How Are Sci Fi Movies Made

What is Sci-Fi?

Sci-fi is short for science fiction, a genre of storytelling that combines elements of science and technology with speculation, fantasy and far-reaching themes. Its power to captivate lies in its ability to create imaginative worlds and stories that explore the limits of what is possible. Sci-fi movies often explore themes of exploration and discovery, disconnection and alienation, and idealize distant times and places. They allow us to be transported to worlds beyond our own, often quite drastically so.

Sci-Fi Movie Making Process

Making a sci-fi movie requires a dreamy yet meticulous approach. It’s a process that merges story-telling and science/technology and involves collaboration from many different areas such as set design, costume design, visual effects, music and editing. This rich theme can entice viewers to watch some of the most thought-provoking movies, ones that trigger emotions and create an almost otherworldly atmosphere.
The basic steps of the process involve formatting the script, from sketch to full treatment; developing the plot and characters; building the sets; writing the score; and finally, incorporating digital and visual effects.

Script and Story Development

From screenplays and story treatments to conceptual drawings, script and story development is the foundation of the sci-fi movie-making process. Writers spend hours composing, creating and polishing the story and plot lines, ensuring the right balance between the expansive universe and the gripping story telling. After the script is fully formed, teams of professionals tackle it to build sets, special effects, score and sound.

Set Design

The look and feel of a sci-fi movie comes down to its set design. Usually, the writer has to define sets and locations precisely before construction begins. Sci-fi set design is often highly detailed: ranging from dreamlike images depicting future cities to meticulous depictions of ever-changing landscapes.
Also, as the audience becomes increasingly sophisticated, it’s important to make sure the set design reflects the time and place of the story. For example, if it takes place in a future or an alternative universe, then the sets and props must be believable yet adds to the ‘alien-ness’ of the overall environment.

Visual Effects and Special Effects

After the sets are built, special effects (SFX) and digital effects (VFX) bring the story and characters to life, converting sketches and concepts into realistic shots. Visual effects bring stories to life and are often required for a movie’s success; without them, it would be impossible to recreate some of the more fantastical settings and characters.
These effects are created primarily by skilled and tech-savvy artists using computers and motion-capture techniques. Even some of the most experienced directors often find themselves being instructed by the technical professionals, who can manipulate the physical environment before shooting then use computers to adjust and improve settings afterwards.


The process of bringing all the pieces of the puzzle together and integrating them into one smooth narrative is the defining characteristic of editing. In sci-fi movies with grandiose settings, editing goes beyond the pacing of scenes or cutting out unnecessary scenes to include stitching together bits of movie magic.
The purpose here is synthesis: to put together the parts that have already been shot, wether it’s through actors, special effects, visual effects, music, or all three combined. With editing comes fine-tuning, perfecting and even enriching the story. As a result, this is an incredibly important stage for any movie.


Music in sci-fi movies has often been focused on the ethereal feeling it creates. Many music scores edge away from recognizable forms of music and use more dream-like, atmospheric sounds that evoke a feeling of the unknown. While so much of the work to create sci-fi movies is done visually, music remains an essential part as it creates a feeling of immersion and helps viewers feel as if they are in a deeper world.


Once the movie is complete, it’s time to promote the film to get it out to the world. Modern movie promotion often uses the latest technology, such as virtual reality, podcasts, interactive games and so on, to reach wider audiences. Promotion is a big part of sci-fi culture and has been used to great effect.

Marketing Techniques

Filmmakers use a variety of marketing techniques to raise interest in their films. Pre-release screenings, trailers and featurettes, advertising campaigns and online media can create curiosity and generate a wide audience for the movie. Additionally, movies often take part in conventions and film festivals to showcase their films to wider audiences and potential investors.


Making a sci-fi movie is a complex process that requires a comprehensive understanding of storytelling, set design, visual and special effects, music and promotional strategies. The sci-fi genre provides a unique opportunity to extend the boundaries of our imaginations, as it allows us to explore new environments, science and technology, and ideas of what could be possible. Movies in this genre are a masterful combination of art and technology that enable us to escape reality and experience an entirely different world.

Vicki Strouth is a life-long film enthusiast, having grown up watching classic cinema in her childhood. She has since gone on to pursue writing about films and movie news, with her work being published on various online platforms. She is passionate about supporting independent filmmakers and highlighting important stories from around the world. She has also written a successful book about classic movies from Hollywood's Golden Age era. Vicki currently lives in Seattle, where she continues to explore films of all genres and eras.

Leave a Comment