What does it mean if a film is "in development?"

Development defined:

Before filming can begin and before planning can get started, a filmmaker must define their idea, the story and project they want to create.

Development includes:

  1. Brainstorm and develop ideas
  2. Determining what actors and crew will be required
  3. Deciding who will direct the film
  4. Determining the market for the film (Will it be entered into SEVAs or some other competition or event?)
  5. Determining a schedule and budget
  6. Research content material related to the project
  7. Research visual and audio ideas for the project
  8. Research other videos, films, and works of art for ideas on the use of location to enhance the film's ideas, goals, and themes
  9. Research visual imagery from works of art and other videos and movies
  10. Research and develop ideas related to sound design from other videos, movies, and audio works
  11. Research ideas related to lighting from other videos, movies, and works of art
  12. Research ideas related to editing styles
  13. Pitch idea to instructor (and submit written materials for approval)
  14. Instructor approves or rejects idea and asks for clarifications or changes
  15. Writing (and rewriting) the script
  16. Submit script to instructor for approval
  17. Instructor approves or rejects ideas and asks for clarifications or changes
  18. Photograph and video "behind the scenes" footage of students at work in development and pre-production stages