CP 440 Pre-Production for Producers

Steven Jones

Office: CDM 472
Fall 2022-2023
Class number: 18853
Section number: 401
W 1:30PM - 4:45PM
CDM 00226 Loop Campus



CP 440 uses documents and media from actual productions to take the student step by step through the creation and completion of a feature film, with additional focus on the contracts required to produce a film. The course will expose students to the role of the contemporary producer of feature films- from idea origination and script development through financing, production and distribution.
Course Objectives

This course is designed to examine the role of producer and give the students the skills necessary to accomplish creative and filmmaking goals, and the understanding of the contracts required for a feature production.



Required Texts

Honthaner, Eve Light The Complete Film Production Handbook, (3rd Edition)
Litwak, Mark Contracts for the Film and Television Industry, (2nd edition)

Recommended Software

EP Budgeting
EP Scheduling
Recommended Websites

Illinois Film Office:
Screen Actors Guild:
Writer?s Guild of America:
Independent Feature Project:
Illinois Secretary of State:
U. S. Copyright Office:
Internet Movie Database:


Course Requirements

You are expected to: get to class on time; participate in class; prepare your assignments completely and on time; respect each other; develop a positive and professional work environment; and be responsible and attentive to the demands of working with the group.

Course Policies

Attendance: Class attendance is mandatory. Participation in class is essential. You are permitted one unexcused absence. More than one absence will result in your grade being dropped one grade. Excessive late arrivals will affect your grade.

Assignments: Assignments must be completed by the date to which they are assigned in the syllabus. Consequently, late work will not be accepted without prior consent of the instructor.


Concept and Pitch Assignment, Quizzes 25%
Final Project 50%
Class Participation and Personal Growth 25%

A = 100-93, A- = 92-90, B+ = 89-88, B = 87-83, B- = 82-80, C+ = 79-78, C = 77-73, C- = 72-70,
D+ = 69-68, D = 67-63, D- = 62-60, F = 59-0. A indicates excellence, B indicates good work, C indicates satisfactory work, D indicates unsatisfactory work, and F is a failure to demonstrate an understanding of course concepts.

Required Screenings

Keaton, Michael The Merry Gentleman
McNaughton, John Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer
McNaughton, John Mad Dog and Glory
McNaughton, John Wild Things
Conrad, Steve The Promotion
McNaughton, John Normal Life
Wexler, Tanya Finding North
McNaughton, John Speaking of Sex
Meyer, Bob Drunkboat

Introduction to Course and Requirements
Student Introductions Discussion Topics: The Role of the Producer, Types of Producers, Options, Final project Assignment: Prepare written and spoken pitch Reading: Litwak pg. 25- 32, 52-80, 124-146

Discussion Topics: Development- creation of and acquisition of material, Fundraising, the Director and Screenwriter. Class Presentation: Final project pitch - Submit written summary. Assignment: Rank all Concept and Development Ideas (1-5 with 1 being the best) and submit to D2L by Tuesday Sept.25 Reading: - "The Harvest" screenplay. Litwak pgs. 147-182, 270, 421 Honthaner chapters 1,2, and 26 Discussion Topics: Business plans, Pre-production - The Harvest - Script Breakdown, Budgeting, Scheduling. Student final teams are assigned. Assignment: Work with team and begin producing your project Reading: Litwak pgs. 239-248, 263, 267 Honthaner chapters 4 and 6 Discussion Topics: - - Pre Production - The Harvest - insurance, accounting, casting, Hiring dept. heads. Assignment: Continue producing your project Read: Honthaner chapters 3 and 10 Discussion Topics: Pre-Production - The Harvest - Crew, Transportation, Production Office Assignment: Work with team on your project Reading: Honthaner chapters 11 and 12 Discussion Topics: Production - The Harvest - Shooting start- schedule variables, overall approach, on set attitude. Assignment: Work with team on your project Reading - The Merry Gentleman screenplay, Honthaner chapters 8 and 18 Discussion Topics: Production - The Harvest - Unions and Guilds, Locations, Extras Assignment: Work with team on your project Reading Honthaner chapters 13, 14, 15 Discussion Topics: Production - The Harvest - Stunts, SFX, Wrap. Assignment: Work with team on your project Reading: Honthaner chapters 17 and 23 Discussion Topics: Post- production- Editing, Picture lock, Composer Assignment: Work with team on your project Reading: Litwak pg. 295-298, 311-317 Honthaner chapters 16 and 30 Discussion Topics: Post-Production - Mix, Distribution, Previews, Delivery requirements. Assignment: Prepare for Final Presentation Reading: Honthaner chapter 32

School policies:

Changes to Syllabus

This syllabus is subject to change as necessary during the quarter. If a change occurs, it will be thoroughly addressed during class, posted under Announcements in D2L and sent via email.

Online Course Evaluations

Evaluations are a way for students to provide valuable feedback regarding their instructor and the course. Detailed feedback will enable the instructor to continuously tailor teaching methods and course content to meet the learning goals of the course and the academic needs of the students. They are a requirement of the course and are key to continue to provide you with the highest quality of teaching. The evaluations are anonymous; the instructor and administration do not track who entered what responses. A program is used to check if the student completed the evaluations, but the evaluation is completely separate from the student’s identity. Since 100% participation is our goal, students are sent periodic reminders over three weeks. Students do not receive reminders once they complete the evaluation. Students complete the evaluation online in CampusConnect.

Academic Integrity and Plagiarism

This course will be subject to the university's academic integrity policy. More information can be found at If you have any questions be sure to consult with your professor.

All students are expected to abide by the University's Academic Integrity Policy which prohibits cheating and other misconduct in student coursework. Publicly sharing or posting online any prior or current materials from this course (including exam questions or answers), is considered to be providing unauthorized assistance prohibited by the policy. Both students who share/post and students who access or use such materials are considered to be cheating under the Policy and will be subject to sanctions for violations of Academic Integrity.

Academic Policies

All students are required to manage their class schedules each term in accordance with the deadlines for enrolling and withdrawing as indicated in the University Academic Calendar. Information on enrollment, withdrawal, grading and incompletes can be found at

Students with Disabilities

Students who feel they may need an accommodation based on the impact of a disability should contact the instructor privately to discuss their specific needs. All discussions will remain confidential.
To ensure that you receive the most appropriate accommodation based on your needs, contact the instructor as early as possible in the quarter (preferably within the first week of class), and make sure that you have contacted the Center for Students with Disabilities (CSD) at:
Lewis Center 1420, 25 East Jackson Blvd.
Phone number: (312)362-8002
Fax: (312)362-6544
TTY: (773)325.7296