22 Tips for Filmmakers

March 2, 2018

 

Welcome back! Happy March!

Today, I've got a list of 22 tips for anyone interested in filmmaking!

 

Ok, let's go!

 

1: Make the film for yourself, not anyone else. If you let the critical opinions get to you, or the picky people, you'll never make the film you love. It's your story, make sure it stays like that!

 

2: Take the extra time. If you feel that a piece of the story isn't there yet, or that a shot doesn't quite look right. Don't just say "ah well, it'll be fine!" take that little bit of time to put it straight.

 

3: Don't stay apart from the action. If you're directing, stay close and be present with the crew and actors. Staying hidden in your director's tent with your personal monitor and microphone isn't going to form connections with the people depending on you. 

 

4: Study other films. You can learn a ton from just watching a lot of movies. Angles, Dialogue, Lighting, and so much more!

 

5: The story is everything! Gear is just a tool to help you achieve your vision in an efficient, and timely fashion. But when it really comes down to it, it's the story that truly counts. If you have a cellphone camera but an amazing script, you're golden. 

 

6: Collaborate! Having a second or third opinion can sometimes save the day. Wether it's a difficult line or a camera angle, more heads together often solves the problem.

 

 

7: Limits are ok. If you're working off of little or no budget, don't let the limitations this presents become an obstruction. Work with the resources you've got, you can do a lot with very little!

 

8: Show friends and family your work. Honest feedback is one of the most important resources you have! Tell them to be honest, what worked, what fell flat. Take that information and use it next time!

 

9: A film is written three times. This is something you hear often in relation to the filmmaking process. And it's true! First, you write the script. Then when the film is shot, very often a lot of things change. Finally, the editing process affects it the most since actually writing the story. So be flexible! If something is working out better on set or in the editing room then it did in the script, don't turn it down simply to stick with your original story. Sometimes it really is just better!

 

10: Use the locations you have access to. They might look uninteresting or normal to you because you live near them. But look at it from a strangers perspective! That boring field, alleyway, or garage might be the coolest place to shoot!

 

11: On the subject of locations, always make sure you have permission to shoot first. Running into legal stuff is the last thing you need, especially just starting out! Unless it's a public space, or owned by you or someone you know and has given you access, then make sure to check first! 

 

12: Lighting! It might sound simple, but good lighting can really change your scene! So brush up on a few tips or tricks before production, books, videos etc. It could save you a headache in post!

 

13: Put together a "mood board" or "style board" that consists of concept images either pulled from online or taken yourself. This can really help you get an idea of the feel you want your film to have.

 

14: Does your production require money, but you just don't have the funds out-of-pocket? Try fundraising! Sites like Kickstarter or Indiegogo are both amazing outlets for this.

 

15: Keep an organized script. Assign certain colors to things like sound effects, angles, or other elements. Highlight them in the script with their designated colors to avoid confusion when shooting or editing.

 

16: Submit to film festivals! Once you've completed your film, and if you feel confident about it. Try sending it out to a few festivals! You really never know, and you might even win some cash!

 

17: Staying organized is very important! Wether it's in pre-production, while shooting, or in the editing stage. Maintaining a solid level of organization is extremely good practice. It'll save you a lot of stress in the long term.

 

18: Stay positive! Shoot days can be long and difficult, but maintaining a calm and collected attitude is key! It will not only help you, but also anyone else relying on you.

 

19: Using royalty free music is a must! Unless you have direct permission from an artist to use their song in your movie, you'll have to go the royalty free route. There are tons of sites out there though! Incompetech is one I use frequently. Pond5 and Epidemic Sound are two other solid options.

 

20: If you can, visit the locations you plan to shoot at before you do. Take pictures! Videos! Make drawings! It's very important to have references like this when you're planning a shoot. Especially for things like blocking scenes. 

 

21: Make sure your actors and crew are comfortable and that everyone has access to food and water. Keeping everyone fed and hydrated is one of the most important parts of the process. 

 

22: And finally, just get out there, make a movie, and have fun. There are so many elements and pieces that go into making films. You often forget about the simple fact of enjoying the process. That's why you're doing this after all! Forgetting to have fun and just relax sometimes is a dangerous thing, and one that I think most filmmakers probably experience. So just chill! You're making a film! There's nothing better.

 

Thank you for reading! I hope this post has been able to assist with any questions or concerns that young filmmakers might have. It's a wonderful thing making movies! If you have any further questions please feel free to comment below and I'll get back to you as soon as I can!

If you'd like to receive these posts in your inbox twice a week, you can subscribe to my mailing list here, or using the box below. And I'll be back on Monday with more! 

 

Have a great weekend, stay safe, and be kind <3

 

-Tobias

 

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