Filmmaking is Manufacturing

Filmmaking is manufacturing. To date, no one has made the direct correlation between the two. As many entertainment professionals know, the budget gap between indie productions and big studio blockbusters continues to grow. The day of mid-budget, independent (indie) movies is disappearing as fast as the middle class in the American economy. According to newbiefilmschool, the average budget is barely at $2 million for these pictures and producers have been forced to adapt by discovering creative ways to decrease costs, while maintaining a high production values for a sophisticated audience with high expectations.

Though there are many ways to cut costs, any business professional will agree to go with the options that bring down the budget the most. Just as dog is man’s best friend, here are three reasons why manufacturers have become the same for a filmmaker by saving money and time for every type of production.

Film equipment manufacturers
No long may a film lack quality in picture, sound, and bad acting. Once acceptable, these older movies were produced with the technology and film equipment constraints and from limited funding. Film equipment manufacturers from cameras, sound equipment, and computers cost less to achieve high production values. Film equipment companies face increasing competition, which has driven down the purchase price.  Better equipment with significant technology improvements has reframed the indie film industry with high-level sound and image capture quality.

The transition of cameras from film to digital was a notable shift for manufacturers. Many industry-insiders believe that digital is free, and film is expensive, but there is more the manufacturing construct. Digital cameras, when compared to film cameras in the same market price bracket, are much more expensive than analog counterparts.  It is true that film costs money and is single-use. Digital memory cards are relatively expensive and can be reused. Film also needs to be developed and there is a cost associated with that production cost. There are other ways in which digital modalities save filmmakers.

Automation
Across all industries, efficiency always wins.  Innovative manufacturers have developed machines to make numerous jobs easier for everyone. Machines have been assisting filmmakers since the invention of the camera. AI (artificial intelligence) is poised to change film even more and continues to augment human creativity. Storytellers work with computers during every process of creating a motion picture which has sped up the time it takes to complete each-step in film making.

Automating pre-production processes, such as creating a budget and writing a script, is analogous to an ERP (enterprise resource planning) software for a traditional manufacturing operation. The Movie Magic budgeting software by Entertainment Partners has made creating a budget more efficient and accurate. Screenwriter programs vary from the downloadable Final Draft, and the purely cloud based, Celtx, are the reasons automated scriptwriting is the norm. These programs also automatically format writing to industry standards, facilitating the creative process.

Automation in post-production is equally advanced through editing software for video, sound, effects, and colors all the way to distribution and promotional content. Editing footage from digital rather than film saves time and money. Industry favorites include Adobe Premiere Pro and Apple’s exclusive Final Cut Pro and are used on almost all well-known movies and TV shows.

The impacts of COVID-19 on entertainment manufacturers
Without question, the pandemic has affected every industry by creating an unanticipated production standstill. Entertainment manufacturers have sacrificed countless productions, lost billions of dollars, and major talent agencies have furloughed hundreds of employees.  This negative impact is not just difficult for indie filmmakers, big studios are suffering just as much with production delays and cancellations still happening as this article goes to press.

Any way back to the set is better than no set at all. A new necessity for productions to safely reopen includes epidemiologists and other public health specialists; they provide detailed strategies dealing with large crews who work in cramped spaces, makeup artists who get face-to-face with actors who kiss, hug, and fight on set. These COVID-19 consultants rely on the manufacturing industry for PPE supplies and carry out regular PCR tests. Face coverings and hand sanitizing stations have also become the norm, just like most other manufacturing operations.
Filmmaking is Manufacturing
Jacob Kyle Young (left) founder of Post Modern Entertainment and Thomas R. Cutler (right)
founder of the Entertainment Manufacturing Division of the Manufacturing Media Consortium

 
A great indicator of recognizing filmmakers as manufacturers is the new division of the Manufacturing Media Consortium specifically focusing on the critical role of the entertainment industry. Thomas R. Cutler, the founder of the new division suggested, “While filmmaking has rarely been expressed in industrial terminology, it is in fact one of the most progressive sectors devising new tools, equipment, and innovative technologies. The new division is designed to profile and honor accomplished manufacturing professionals.”
About The Author
Jacob Kyle Young is the founder of Post Modern Entertainment – a full service production company. The company has a diverse slate of projects, one recently release is the Amazon Prime feature film, Dead Voices. Young has over thirty roles listed on the IMDb and currently has a recurring role on Fear the Walking Dead season seven. He is in pre-production for another feature film he wrote and will star. Email Jacob at jacob@jacobkyleyoung.com.

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Jacob Kyle Young is the founder of Post Modern Entertainment – a full service production company. The company has a diverse slate of projects, one recently release is the Amazon Prime feature film, Dead Voices.

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