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There are an astounding number of names in movie credits. Last weekend I saw a "blockbuster" movie and there must have been several hundred names. Beyond those in the credits, I assume many staff go uncredited.

I am curious about how a movie production is organized. What are the major operational "departments" of a film? What are their responsibilities?

By "operational" I am excluding many of the business functions like accounting, which are not directly related to the creation of a movie.

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    Even though the total list of people involved is staggeringly huge, keep in mind that every person only directly manages a handful of people and/or reports to a handful of superiors/equals. Many of the people in the credits never met personally, some may have even never been in the same country as each other. It's off-topic for the core of your question, but people are (understandably) prone to thinking that everyone on the list knows everyone else (they worked on the same movie after all, right?) – Flater Nov 9 '17 at 15:39
  • A quick Google would have done the job. There are tons of videos on YouTube (for example film maker IQ)... – Frezzley Nov 16 '17 at 20:07
  • @Frezzley I've done some googling. If you found something, please post it as an answer! I have found a lot of stuff like the answer below, but it isn't quite what I'm looking for. – indigochild Nov 21 '17 at 21:16
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The Wikipedia article on filmmaking breaks it down fairly well. They list 5 stages, and then list each of the departments for each stage:

Development

  • Step outline
  • Film treatment
  • Scriptment
  • Screenplay
  • Film finance
  • Film budgeting
  • Green-light

Pre-production

  • Script breakdown
  • Storyboard
  • Production board
  • Production strip
  • Day Out of Days
  • Production schedule
  • One liner schedule
  • Shooting schedule

Production

  • Cinematography
  • Principal photography
  • Videography Shooting script
  • Film inventory report
  • Daily call sheet
  • Production report
  • Daily production report
  • Daily progress report
  • Daily editor log Sound report
  • Cost report

Post-production

  • Film editing
  • Re-recording
  • Sync sound Soundtrack Music
  • Special effects (sound visual)
  • Negative cost

Distribution

  • Distribution
  • Film release (wide limited delayed)
  • Roadshow

Keep in mind that every production is different. These aren't necessarily a set of linear steps that need to be executed in order, though there are constraints on what can happen when. (You can't edit footage you haven't shot!)

The teams may interact a little or a lot, depending on the logistics and preferences of the people involved. For example, I have a friend who is a feature film editor. She often has to travel to where things are being filmed to do her work rather than waiting for shooting to wrap and doing everything in an editing suite at the studio. It's possible for other post-production staff to be on-set, too. For example, I once met a programmer who worked for WETA on the Lord of the Rings films. While doing some of their green-screen filming, the post-production crew would do a live composite of what was being filmed with some rough CG footage to make sure it was going as planned.

That said, I don't know how often, for example, a screenwriter or storyboard artist would be on set, or an actor would be involved in editing. My guess is not very often. One thing I've learned is that the smaller the production, the more overlap there is between people and jobs. In a small production, a director might also be a writer and producer, and even possibly an actor. Someone holding booms and running lights might also edit or score a film. That's much less likely on a large studio production, especially where unions are more highly involved and have rules about who can do which jobs.

  • This looks like an overview of the movie-making process, but I'm asking about the people are organized. Are the development/pre-production/production staff segregated into their own departments? For that matter, are they production schedule and shooting schedule different staff people in different departments? – indigochild Nov 21 '17 at 21:15
  • I've added a few paragraphs about what I know on the subject. (I'm no expert, but work tangentially in the business on the programming side, so take it for what it's worth.) – user1118321 Nov 22 '17 at 0:02

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