Sunday, 15 September 2013

The Business - Film Making

Scene 1, the Idea –
Inspiration is all around us. It can be found in newspapers, books, plays, films and even in a normal conversation. Films which are based on real life events such as ‘calendar girls’ show that they can capture the imaginations of audiences. Film makers are always on the lookout for true stories which can be filmed. Ideas for films can also come from adaptations as well as completely new and original ideas. Most adaptations come from successful books and so make successful films, as the book has already generated lots of publicity it can virtually guarantee that the film will make a return on the investment. Many great films can also come from original ideas; these can sometimes be the most valuable in the film business. A moment of inspiration may come from a chance conversation or even a dream. However, protecting these ideas are crucial. Most producers often take out omissions insurance which help cover them if sued for e.g. copyright etc.
The person who makes the idea into reality is the producer. The producer needs to be sure that the idea will be a hit on the big screen and will make money. After they have identified that the idea will sell, they develop the project by getting it made and released. To make the film creative and look good on the big screen a director is needed. The director and producer work together to develop the idea further, if the director is well known, audiences re likely to flock and watch the film. The producer then needs to get a writer on board; the writer defines each idea, the plot and the characters. The producer, director and writer are the 3 most creative in the film business. The writer then writes a treatment, this is a one page description of the main story and the characters of the film.  The idea then has to be pitched to financiers in order to make a script.
Examples -
UK: Harry Potter book series, remade into a film franchise.
US: Batman, originally a comic book character, remade into a number of blockbuster films.

Scene 2, Development Finance –
First, a producer approaches a film production company for the development money. The producer can offer sales and broadcaster rights to the film in return for money, and then they can develop the script further. The producer can also apply for further funding from a UK film council; the film council will usually give the producer a development grant.
Examples –
UK: The Lord of the Rings, British book remade into a film trilogy.
US: Spider-man, a comic book character remade into a number of films. 

Scene 3, Script Development –
The writer creates a synopsis. This includes choosing where or not to include key scenes and events. After this stage, many writers create a step by step outline of the script. The writer pays the delivery of the script to the producer. If the producers are happy with the drafted script which has been produced it is sent to the financiers who may add their own ideas to the script. Once everybody is happy with it, the script is ‘locked off’ and so it becomes ‘unchangeable,’ the writer is then paid. The final stage of the script development is the process of the sales treatment.
Examples –
UK: Skyfall, British made Jams Bond film.
US: Pacific Rim, American sci-fi film. 

Scene 4, Packaging –
The Producer and the director must now package the script into a proposition in reading for budgets and financing. The most popular way to make the project more commercialised is to include well- known actors (A list stars) in the film, then, successful heads of departments carry out deals with financiers. The film must then be broken down appropriately for a business proposition; the producers will want to know the cost of how much the film is. Investors always want to know how the producer plans to raise the money; this will then allow the producer to plan how to pay the investors back. The producer then ‘packages’ the film into a visible proposition. They will now need to find out the views of others.
Examples –
UK: The Hobbit, British film, adaptation of R.J.Tolken’s novel.
US: The avengers, originally a group of comic book characters, remade or adapted into a blockbuster film. 

Scene 5, Financing –
Financiers can be found anywhere on the planet and the producer must travel anywhere to ensure the film has an investment. Private individuals, production companies and public bodies invest in the film, the producer’s lawyer must create contracts to complete the deal. The producer can then raise money by creating ‘pre-sales’ selling the rights to films before I has even been made. Departments of banks that specialise in the film industry can offer loans or invest in the project although most investors insist that completion bond is in place as insurance from the production. Once all the funding is in place the film can get the ‘green light.’
Examples –
UK: Slum-dog Millionaire, British film, directed by Englishman Danny Boyle.
US: E.T, American film, directed by Steven Spielberg. 

Scene 6, Pre Production-
Once all the heads of departments are hired, the shooting script is sent round and pre-production begins. The casting director and producer identifies and casts the actors. Next, storyboards are created, they show where every shot of the film is planned in advance with the director. The production designer plans all aspects of how the film will be set, professionals are then hired to create each part, however, effects shots are planned months before normal shots because they take a longer amount of time to create. The first AD, the line producer and the production manager make up the key logistic triangle of production.
Examples -
UK: Trainspotting.
US: Titanic.

Scene 7, the shoot –
The first day of principle photography is the key moment in production, shooting begins and funding is released. The camera department must ensure that all the footage is shown  so that the director and editor can tell the story properly. Once the hair and make-up has been checked and sound and lighting is in place, shooting can begin. During filming actors must create an atmosphere and draw the audience in. Special effects must be filmed carefully in case of any film injuries, film productions are run precisely if they fall behind schedule financiers and insures step ins.
Examples –
UK: Shaun of the dead, British comedy adaptation of ‘dawn of the dead’
US: Iron man, adaptation of the famous comic book character.

 Scene 8, Post Production –
As the footage begins to take place the editor assembles it into a narrative scene, once the picture is locked and no changes can be made, the sound department works on the audio track and edits the sound. Digital effects are added by effects and titles are added in a composing suite, the final stage of the picture edit is to adjust colour and make the film interesting for the viewers. After the final film is complete it reaches the ‘full lock’ stage, now it is ready for duplication.
Examples –
UK: The Kings Speech
US: Star Wars

Scene 9, Sales –
To ensure that the producer’s film can be sold to distributors, the producer secures a sales agent that specialised in film sales. To help the film sell, a trailer is made, this will show the films target audience a ‘sneak peak’ of the film.  The producer and the sales agent gather together the key details in order to sell the film. The producer must make sure that the film is interesting and unique so it will attract the attention for the product. Screenings at top film festivals can also be a good way to create an atmosphere and allow viewers to see the stars and become attached to the film. If the film gets a good response the producer can negotiate a deal with the distributors around the world.
Examples –
UK: Les Miserables, British film, adaptation of the famous play.
US: The Wolverine, adaptation of the comic book character. 

Scene 10, Marketing –
To help make sure that the film sells to distributors, the producer secures the services of a sales agent who specialises in films. The film is then shown at screenings to see the audience’s response. The audiences are targeted by potters and other films in addition to promoting the film television and radio can help create and positive word of mouth about the film. Digital media enables the audience to discover details about the film and also ensures that the film is marketed well. Distributors will negotiate a deal with the cinemas to screen it.
Examples -
UK: Alien
US: Star Trek, into the darkness. Adaptation of the TV series.

Scene 11, Exhibition –
A premiere is uses to launch the film, covered by the media. Distributors supply exhibitors with prints of the film. The more screens, the more prints are needed. Exhibitors take their share of the box office receipts; distributors’ will recoup their marketing costs, and once they have been paid financiers can recover their investments. Also, hospitality sales can bring in millions of extra revenue. People spend money on DVD’s, cinema tickets as well as television, which brings in additional revenue as the rights are sold separately. Rights to computer games and other product licenses can be other sources of revenue. Once the film has made a profit people can be rewarded. The final stage is unknown, as distribution continues.  
Examples -
UK: Alan partridge, alpha papa. Adaptation of the original TV series.
US: The Lone ranger

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