Making a movie is a complex enterprise, involving much more than just turning on the lights and letting the cameras roll. There is a tremendous amount of work to be done before a single scene is shot, as well as after the final cut. Regardless of the type of film or the size of the budget or cast, filmmaking proceeds through 5 major stages:

Anyone who’s made film and knows about the cinema has a lifelong love affair with the experience. You never stop learning about film.
—Francis Ford Coppola


Start with an idea

Your concept might come from a book, play, true story, or other source; or you have a theme, message, or information to communicate


Write the script

Flesh out the script based on your idea, or interview and hire a good script writer


Get legal

Obtain the necessary legal clearances to make your movie


Hire a director

The director oversees the creative aspects of the film, so choose someone who can see the full picture


Creative team

This will include the director, producer, writers, director of photography, and other creative professionals and technicians


Make a budget

Every good film needs one


Enlist financial support

Share risk by partnering with co-producers and private investors; pre-selling distribution rights can also offset the cost.


Greenlight project

Ready to go!


Make a schedule

For shooting the film


Draft storyboards

This helps visualize your movie and explain your vision to the other members of the crew


Scout locations

Find a place to film


Define your visual identity

Consider how you want your movie to look and feel through lighting, camera work, and mood


Play dress-up

This will include the director, producer, writers, director of photography, and other creative professionals and technicians


Sets, props, and equipment

Costumes and makeup play an important role in characterization


Music and special effects

Original music or a well-selected soundtrack is often what gives a film its distinctive mood; youa��ll also need to source and record sound effects


Casting call

Choose actors who look the part and are able to do what the scenes require of them


Hire a crew

Besides the creative team and cast, youa��ll also need various technicians to make your production run smoothly


Shoot the film

Ita��s time to shoot your movie! Be sure to capture each scene from multiple angles.


Rough processing

Each day, scenes shot will be roughly processed to see how things are looking


Step by step review

The director and select crew members will review clips each day to make sure things stay on track


It’s a wrap

The filming is over when all scenes have been shot; enjoy the wrap up party, but the movie isna��t done yet


Now for the editing…

Scenes may need to be cut, shortened, or rearranged for the continuity of the narrative


Wired for sound

The final music will need to be synced with the final cut of the film; this is also where sound effects are added and mixed


Add the special sauce

Render any digital special effects or filters during the final processing of the film


Give credit where
credit is due

Create the opening and closing film credits


Marketing day

The film is advertised by various media and marketed to distributors


Give yourself a big promotion

Promote your movie via press interviews, film showings and film festival activities


Movie rights

The film is licensed for viewing, usually first by theatres, then on DVD and online, then for broadcast via free or paid TV