By Jim Pennington

It occurred to me that many (most?) of our supporters have no idea what it takes to bring a film to the big screen.  Why does it take so much time, so many people, and so much money?!  Thinking more about how to present this, it seemed a good analogy to equate the “birthing of a film” with the “birthing of a baby”.

With a baby, there are three distinct trimesters.  The first is all about the foundation of life, the second about development, and the third about getting things ready to “push it out”.  Similarly in film, there are three distinct phases including pre-production (foundation), production (development), and post-production (finalizing and distribution).  Here’s a quick description of each.

Pre-production.  This is where the idea blossoms.  There’s a story you just need to tell.  You share your idea with other producers.  Collectively, you get excited about the places you’ll go and the things you’ll need to do in getting the film to the screen.  Rapt enthusiasm quickly hits the wall of funding.  How much will this cost?  Where will we get our funding?  You start planning and building the foundation for a successful film through various activities, including:

•    Concept Development;
•    Treatment / Script Development;
•    Production Planning;
•    Scheduling;
•    Production Document Preparation;
•    Talent and Crew Acquisition;
•    Equipment Acquisition;
•    Location Scouting;
•    Set Design and Construction;
•    Wardrobe Support; and
•    Prop Design and Construction.

Production.  You’re ready to move forward with capturing the raw footage.  The script is fine-tuned, the production plan is in place, the actors and crew are ready, the sets have been built, costumes and props are prepped, and the gear is primed for action.  Enthusiasm is at a peak with the entire team eager to serve their roles on the project, including:

•    Production Management;
•    Directing;
•    Video and Audio Recording;
•    Lighting Setup / Management;
•    Electrical Setup / Management;
•    Makeup Application;
•    Wardrobe Support;
•    Set and Prop Management;
•    Meals and Craft Services Support; and
•    General Production Assistance.

Post-production.  This is where magic happens.  All of the raw footage comes together into a polished product.  The editors work to first bring together a rough cut that addresses the general flow of the film. They then work on the fine editing, tweaking the transitions, adding music and narration, color correcting the footage to give the image that “special look,” and adding text, graphics and animation as necessary. ADR (additional dialog recording) and Foley (added sound effects) “sweeten” the audio track.  Post-production is all about making the film the best it can be, and getting it to your audience:

•    Video Editing;
•    Text and Graphics Design;
•    Special Effects;
•    Music Selection / Creation;
•    VO/narration;
•    ADR and Foley recording; and
•    Distribution.

This very brief summary certainly indicates that “birthing a film” is no small task.  It takes the collective efforts of many talented people, and quite frankly, a little luck (especially in distribution).  It also takes a strong team of supporters, and the producers of “Scars of an Orphan” are extremely grateful for the support you continue to provide our project.


Jim Pennington is a producer for Scars of an Orphan Movie; he is the co-owner of Star Wipe Films and their parent company, DUO Media Productions.