in mind that the final decision lies in the director.

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Although it may take time, not to mention, it’s going to be a dainty task looking for actors, casting directors know exactly their job. There are times where the hired actors do not have any experience, a casting director’s job is to develop the actor’s skill and talent. They are quick to find the perfect actor to portray the role.

Remember that actors can be considered as the lifeblood of the movie. As a matter of fact, without them, there wouldn’t be any motion. Meanwhile, without the location, actors will have no place to act. Together they complete the overall mood of the entire movie production.

You have to admit, looking for the right location to bring your movie become more realistic is a real pain, yet exciting at the same time.  For instance, Los Angeles can be a place where finding locations is a nightmare. However, it’s also a good place to find a good location. You can imagine looking for a spacious office worth less than $10,000 a day renting it.

Getting a good deal is crucial. In other words, you have to know how to find the best deal of those fancy locations you need for your movie.

Just as casting directors, location scouts work precisely what their job title is. They tend to go out along with the director’s specifications, and find options and candidates for it.

III. Production

You may have gone through the stress of the Development Hell and the Pre-production; this stage will just have to be more exciting than you could imagine. Don’t give up just yet. You are on your way to the finish line.

It’s all about looking at stress in a positive way. Prepare to have a combination of adrenaline and excitement, with a dash of creative bliss when you go through the production stage.

During this period, after you have gathered the team including the actors, you are ready to shoot or film the video. Other than just shooting the movie, you will have to prepare the set.

What’s in the set?

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  • Principal Photography

Each day in the movie production normally begins with a call time. Crews and everyone in the set must report to the location on the schedule. It would be wise to have everyone in the set and think about the details of the shots.

  • Lights

You may think the lights are just a minor tool in producing a movie, think again. Every detail in the production matters and is important. Even the lights add taste to the film.

  • Camera

No movie will ever exist without the camera. It’s one of the most vital tools in the movie production. Some producers would invest in getting good quality cameras only to have the best picture.

  • Film Stock

Consider this your bullets to your rifle. The film stock will be loaded to your camera. As you start shooting the film, each film will be filled with pictures and scenes creating the entire movie.

The moment cameras begin to roll; pictures will be produced. Did you know that cameras can capture 24 pictures in every second? This simply means that whenever you watch your favorite movie, what you are exactly seeing are the series of still photographs, very quickly, one after another.

  • Boom Operator

This is crucial when you want to record the sound of the scene. Sound is important. He will be responsible of holding the long microphone to capture the sound while shooting the film.

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IV. Post Production

Now, this is where most challenges come in. You will have to deal with the visual effects, editing, color correction and the final cut.

Movie production is no joke. Whether you’re producing a short clip or a blockbuster film, you have to be serious about it. Think about refining a diamond where it goes through a series of process before it becomes the diamond every woman loves.

This simply means, post production is where you will have to refine the product and come up with the best and sparkling gem you can ever imagine. There are several methods you need to take before showing the film to your audience.

Edit

Believe it or not, this is the longest part in creating a movie. It is a tedious task. In fact, it would take an hour and a half to edit a minute and half minutes of footage. Now, you do the math. Movie editors must have the skills and talent to go through every scene and polish it.

Thanks to the evolution of technology, polishing or editing the movie will be more convenient with the software and other tools available. But then again, it would take a lot of patience to go through this process.

Effects

Keep in mind that there are two types of effects. Once you get to know each one of them, you will realize and be amazed that creating a movie is indeed a tough project.

1. Visual

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You may have recognized those movies that have extreme scenes. Visual effects refer to anything you can’t do on camera and on the set. Skilled editors know how to create effects that would make the scene or the entire movie more realistic.

2. Practical

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fxguide.com

On the other hand, practical effects refer to the things you can physically see in the set. Say when a scene requires having an explosion, practical effects comes in.

Color Correction

While every method can create a more realistic effect, color correction will edit the camera’s raw data. You have to admit, no matter how good the camera is, there are times when the colors in the picture seem odd and bizarre.

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Final Cut

Consider this the last editing process. All the finishing touches will have to be taken care during this stage. Just as the diamond, the final cut is polishing the entire movie productions. Wherewith, things that are not needed, will be removed.

Once everything is ready, the movie will have to be approved by the company or the studio in order to keep it unaltered. The film should be ready to be distributed all over the world.

V. Movie Distribution

Simply put a finished product is ready to be displayed in the market so people can buy it. Think about the movie that is ready for distribution. It should be all set for printing on the film strips and to be shipped, not just across the country, but around the globe.

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en.wikipedia.org

Lastly, this is the part where you will have to sit back and relax, not to mention, enjoy the show as the movie will be shown in theaters.

So, how do you find the process of creating and producing a film? Now that you have a clear overview of what is going on behind the scenes, let your skill and talent be exposed. Creating a movie, whether independent or with a company can be tough, yet exciting at the same time. However, if you have what it takes to create a movie, then go for it. Else, why not just be a part of one.

 

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