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Five Phases of Filmmaking

Lesson 1
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Lesson 2
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Lesson 3
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Lesson 4
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Lesson 5
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Lesson 6
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Lesson 7
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Lesson 8
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Lesson 9
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Lesson 10
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Contributed By Glen Berry

  1. Five Phase Process
  2. Time Spent in Pre-Production yields Quality
  3. Pros know Development and Distribution.

We will be discussing each phase of this process in greater detail later in this course. Each phase will be broken down into sections and we will discuss different responsibilities and jobs in each step of the process.

A brief overview of each:


Development is the first step. As you can see from the adjusted timeline, it is one of the longest phases of a project and for good reason. Too many times, moviemakers move forward with projects without giving adequate thought to why they are making the project, what they hope to accomplish and how it will actually work. The more time you invest in development, the higher the likelihood will be that you will get the end result you are looking for.

Many projects never make it out of development and for good reason. One should never produce every single concept that pops into their head. Each one merits careful consideration. Is it a fully formed idea? What are the flaws with it? How important is it to you? Will it work as a movie? You should go through this process with each concept before you even begin writing a script.


The more experienced the moviemaker, the more time and energy they will invest in pre-production. This is the preparation phase of the project. Every scene, every shot, every logistical detail is planned out. It is impossible to anticipate everything that might happen, and improvisation will be required in production but the more variables you can eliminate in pre-production, the more creative freedom you will have in production.

It may sound counter intuitive that detailed planning would lead to creative freedom. However, consider this: if you have to deal with unexpected and mundane details during production, it robs you of time and cripples your ability to create. Time is a luxury and you do not want to waste it, especially when you have all those resources and talent gathered together to realize your creative vision. You will make good use of that time if you prepare. You will waste that time on frustrating and avoidable obstacles if you do not. Give yourself the best chance possible by preparing.


Production is fairly self-explanatory and the phase most people are familiar with. It is the execution of carefully crafted plans made in pre-production and designed in development.


  • Moviemaking can be broken down into five distinct phases; development, pre-production, production, post production and distribution.
  • The more time and energy a moviemaker invests in pre-production, the higher quality the end product.
  • The hallmark of a professional moviemaker is their ability to fund their project in development and sell the project in distribution.
A printable PDF document outlining the five phases of production and the tasks involved with each.
Introduction to Fiction Production
An introduction to fiction production, the objectives and focus of the course and the starting point of a project.
Five Phases of Filmmaking
A road map to the entire movie making process.
The Filmmaking Team
Above-the-line and below-the-line job positions and descriptions in Production.
Concept Development
A series of evaluations by the Producer to determine if the script is ready to move into the Production stage of development.