The Process of Making a Movie

  1. The Process by which Films are Funded

In order to produce a film, there must be large funds readily available to start the production process. The amount that a movie will cost, depends mainly on the size of the production, and what is going into the process of making it. A movie with  A-List celebrities, animation and special effects can dramatically effect the budget price.

Films are funded in several different ways:

  •  “When people go see a movie in theaters, rent it when it’s available for home viewing, buy the DVD or purchase the soundtrack, the studio responsible gets a percentage of the proceeds” (Jessika Toothman).
  • There are also contracts that are made for different television networks and pay-per-view stations.
  • Merchandising and licensing contracts
  • Box office sales
  • Loans

Funding a project as large as a movie takes a lot of time and consideration when a budget is being laid out. Every detail must be thoroughly thought through, and accounted for in the plan. Some movie budgets have gotten to upward costs of 425 Million dollars!>>

2. The Process of Producing a Film

Producing a film is a very difficult task, which calls for much planning and work. Films are produced in a step by step process.

  • The focal point of this process is the idea. Some ideas are original while some have some inspiration behind them.
  • Once the idea is in place, the next step is to create a script. This is one of the most important aspects of the production because it tells the whole story of the film.
  • Once the script is edited, approved and complete, the next step is the storyboard. This is where the words are translated into actions and pictures.
  • After the story is laid out, Casting begins. This is another important aspect because the actors must portray a certain type of character that is playing in the movie.
  • The next step is to configure the sound which creates the entire ambiance of the scenes.  This can make or break a film, because sound plays a crucial role in the mood setting of a movie.

3. The Distribution of Film

Film can be distributed to the audience by a film distributer.  The ways in which the films can be distributed include a theatrical release, a home entertainment release, or a television program for broadcast syndication.

Here’s the path a film usually takes to get to your local theater:

  • Someone has an idea for a movie.
  • They create an outline and use it to promote interest in the idea.
  • A studio or independent investor decides to purchase rights to the film.
  • People are brought together to make the film (screenwriter, producer, director, cast, crew).
  • The film is completed and sent to the studio.
  • The studio makes a licensing agreement with a distribution company.
  • The distribution company determines how many copies (prints) of the film to make.
  • The distribution company shows the movie (screening) to prospective buyers representing the theaters.
  • The buyers negotiate with the distribution company on which movies they wish to lease and the terms of the lease agreement.
  • The prints are sent to the theaters a few days before the opening day.
  • The theater shows the movie for a specified number of weeks (engagement).
  • You buy a ticket and watch the movie.
  • At the end of the engagement, the theater sends the print back to the distribution company and makes payment on the lease agreement.

Some of these steps may be combined and, particularly in the case of small independent films, additional steps may be necessary.

4. How much do the Steps in your Process Cost? (Budget)

Budgeting a movie is an extremely tedious task, involving many hours of thought and consideration. Before a movie can even be considered being shot, a detailed plan must be drawn up for how much money will be needed, and exactly what it will be spent on. According to Jon M. Garon, “the budget will be dictated by choices that may change dramatically depending on locations, size and prominence of cast, stunts, and the effects needed both during and after principal photography” (An Overview of the Film Budget).

Budgets are typically divided into four sections:

  • Pre-Production Costs

-Creative Talent: Actors/Actresses/Extras

-Other: Insurance, Completion bond

  • Filming

-Direct Production Costs: Crew Wages/Studio Costs


  • Post Production

-Editing/Visual Effects

  • Promotion




-Newspaper ads, Online ads

According to the article by Dave Roos, “The average production budget of a major studio film in 2007 was $106 million”. It is said that most movies utilize a fifty/fifty method when it comes to their budget. Half the money goes to marketing, or selling the production, and the other half goes into actually making it. The marketing of a movie is the most important step. If people do not hear about your movie, or find the trailers riveting and catching then the movie will most likely fail.

The most expensive movies of the past 20 years have had the biggest special effects budgets: “Avatar” ($425 million), “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” ($250 million), and “Superman Returns” ($232 million) top the list.>

The development of the internet has influenced the way that movies are funded produced and distributed. Most movie trailers, ads and other film advertisements can be found on most major websites such as Facebook, Youtube etc. It is a quick and easy way to spread the word about the film to a mass audience. It can also negatively affect the movie industry because people are about to illegally download movies.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s