Understanding the Development Stage of an Indie Film Production

Video Production
November 1, 2023

Development, pre-production, production, post-production and distribution are the five fundamental stages of an Indie film production. Each of these phases has a unique purpose and varies in length.

So, if you are serious about working with film and TV production companies, read this post to know better about the first stage of film production, i.e., the development stage.

The development stage of film production involves the project's creation, writing, organising, and planning. The film and TV production companies create the preliminary budget, the creatives are chosen, the cast is attached, the main locations are scouted, and multiple script drafts are written. It forms the groundwork that shows the project's cost and how much it will cost.

The development of the film starts when the producer thinks of a project or when a writer pens it down on a page. The project can take months or even years to get funded and move into the pre-production stage. The studio has to approve the idea and finance the project. Compared to other film production locations, the crew involved in the development process is minimal. A small group of creatives and executives is crafting the story and finalising the budget. Once the project has found the funds, it moves into the pre-production phase, focusing on the shooting dates and time frame.

Once the project gets approval and finance, the production team will develop a preliminary budget, a rough routine outlining how much money is needed to make the film. This amount depends on the type of film being made. A studio-based project will require more money than a self-financed one. The budget is mostly created by the production executive and the producer, who will oversee the budget and ensure its accuracy. They may work with the CFO or finance executive.

After the approval of the preliminary budget, a detailed budget is developed in which a producer and director start writing and producing a detailed budget with the help of a small crew of creatives. This includes the primary costs of making a film, catering, location scouting, equipment, props, legal fees, set construction, advertising, wardrobe, and more. The producer will oversee all the budget aspects, ensure they are met, and negotiate with the vendors, distributors and financiers.

The next job of the producer is to secure the financing. Let us see the different types of available funding for film production:

● Equity financing is the most common type in which the producer must raise funds from investors.

● Debt financing: the producer raises funds from lenders or banks.

● Tax credit: in this, the producer applies for a tax credit on behalf of the film.

● Government funds: the producer applies for government funding, including federal and state grants, to support the film production.

Another responsibility of the producer is casting, which is finding actors who fit the roles in the script. These actors are required to sign a contract with the producer.


This makes the perfect guide for the development stage of film production. It is one of the most important stages as it involves some of the most important aspects of starting a film production.

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