By: Mac Clarke

January 15th, 2024

Have you ever wondered how your favourite sources of entertainment, whether films, television shows, podcasts, etc, are developed from start to finish? It’s a lengthy process that can take months, even years to complete before we, as the audience, get to experience it. This resource guide aims to provide you with all of the information you need to understand the 5 essential stages of production that creative projects must endure to successfully make it from an idea in the mind to the big screen. 

Stage 01: Development 

Stage one of the production process is the Developmental Stage. This is where the ideas for the project are born, edited, and ultimately prepared for creation. The developmental stage is important because it serves as the foundation for a production. By the end of the Development Stage, it is important to have an outline of your script, as well as ideas for potential resources that can aid in project funding,  

Elements of Development: 

  • Idea Brainstorming 
  • Financial Logistics 
  • Script Drafting 
  • Storyboard Development 
  • Assembling Core Production Team 

Stage 02: Pre-Production 

Stage two of the production process is the Pre-Production Stage. It is at this stage that the details from the developmental stage are finalized and prepared as essential preparatory work for your project. Organization and flexibility are key characteristics that need to be prioritized during this stage as more factors come into play and plans have to be changed. By the end of the Pre-Production Stage, it is important to have a thorough outline and understanding of all the aspects of your project, including schedule, budget, cast/crew, locations, costumes, etc.

Elements of Pre-Production: 

  • Location Scouting
  • Acquiring Filming Permits for Shooting in Different Locations
  • Official Budget Finalized 
  • Scheduling for Filming/Call Sheets Finalized 
  • Auditions are held to finalize Cast Members
  • Hiring of Crew Members 
  • Art Direction: Set Design, Props Created
  • Costume Creation, Hair, and Makeup Plans Finalized 

Stage 03: Production 

Stage three of the production process is the actual Production Stage. It is in this stage that the shooting of the content is being captured. It is almost always a very unpredictable and stressful process that relies upon the preparation made in the developmental and pre-production stages to successfully be completed. Flexibility and adaptability are key characteristics that the cast and crew need to possess throughout the entirety of this stage to achieve success.

Elements of Production:

  • Recording of Raw Video, Audio, and Special Effects Footage
  • The Director manages Scene Blocking with Actors
  • Coordinating the Crew

Stage 04: Post-Production 

Stage four of the production process is the Post-Production stage. It is in this stage that the assembly of all previous work comes together. By the end of the Post-Production Stage, it is important to have a high-quality finished product. 

Elements of Post-Production: 

  • Editing of Raw Footage 
  • Editing of Raw Audio
  • Sound Mixing 
  • Recording Original Music or Acquiring Music Licenses
  • Incorporating Additional Video/Audio Effects

Stage 05: Distribution 

The final stage of Production is the Distribution Stage. The Distribution stage is important as this is when the Producers of the film are trying to get their return of funds from their initial investment into the entertainment project. There are many ways for a team to decide how the project is going to be distributed to audiences. Whether it’s a film distributed through movie theaters, a television program distributed through a network, or a podcast distributed through a streaming platform, there are plenty of options for content distribution. By the end of the Distribution Stage, the creative work must be distributed to the public with the goal of making a high return on investment.

Elements of Distribution: 

  • Promotional Advertising/Marketing of Project
  • Commitments to Investors Finalized 
  • The Platform is Selected and Displays Project for the public 

The process of going from idea to product can be a tricky one, with lots of twists and turns along the way. Thankfully, we have the 5 Stages of Production that are the backbone of the entertainment industry. They keep productions everywhere organized, adaptable, and on track with their scheduling and majorly aid in the delivery process of concept, to content, to audiences.