What is production?
Production is the process of creating
a media product.
There are three main stages when it comes to
production, these are…
Pre-production: Planning, scripting & storyboarding,
Production: The actual shooting/recording.
Post-production: Everything between production and
creating the final master copy.
These production stages are what is required to complete
a media product; such as a film. These stages start from
an idea and form into a final master copy.
Pre Production Scripts
Every script has to start with a good idea and
question you would like to be answered.
Before your script reaches post production stages
it will have gone through around 12/13 drafts.
Every producer and director wants something to
tantalize them, invite them in.
They are looking for something that will inspire not
just them but the audience they are appealing to.
In every script has to have a beginning, middle and
end, without this your script will go no where.
How else can you tell you have been given a good
script? That is a combination of instinct and
knowledge of the market.
Once you have finished your pre production script,
it is ready to move onto post production.
Transcripts and post production scripts
are a necessary part of the post
production process. They can either be
done in house with your own
production team, or you can outsource
them to a specialist service.
A post production script is your film on
paper, shot by shot, word by word.
Most film or TV makers want a post
production script (PPS). This is used
for: dubbing your film from its original
language into a foreign one; to
reversion a film (changing major parts)
Post production scripts can vary
in detailed but will have to
Vision - Full shot log describing
the pictures, titles & on screen
Audio - Transcribed version of
all commentary and sync
whether in or out of sight
Music - All music cues named by
Time code - All of the above will
be identified by time code
Post Production Scripts
Post Production Scripts
Full post production scripts are complicated and time
consuming, so booking a fast typist is not necessarily the
best way forward. Whoever produces the PPS needs to
know what they are doing because they will have to go
through the program a number of times to include all the
required detail. For example, a 60 minute program will take
Commentary & sync in & out
Audio and Music 3 Hours
Pictures 3 Hours
Checking, spell checking and
These timings are just a guide as many
things can stall the process. For
example, a program may have a lot of
incidental music, and / or contributors
that have strong accents and are
difficult to understand. Factors like
these can double the time it should
take to create the post production
script. However, you will know these
things about your program before you
send it off to be turned into a PPS, so
allow sufficient time and money to
finish it, particularly if the contractual
delivery deadline is looming.
Here are a few ways to help speed up the process of producing a post production script
(PPS): Use a specialist post production script service. Outsourcing your post production script can save your production time
Email your final "as recorded" commentary script to the transcription service you are using. They can cut & paste this into
their document rather than having to audio type from the finished program. But they will need to check it through to
ensure you've missed nothing.
Email the producer's roughly transcribed sync script to the transcription service. It may not be perfect,
but it will give them a head start. (Nowadays, most producers have to submit a rough sync
script with rough cuts and fine cuts as well as VO lines to help execs find their
way through the program when viewing).
Even at the very early stages of development, the production investors are already thinking about
what might happen when the film is in the cinema. It is critical that when you are developing the film
you are specific on the audience type that you are aiming at. The most important thing is to connect
the idea of the project to the audience, if you get this right everything in-between becomes a lot
easier, however if you get it wrong, it will never work. As a producer you are the one person in the
team who’s prime consideration is ‘who are we making the for?’ and are they going to spend their
money on watching this, and if so will they do this in sufficient enough numbers to justify the cost of
making the film.
In addition to all of this you also need to make something that the audience will understand, because
if its to wacky and out there people aren't going to get or understand the storyline. However you need
to be fresh without being completely way out.
If no one is going to watch/read/play/buy the text, the producers aren't going to make any money or
get their message across.
Audience research is a major part of any media company's work. They use questionnaires, focus
groups, and comparisons to existing media texts, and spend a great deal of time and money finding
out if there is anyone out there who might be interested in their idea.
Role of the producer
The producer is the person that oversees the whole production of a film and plans
and organises it all. They are either employed by a production company or
independent, and they help the creative people as well as the accounting personnel.
there is generally one main producer who can sometimes hire
executive/associate/co producers etc. to do particular jobs.
Some of the producers roles include:
•Find material from a book or script.
•Get the script into good enough shape to attract a director (and studio).
•Secure financing for the film, if it is not being made for a studio.
•Choose the director and other parts of the creative team.
•Cast the actors, working with the director.
•Determine locations and budget.
•Decide on cinematographer and special effects.
•Hire a production team including crew and producers.
•Develop a shooting schedule.
•Create a detailed plan of action for production.
•Offer creative suggestions to the director.
•Handle problems with actors or creative staff.
•Monitor production timetable and budget.
•Review video dailies, the film shot each day.
•Discuss order and selection of scenes with the director.
•Review the fine cut of the film after it is edited.
•In some cases, polish, revise and restructure the film to create the final cut.
•Work with a distributor to secure distribution for the film.
This may include showing the distributors the final cut of the film.
•Review the distributor's advertising campaign for the film.
• UK producers can go to
television companies for
funding like Channel 4, BBC
• If they are working in a
particular region, they can go
to the Regional Film Fund.
• It is more common to get a
group of potential financiers,
usually between 3 to 10.
• Particular financers like
particular subject matter/
director etc. so producers go
to them because they’re more
likely to invest.
• Most producers look to
America for co production
deals if they cant get enough
funding in UK, where an
American producer can work
together with the British one
and find finance.
• It’s easier to find one funder
but if they fund 100% then
they control the movie, but if
it’s multi partner where lots of
people have funded, no one
owns 100% of the movie so
the producer and director
Depending on what genre of film it is there could a certain
time of year it should be released when it will make more
money, e.g. horror films released around Halloween.
They must think about if they have marketable stars or
The British Film industry usually gets the finance and shoots
the film and then think about selling it later on, but
Americans think about release date and how they’re going
to sell it and market it first and then get on with making the
movie and that is why they are usually more successful.
Budget is how much the film will cost and it must be paid
for by film finance plan.
The budget must include costs for the actors, cameras, film
stock, editing, script, locations.
The level of budget must be appropriate to how much you
think the film will make.
Producer divides the costs into 2 parts, one called above
the line, the other called below the line.
Above The Line Costs
Above the line costs is the creative side to making the film, so things like:
the scripts; paying for the rights to a novel; the producer, director and their
teams; money is also paid out for research as well. The above the line costs
also pay for the principle cast which is usually the two main characters in the
film, however it can also be several more highly paid actors.
Overall the above the line costs are the costs of creating the story.
Below The Line Costs
Below the line costs cover the people who are actually going to make
the film and not the people who are controlling the sales of the film.
These people start at the beginning of pre production, they put together
the shoot, they schedule things and set up each day, they do the
designing and even the photography.