Apparently in Hollywood - the way a film goes from inception to creation is usually like this.
Even before a script is written a writer or marketing exec will pitch to the studio. This is usually a 3 minute synopsis - like so
"This is an adaption of frankenstein where Tom cruise is a tennis coach who has an accident and loses his wife. In order to resurrect her he has to steal body parts along with his inept but happening assistant, Jack Black etc..."
If the studio like the pitch they'll get you to write a treatment which is just an extension of the pitch.
They'll start the wheels in motion and they'll get an a-cast, a b-cast and a c-cast ready by talking to everyone's agents.
If the studio like the treatment they may give the treatment to a writer who will make the first draft of the script. If they don't like your script they may ask you to rewrite, or get someone in to rewrite it either with you or without you.
Now you may write the best, most interesting, most well written story in the world but if an exec gets involved chances are they'll want to make their mark on the process and that means they'll ask for some changes - it could be something like "i don't think you should call the character this, there's already a character with the same beginning letter and it might confuse the audience" or "you don't need this section here where Sala and Indy talk about the pit - just go straight from one action scene to another" or "can you get rid of that character and replace them with a talking monkey"... and so on.
Now to me, whilst it has some practical benefits at the start - everyone on the production team has a clear vision of where things are going to go so they can get the ball rolling with set design and so on - it seems to rarely result in good films - and it only seems that the films which have a solid script written before production and pitching that retain some semblance of coherence.
It seems a terrifically unpleasant and uncreative way of writing.
First that a certain sector of hollywood only seem to want to give the public things they've seen before repackaged.
And secondly stories (and maybe more importantly characters) become relegated to second place behind special effects.
But the most frustrating thing about this - is that it seems to work. If you take something like the abomination that was Transformers 2 - likened to sitting in a washing machine for 2 hours by one critic - the public seem to lap them up.
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