Feature Films are the most creative and collaborative event in the world of video production.
With reality television and scripted television, the creative process is similar and many of the same people are involved in the creative process, but the importance of each player’s role differs greatly. The reason this creative process is bigger than Reality Television and scripted television is that there is A LOT more money at stake.
If you came to this article because you are interested in creating a film or just wanting to learn more about creating feature films, read on and if you know someone who could benefit from this article – please share it using the buttons at the top.
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Show Business 101 – Scripted Television
Show Business 101 – Reality Television
It all starts with an idea. A producer, network executive, or maybe you have an idea for an awesome reality tv show. You are ready to pitch to a network, but before you do, make sure you read this article so you talk the talk, walk the walk and present the best version of your reality tv show.
Writer / Creator
Writers and creators of Feature Films seldom receive the credit they deserve from the general public. When we watch our favorite feature films, we are so engaged in the world and the characters that writers and creators give us that we never think about who created them. Writers sit alone or sometimes with a collaborating partner and create protagonists, antagonists and the worlds they live in.
Before there was a Harry Potter, before there was an Iron Man. There was JK Rowling and Stan Lee. The writers and creators who put a pen to a pad, and gave us these characters that we will never forget.
Talent Agency / Talent Management Company
Talent Agencies and Talent Management Companies are the engines that keep the entertainment machine moving forward. We are the aggregators, we are the packagers, we are the voice between Movie Studios, Production Companies, Producers and creatives who package scripts to pitch and sell.
Once a writer has a script, he or she speaks with their representative at the Talent Agency or Management company and now the real work begins. Feature films are bought and sold from what is commonly referred to as a package. The package is made up of three key creatives:
Once a production studio receives a package, their probability of buying the script increases exponentially. The Best Talent agencies and Talent management companies represent all three of these key creatives and negotiate terms between their talent and the movie studios who want to produce and distribute their feature film.
Actors are the icing on a cake. Think of the script created by a writer as the base, the cake itself. It’s the foundation, the starting point of a story and it’s characters. If you are a sugar junkie like me, a vanilla cake isn’t really complete without the white icing.
Actors take words and give each line meaning. Actors make or break every script and just because an actor is good does not mean they are great for every role. Al Pachino was perfectly cast in Scarface, Leonardo DiCaprio was perfectly cast is The Wolf of Wall Street and Jodi Foster was perfectly cast in Silence of the Lambs. Casting directors also play a huge role in making sure a film has a certain feel, but we will get into the supporting characters in another article.
Directors read the script and visualize how each scene will look, feel and executes each scene accordingly during physical production. Great directors are involved in the entire production process, pre-production to post. Once he or she has read the script, they work with the producer and the rest of the crew to bring the script to life. Some of the other important people involved in making the feature film look and feel good are:
Movie Studios / Distributors
Movie Studios are what most people think about when they think about how big-budget feature films are made. Some of the big players in the feature film industry are Paramount, MGM, Warner Brothers, and Sony. At the end of the day, these Movie Studios have Distribution channels, which buy movies they produce.
After years of working with their buyers, Movie Studios have a good idea of what a film will generate based off of the talent attached to a given project. Moreover, most markets have what are known as MG or money guarantees. Smaller studios and distributors produce feature films against money guarantees. Larger studios use their projections and knowledge of what a feature will generate globally as well as their investors to produce large scale tentpoles in bulk.
Production Companies and Producers
Producers and production companies play a major role in the entire feature film process. As a matter of fact, their contributions are so extensive, we will write an entire article on them alone. For the time being, I will leave you with this.
Producers typically bring together creatives or physically make sure things are on track during principal photography.
Executive Producers are typically tied into the money side of feature films. In other words they help secure working capitol.
Production companies serve a few different roles. They are involved in the development and pre-production phase, principal photography phase or post-production phase. Large companies like Legendary and Tyler Perry Studios are involved in all three.