The Case for Making-Of Movie Features

Watching movies made me fall in love with film, but it was when I watched the making-of features for movies that I fell in love with filmmaking.


Nathanael Molnar

2 years ago | 3 min read

Movies are pure magic. Somehow through the combination of sound and sight, a progression of still images is able to evoke something deep and powerful within us. The concept of movies shouldn’t work, or be as effective as they are, and yet somehow it can all come together perfectly.

The beautiful thing about movies is that it’s supposed to be an experience. You lock into this world, and you live with these characters for two hours. You’re not supposed to be thinking about how they pulled off this shot, or what went into creating this visual effect — the film simply washes over you as you take it all in.

Watching movies made me fall in love with film, but it was when I watched the making-of features for movies that I fell in love with filmmaking.

As a kid, watching these making-of features for my favorite films blew me away. No longer was I think about movies as an isolated, self-contained thing; I was now thinking about every single element that went into creating the final product.

Movie were no longer the mystical unicorn found in the forest; they were now a creation, a product of many, something constructed.

Making-of features made me think critically of the films I watched. It changed the way I viewed movies. For the first time, I saw the people behind the camera, and it made me want to become one of them.

Watching something like the Appendices for The Lord of the Rings is absolutely incredible, as they spend hours and hours and hours pouring through every single little part that went into crafting such an epic trilogy. Watching how they made those movies makes you only appreciate the final product even more.

Nowadays, however, making-of features are going away. Fewer and fewer new releases have them. They were initially part of the home video package, in order to sell more DVDs and make their purchase more enticing. But now that we’re moving away from physical media and further into streaming, there is less of a need for them.

These features take time, money, and resources to produce. It’s time, money, and resources well spent in my opinion, but nobody pays $17 a month for a streaming service in order to watch special features; they pay it to watch the actual content. (Well, maybe nobody except me)

For these services, continuing to create making-of features doesn’t make much sense on paper, but I believe these features are crucial to the survival of the industry.

Lifting the curtain and showing the world how these movies are produced inspires new filmmakers. I watched how they made my favorite movies and thought, “I want to do that!” We need more people passionate not just about movies themselves, but the craft of making movies.

In this age of streaming, the craft of filmmaking is the biggest thing at risk of going away. Movies themselves aren’t going anywhere, but what we stand to see going forward is an assembly line approach to movie making, eliminating the creative drive that makes movies magical in the first place. Many would say we’re already seeing this happen.

Movies cannot survive merely as formulas constructed in boardrooms. X + Y + Z can’t conjure the magic of the movies. What it ultimately comes down to is creative vision, passion, and the drive to make the best film possible. Movies are not something a computer can spit out; movies inherently come from the vast creativity of the minds of human beings.

The film industry needs making-of features. They need to show everyone how these movies come to be. How did they pull off this elaborate special effect? What’s the story behind how this talent got involved. How did this writer come up with the story?

Lifting the curtain and showing the world the people behind the magic of the movies will only invite more people in to join the rest backstage.


Created by

Nathanael Molnar

I am an independent filmmaker and critic







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