Development Stage of Film making -
October 18th, 2010
This is the stage where an idea is fleshed out into a viable script. The producer of the movie will find a story, which may be from books, other films, true stories, original ideas, etc. Once the theme, or underlying message, has been identified, a synopsis will be prepared.
This is followed by a step outline, which breaks the story down into one-paragraph scenes, concentrating on the dramatic structure. Next, a treatment is prepared. This is a 25 to 30 page description of the story, its mood and characters, with little dialog and stage direction, often containing drawings to help visualize the key points.
The screenplay is then written over a period of perhaps six months, and will be rewritten several times to improve the dramatization, clarity, structure, characters, dialog, and overall style. However, producers often skip the previous steps and develop submitted screenplays which are assessed through a process called script coverage.
A film distributor should be contacted at an early stage to assess the likely market and hence financial success of the film. Hollywood distributors will adopt a hard-headed business approach and consider factors such as: the film genre, the target audience, the historical success of similar films, the actors who might appear in the film and the potential directors of the film.
All these factors imply a certain attraction of the film to a possible audience and hence the number of "bums on seats" during the theatrical release. Films rarely make a profit from the theatrical release alone, therefore DVD sales and worldwide distribution rights need to be taken into account.
The movie pitch is then prepared and presented to potential film financiers. If the pitch is successful and the movie is given the "green light" then financial backing is offered, typically from a major film studio, film council or independent investors. A deal is negotiated and contracts are signed.