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Forum Repost: How Hollywood Movies Are Written

For an extra Tuesday treat, here's another Forum Repost! Every once in a while, I either write an especially good post on a forum, or I stumble onto one particular one.

In this case, I found it. Someone else linked it from another thread, which I followed.

Ever watched a movie and wondered what the people behind it were thinking? This post by Some Sort of Troper has some insight in the jumbled process. Not only it is detailed, but it maintains a humorous tone (minor editing was made and links were added):



I believe the way it goes is:
  • Studio Executive needs idea for movie.
  • Executive talks to Film Producer about idea.
  • Producer hires writer to make script based on idea which they do.
  • Producer comes up with more ideas to tell writer. Writer tries to work them into script.
  • Producer starts hiring people
    • Director- he'll want input on the script and will perform rewrites.
    • Big Name Actor- he'll want input on the script and will ask for rewrites.
    • Another Writer- will be hired to do minor touch up at small fee, will get forced into doing major rewrites.
    • Note: these hirings may be done in any order.
  • Director takes over project, work begins on pre-production.
  • Production begins, director takes pet writer friend (Quentin Tarantino, Joss Whedon etc.) with him.
    • (Optional) Take writer along to fix some dialogue for one scene. When writer is stuck in jungle/desert/frozen wastes with crew as only way out, force them to write even more dialogue.
      • Give writer acting position in cast and then hope that he'll do some writing when stuck in jungle (aka the Predator option).
  • Post-production begins. Director starts to pass on footage to Producer and Executive.
  • Producer and Executive question marketability of creative decisions.
  • Film nearly complete. Film shown to test audiences. Test audiences treat showing as occasion where they have to pass judgement of how the world should work.
    • Rewrites. Scenes reshot.
  • Film shown to MPAA. MPAA demands changes.
    • Option 1: Film is edited to conform to MPAA requests.
    • Option 2: Studio Executive uses huge piles of money and influence to get away with current cut.
    •  Inconsequential changes may need to be done as symbolic gesture.
    • Option 3: rewrites- unavailable due to production crew having moved onto other products (and writer having moved onto a life of alcoholism).
    • Note: These options assume enough influence to actualy get MPAA feedback in the first place.
Can occur at multiple points during process:



And that is why I want to be a novelist.