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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.

Post Production

Post Production is also a reasonably familiar term for most. However, Post Production is not limited to editing. Editing is only the first step in the post production process. Sound design and music are critical to the success of the movie and is, in some ways, more important than the image. Color correction, visual effects and titling are all essential elements as well and easily within reach of the independent producer.


This is the only part that really matters. This is where we actually get our projects in front of an audience. If you are a professional, there is where you make all of your money. If you are doing this for self-realization or to have an impact on people, there is where you are going to do it.

This is the most rewarding phase of the process but also the most difficult for many. It can be hard to put your work in front of others without knowing how they will react. It is difficult trying to get attention in a media overloaded world. It is not impossible and those that do get their works out there reap the rewards.

Please note the proportionally adjusted timeline. Production that this is the shortest phase of the project cycle in terms of time spent. A four week feature shoot might take two years in development, two months in pre-production, eight weeks in post production and three years in distribution. Also note that Production, where we will need the camera, is the third phase. Your project will be fully developed with significant momentum by the time a camera is needed.

Another item of interest regarding the timeline is that the first and fifth phases, Development and Distribution, have traditionally been the business phases of the process. Most moviemakers tend to develop skills in the creative center – Pre-Production, Production and Post Production. Amateur filmmakers without any formalized training tend to jump straight into production and then, one way or another, make it through some kind of post production. As moviemakers progress in skill and experience and tackle more ambitious projects, they invest more and more time and energy into pre-production. This yields a significantly higher quality end product.

Professional moviemakers are the ones that master development and distribution. If you cannot find an audience for your project in distribution, you will not be able to earn any money from your work. If you cannot find distribution for your project, you will not be able to fund it in development. If you cannot fund the project in development, you cannot gather the resources together to make it out of 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.