By Jason V Brock
"Making films is not for the squeamish."
It's a daunting task–scheduling, learning how to use the equipment (video cameras, microphones, lights), and promotion. It's an endeavor that consumes many hours just waiting to capture something that may (or may not–sometimes it winds up on the proverbial "cutting room floor") only be a few minutes (even seconds) long.
Broadly speaking, creating a film can be divided into five sections: brainstorming/research; pre-production; actual production; post-production; finally, promotion. The first stage is when the initial budget and the parameters of the project are established. This is essentially a paperbound theoretical exercise, designed to pre-judge the talent needed, the scope, and other capital related considerations. A loose guideline, it will always be changed and altered (even discarded) as the production gets off the ground.
The next phase is pre-production: This is when talent is lined up (either hired, or in the case of documentaries, interviews secured), equipment is purchased, and travel arrangements are made. This is also when the script is decided or finalized.
In the production phase, everything is locked down: This is when the whole thing is finally committed–or good or ill–to some semblance of what the filmmakers hope will be approximately equivalent to the intended end product. It is a time of intense attention to detail, of multiple angles of literal and figurative coverage, of "dotting Is" and "crossing Ts".
In the fourth stage of this process, post-production, the content will be analyzed, and multiple ways of presenting the final creation will be tried in editing. Most crucial here is the presentation (sonically and visually) of the raw data, winnowed down and shaped into an engrossing narrative. This is usually the longest part of the process, and often the most intensely collaborative (though all aspects of filmmaking are collective), especially between the director and the editor.
Once there is a finished film, the process isn't over: Now the "sizzle" of the "steak" is offered to the marketplace. This is a critical piece of the process, as the entire enterprise can be lost due to misrepresentation and/or mishandling of the picture.
Making films is a rewarding experience, even as it is fraught with peril. . . There are no guarantees with any creative endeavor, and making a movie is no exception, but few things are as rewarding as an audience that "gets" what you are striving for—which is the most any creator can hope for with regard to their work.