Questions about the movie making process....

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Anthony_D, Dec 16, 2001.

  1. Anthony_D

    Anthony_D Stunt Coordinator

    Jul 13, 2000
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    what role do the studios play in making a movie?? Fox got credit for the phantom menace, yet it had nothing to do with making the movie...

    if a producer pays for the movie, why does the studio have so much say so in the creative process???

    what constitutes an 'independent film'?? is one that is not made a big studio and if so what is a big studio???

    maybe it would be better if know more about the whole process of a movie being made?? from the time it is a concept to the time it hits the screen
  2. Chad R

    Chad R Cinematographer

    Jul 14, 1999
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    Chad Rouch
    Your question is not easily answered. There are a multitude of ways in which a film is made.

    Studios are involved in films in a variety of ways. First, they can be solely distributors. They handle the creation of the prints and the bookings to the theater. They take a percentage of the gross for that service and pass the rest onto the film's production company.

    However, it's not that simple. They also invest in movies. A production company (Imagine, Amblin, et al) will hatch the screenplay (or acquire it from a writer) then take it to a studio for funding. The studio invests so much money (or all the budget) into a movie and then get the distribution rights and a higher percentage of the gross, this also buys them the right to approve talent, scripts and content.

    For instance, I'm a screenwriter who has had several produciton companies interested in my work, but have yet to have one of them successfully sell it to a studio, so I've yet to be paid. However, if the production company can get a studio to commit to putting the film into development (no guarantee it'll be made) then they have to pay me for my script, and the production company then has to develop the project with the studio until they're satisfied (I can be fired any time during the process and another writer brought in to do rewrites) and green light the movie (commit to making it).

    Finally, a film can be created entirely at a studio, and they will end up getting most of the grosses so long as they haven't sold off foreign rights to help cushion the cost. Like they'll buy the rights to a comic book or something, hire a writer to adapt it, hire a producer to produce it and then finance it themselves.

    You see it gets very complicated.

    Now, an independent feature is one created entirely out of this studio system in that it was created entirely on its own using private funds then sold off to the studio/distributor who offers the best percentage deal.

    There are hundred of independently produced film that can never find distribution and therefore are never seen by the public. Oftentimes, independent producers take their films and enter them in film festivals in hopes that a distributor will see it, then agree to release it (in essence buy it). But often films don't make it into the festival, or do and not one studio or distribution house has any interest in it.

    Lucasfilm financed TPM entirely on its own, and simply sold the distribution rights to Fox. One could argue that it makes Star Wars an independant production (since the studio has no say into the film's content) but that would be stretching it I think.

    And there are variations on top of variations. Foreign rights can be sold off, video rights can be split. There are lots of ways to find a movie. But, I think I covered the basics and hopefully answered your question.
  3. Dome Vongvises

    Dome Vongvises Lead Actor

    May 13, 2001
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    I'd suggest getting the book, Film Art: An Introduction by David Bordwell and Kristin Thompson. Not only can the book give you the basic gist of what goes into the production of a movie, but you'll also get to learn some of the fancy shmancy term everybody around uses in the analysis of film. Works for me, now I can understand what everybody else is saying.

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