How the Film Industry Works

The Updated version of the Movie Swing diagram

The original Movie Swing drawing. This is from Little Joe’s studio in New Orleans. It is in bad shape, because it went through Hurricane Katrina. It dates back to about 1989 and is drawn in pencil.


Rose Lagacé | @artdepartmental

Source: Overheard on Set

Posted by Rose Lagacé

Rose Lagacé is a production designer for film & television by day and an emerging filmmaker by night. Rose is also the creator and editor of Art Departmental where she celebrates the art and craft of production design.

  1. omg this is so great- I’m forwarding this post to my friends in the creative industry. This is too funny!! and probably rings true 🙂


    1. Art DepartMENTAL May 22, 2010 at 2:52 PM

      It’s very true. I like that the perspective comes from outside the industry looking in at all sides. Once in the heavy grasp of a department I, as well as others, find it hard to remain objective about our demands and vision of any script. Thanks for reading!


  2. Hey Guys & particularly Rose,

    I love your film industry showpiece. It’s great. It provides some insight into why a producer will often be a producer/director or producer/director/writer/etc- less areas for ‘interpretation’.

    Having said this, I think it’s fascinating to think that numerous different participants can voice their vision, so to speak, and you end up with a unique and interesting creation. On the other hand, you could end up with an entity that curdles like a delightful combination of milk and orange juice! Not so good for the box office 🙂

    Great post.

    Dave @


  3. Hi Dave.

    Thanks for reading. If you see a writer, producer, director it is usually because they didn’t want to see their baby bastardized in the wrong hands. It takes many many years to bring a project through to fruition and most of those years are spent getting it into production so it is very hard to hand it off to some director to interpret in their own unique way.

    If the different departments are seeing a script differently it’s usually the directors fault. It’s their job to make sure everybody is making the same movie. What this diagram displays beautifully is that everyone wants to see things their own way through their departments eyes but in the end it is the directors job to reel everyone in.

    I was designing a project late last year exactly like this diagram. The director had no idea what he had gotten himself into due to lack of experience and consequently everyone was making their own version of the movie and the film lacked a cohesive vision. This happens a lot unfortunately.


    1. Dear Rose,

      Thanks for your reply.

      I thought your comments (and illustration) were very on the money.

      I have quoted you and linked you into a recent post of mine examining production versus direction.

      Check it out

      Thanks again,

      Dave @ filmstank


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