Functioning of a Film Production House
What does a Film Production House actually do?
A film production house or company majorly works on the process of producing video content for the big screen, television, advertisement commercials. But, before going further we need to ask ourselves a basic but very important question, i.e. ‘what is a film production house?’ and there’s no easy answer…
A production house is an organization which gets a finished film ready right from scratch. If we were to put it simply, production companies are a bunch of people with different backgrounds of talent who put together their resources and use them to produce the best piece of art. They also provide or raise the necessary finances that are required to make the film. A film production house therefore cannot be defined easily and there is no ‘one’ way of simply putting it through. It can circumscribe to anything and everything that is needed to get the film released in a theater, television or any other digital platforms like ‘OTT’.
Typical Roles on Offer at a Production House
Since a production company is often owned or is under contract with an entertainment company which may or may not be a media conglomerate or a motion picture company. It usually has a small size consisting of one or two producers and a few support staff. Typically, a film production house has the following roles to offer:
• A Film-maker or Film Director:
In broader terms the function of a filmmaker or film director in a film production house is to provide a proper direction to the shooting of the film or setting up a common theme. He/she is directly responsible for finalising locations, checking casts, picking narrative style, soundtracks and many more aspects of filmmaking. A film director must possess creative & critical thinking, problem-solving skills and utmost resilience.
• Film Producer:
A film producer is more involved in project management and communications from start to the end of the production process and they must have a very strong attention to detail.
Producers are in constant communication with the crew, the actors, clients and all the other relevant staff involved in the filming process and are also responsible for extracting the best from each and every member of their crew. It is the film producers job to ensure that the allotted budget is used judiciously and that everybody is putting in their best to finish the project on time.
These are standard roles at almost any film/Ad production house although sometimes they could have a different role such as associate producer or executive producer which is dependent on the company and project size.
• Scriptwriter or Screenplay Writer:
One of the more challenging roles in a film making process or film production company is of a writer who is at the core or acts as a building block of the whole storytelling process. He/she has the umpteen job of shaping every event that is happening in a movie by ensuring that transitions happen in a fluid manner without any jump cuts or mismatches which ultimately enables a moviegoer to keep track of everything and hence, make it easy for the audiences to understand what the primary reason for making a film.
• Film Editor:
The editor’s main job is to organise the visuals so that the film appears to be one simple seamless journey to its audience. But, it’s not all as simple as it may sound. A good video editor is someone who possesses a great understanding of visual storytelling, along with in-depth knowledge of video editing platforms and software, because storytelling refers to the ability of unveiling parts of a plot at a captivating pace and one can’t present that if he/she doesn’t have knowledge of these latest trends and resources. This is what makes the post-production process so important as a film or video editor has an enormous impact on the result of the film.
• Cinematographer/Videographer or Director of Pictures(D.O.P.):
Videographers or cinematographers as we call them today are responsible for filming action, events, interviews or commercials and almost everything that we see on the big or small screen. Not only is their main responsibility to operate the video/film camera but they also have a huge say on what to shoot, where to shoot, how to shoot, also execute it and piece everything together. That’s why DOPs and the video team are generally the most respected lot of any film crew.
• Production Designer:
A production designer in a production house is responsible for transforming scripts into visual form. He/she creates storyboards or mood boards which are actually a series of sketches that display the progression of the film from one scene to the next which makes it easy for the director, cinematographer, producer and even the editor to piece everything together without losing the theme of a film.
There are various other major roles during the production of a film which are equally important but may or may not be feasible in every production setup due to many factors such as size, structure, and nature of every project. Yet, some of the main roles remain that of a costume designer as we know how important get-ups are on the screen, a make-up artist who serves as another important member, casting directors help choose actors who will share the screen, let’s not forget actors and another major figure might be the art director who is responsible for the settings in which the film will is shot. He/she arranges for the props, decorates the set and makes the set appear to be in sync with the plot of the film.
A few notable Variables at a Film Production
Our entertainment industry is centred around mysterious funding, mediocre projects and exploiting talents. These days film production companies are judged on the amount of money they have and by their past projects.
In our country, a film production house is usually run by a producer or a director. It is also important to know that a production company is fully operational only when a film is being made and in most cases talent and crew are freelancers, many production houses only hire management staff to check the daily activities. Production equipment is either leased or purchased from another production company, rentals or directly from the manufacturer.
As we know, there are 3 main steps while making a film of any kind. It is not at all different for any film production house whether big or small scale, everyone follows the same traditional Pre-production, Production and Post-production (3-step) path. But, it’s easier said than done.
Once a final script has been jotted down by the screenwriters and approved by the concerned authorities the production enters into the pre-production phase.
In pre-production, the actors are given contracts to sign on and are then prepared for their respective roles, crew is also formally brought in, shooting locations are finalised by recce, sets are erected or studios are rented, and then proper shooting permits have to be acquired for specific locations.
Once a production enters principal photography, this means that the production has started or it is said to be on the floor. Productions are generally shot in-house or secured studios, with limited public access, but they are also shot on location on secured sets with security concerns and other vulnerabilities.
After filming is completed, the production enters into post-production, which is handled by a post-production company and overseen by a number of film editors with a chief editor in-charge. The video editing, musical score, video effects (VFX), sound effects (SFX), voice over and sound effects are manipulated properly to fit and the final film is made ready, which is then screened at the final film screening.