The Movie Industry: Behind The Scenes


The first movie was screened in 1894, but it took some time for the idea to catch on. By 1910 though, Hollywood was showing signs of potential, especially with the actors, directors, and film producers setting up shop in the area. At the end of World War II, nearly every major film studio was operating in Hollywood. There have been some major changes over the years that resulted in the movie industry becoming what it is today creating movie fans and movie memorabilia collectors everywhere.

The movie industry typically places film into two categories: independent or blockbusters. Blockbuster movies are given a large budget and top names are placed in acting, producing, and directing roles. In some cases the famous names may even share roles. For example, Kevin Costner and Mel Gibson have both acted, directed and produced movies and Julia Roberts is often listed as a producer on her films. There’s always a chance that one of these movies can lose money. While Titanic and Star Wars are examples of blockbusters, Water World and other films have actually lost money at the box office.

Independent films are typically made without the backing of a major studio and without any big names. The directors usually serve multiple roles on the film to cut costs and they may seek financial help from investors. Studios can buy distribution rights for these movies, but often the filmmakers are responsible for the distribution themselves. Some studios are now offering their own independent labels and releasing these movies either in theaters or straight onto the DVD market.

The filmmaking process starts with the script, which is bought by a production studio. Once the script is purchased, the film is considered “in production” as they go about hiring actors, directors, producers, and others to work on the film. Usually the studio hires a casting director to find actors and extras to do the non-speaking parts. They also hire writers to tweak the script prior to shooting.

The shooting of a movie can last a few weeks--or months for larger movies. Once the shooting is finished, the director works closely with the editor and producer to finish the movie by cutting the scenes together. The studio will then use a test audience to get a general idea of their reactions and they sometimes do re-shoots to change the negative parts. They’ll also use advertising to spread word of mouth before the film is released in theaters.

Good starting information can be found at Cinema of the United States at Wikipedia, which includes a history of the industry. Users may also find it helpful to read more about the Motion Picture Association of America at MPAA. There’s also The Movie Industry that looks at how computers have changed the way films are made.

How Movie Producers Work is another good resource that shows what these individuals do in regards to filmmaking. The Film-Makers website is also helpful because it contains links to other websites focused on movie making and the top Hollywood players. Other helpful sites include Movie Making, Film Making and Internet Filmmakers FAQs.

To learn more about how movies are made, see How are Hollywood Films Made?, The Movie Making Process, How to Make a Movie and Shoot Your Film.

More helpful websites include Computer Generated Imagery and CGI Historical Timeline.