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The Phases of Filmmaking


There are three parts to making a film. When someone says a movie has begun to be made, they don’t mean the actual filming but, rather, what is called "pre-production".


Pre-production work includes scouting for locations, scouting for studios to film in, casting, getting a crew together, and deciding on the costumes and props to be used for the film. It also includes starting the fund-raising to make the film.


The next phase is "production". This includes making a B-Roll for the film. B-Roll includes filming aesthetically appropriate scenery and "POV" filming. POV stands for "point of view". In a movie, a person may look at a doorknob before they open a door. The POV shot is the shot of the doorknob. Other types of B-Roll may include stock footage purchased from film companies. For example, in the movie "Wall Street 2", there is B-Roll of a train. The same B-Roll of that train is also used in the film "The Bourne Identity", but it was shaded blue instead of red in post-production because it was being used as a Prague train rather than as a Zurich train.


After the B-Roll is shot and acquired, a film must complete its green screen shots. These are on-location shots filmed without actors. For example, a wall in a courtyard may be shot on location, then brought back to a studio where an actor will stand in front of a green screen and do his or her acting, so that the technicians in post-production can then take that courtyard footage and put it behind and around the actor so it looks like he was on location for that shot.



During production, many things can happen. Scripts have been re-written, actors have been fired on-set and new ones hired, and whole scenes have been re-shot. The classic example of this can be seen in the 1959 film "Ben-Hur". A now-very-famous scene called for the stunt double for the character of Messala to ride a chariot. There was an accident while the actual scene was being filmed that killed the stunt rider. The script was changed to include the character of Messala dying. The entire film took on a life of its own and the storyline became the one fans know and love today. Anything can happen.


The next phase of production is called "principle photography". It is during this phase that the actors go on set and on location and shoot the major action and dialogue scenes of the film- the "meat of the film", as it is often called.


The final phase of a film is "post-production". This phase is where movie magic takes place. A film goes into the expert hands of an editor and extensive cuts and changes are made. This is, in many opinions, the most important part of filmmaking. It is where the art and emotion of the film are designed.


Once the final cut is completed, a film is digitally sent out to the major film festivals and the cast, crew, and producers hope it gets selected and/or screened. By getting selected and/or screened at a film festival, one can be almost certain that distributors will be asking to put their film in theatres domestically and then, perhaps, even worldwide.


Once a film is shown in the domestic theatres and the international theatres, it is then sold on the market through DVD sales, Broadcast Showings, Downloads, and any other way through which distribution channels can reach the public.


A distributor pays for all advertising and publicity of a film. A distributor is usually a secondary, larger, movie company which becomes a partner in a film after it is made and has proven its penchant for success.

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