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Development: Overview

film development

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The dream of making a film begins with the development process. An idea for a film sparks the process. Usually, this idea comes from a writer, but it can often come from a director or a producer, in truth, it could come from just about anyone.

For example, it’s not at all uncommon for a studio executive (or even an agent or agency) to combine talent with a story concept and attempt to sell this as a package deal. A great many films are born this way.

It is also common for a film to be based on preexisting material, often referred to as IP (intellectual property); see any of the Marvel films as an example.

Regardless of the source, in development, the story is created and thoroughly refined, and the groundwork is laid for the rest of the filmmaking process.

It is during this stage that the screenwriter(s) will write a treatment and script, which will be used to pitch the project to studios and/or potential investors. If the project is greenlit, development will end, and Pre-Production will begin. However, if a film isn’t approved for production, development will continue via pitches to alternate studios or producers until it is approved or ultimately shelved and/or abandoned.

Now that you have an idea of the overall development stage, let’s take a deeper look at how a story is chosen and developed.

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