Have you ever thought about making your own movie but don’t know where to begin? Look no further as these tips are sure to aid you in your movie making career.
If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.
Filmmaking is hard. What you see on the screen only shows you a fraction of the time and effort that is actually put into making a full-length film. It takes patience and meticulous planning to transport a script to the silver screen (or any screen for that matter).
Take it nice and easy. Filmmaking is a marathon, not a race. So, plan accordingly and focus on the essentials:
- Is my script the absolute best that it can be?
- How and where am I going to film this movie?
- Do I have the budget?
That’s all even before you start thinking about hiring actors. You can have all the passion and commitment in the world, but without a solid plan your film could be stuck in production hell. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither are films.
Know the equipment like the back of your hand.
You don’t need the latest cameras and equipment to produce a quality film. However, you do need good knowledge on the equipment you have available. It’s the 21st century and short films can be filmed, edited and distributed on tablets and phones.
When you get your hands on a decent camera, take the time to learn every function and setting. This will allow you to be more creative and experimental with your shots. What’s the use of a tool if you don’t know how to use it effectively?
Location, Location, Location
I cannot stress this enough, location matters. A lot. Not only does a good filming location help your actors get into the mind-set of their characters, it also provides film connotation and adds production value.
Nothing you see in a film is there by accident, everything has value and meaning (Everything). So, it is vital that you select the right location for your movie. Search far and wide, scout areas and make certain that you can film there. This means checking whether you need permission or if it’s public property. But be reasonable with shooting locales, sometimes less is more and more is less.
See no errors, hear no errors.
What usually separates amateur filmmakers and good filmmakers is the quality of sound and lighting in their films. Keep in mind that you can’t trust your senses, just because a scene looks and sounds good in person doesn’t mean it got captured that way on camera.
Avoid taking short cuts and never assume that you can fix a scene in post-production, otherwise you’ll just be giving the editors a hard time. Learn to see and hear with the camera, invest in good headphones and lighting equipment. This attention to detail will elevate your filmmaking skills.
Keep everyone on their toes.
You’re going to be working with all kinds of people, each having different backgrounds and experiences, so don’t be a stranger and get them involved.
The dynamic of the cast and crew is the backbone of any good film, so it’s important that everyone on set stays productive and positive. There is no “I” in team and you can’t carry the weight of making a film on your own. Surrounding yourself with individuals who are just as eager and passionate as you makes all the difference in the movie making business.
Take a step back (sometimes).
Making a film is stressful. You’ll be working crazy hours so there’s no doubt that it will get to you sooner or later.
Learn to take 5 once in a while- it would be pointless to continue filming if the only thing on your mind was the warmth and comfort of your bed. Take your mind away from the film, relax, and take it easy. I promise things will work out better once you’ve got a clear head.
Don’t be afraid to improvise and take risks.
You have your plan; you’re motivated and your mind is set on completing this film. But something goes wrong, an actor forgets their line, or a cameraman misses their mark. Embrace it!
Some of the best things in life come unexpectedly, so don’t shy away from it. Keep the camera rolling and embrace the creative accidents, some of the best lines in movie history were completely improvised (Jaws, The Shining). Now get out there and make some movie magic.
Would you start a career in film making?
Text: Nathaniel Nikles
Images: Canon, Independent Magazine, buzzadelic, Straight.com, Vimeo, Motion Picture Arts and Sciences