This chapter provides an overview of the processes of project development and preproduction. A reminder before we get started: safety concerns need to be built into the planning of any production. In the case of dramatic films, the foundation of a production is its script, and the basis for a script is a story. Therefore, the development of a project requires that we first find a compelling story. Of course, many screenplays are based on facts, while others are adapted from works of fiction or drawn from the original ideas of the screenwriter. Each of these sources of dramatic material carries legal considerations. We examine many varieties of story adaptation, covering a number of aspects of copyright law along the way, including the notion that works whose copyright has expired fall into the public domain. More legal issues arise when we wish to commission or acquire rights to a screenplay. The discussion of these rights covers some basic concepts that will turn up repeatedly in legal documents. The chapter concludes by laying out the work that needs to be done during preproduction, from location scouting to casting, and offering a sample schedule for the process.