If you are reading this article, there is a good chance you are either interested in filmmaking, or you want to take a further step and produce your first film.
As many other fields, it is mandatory that one loves the filmmaking process in order to produce a good project. Here are 10 things to consider when you decide to produce your first film:
1. Day One
There is a quote, which says “day one or one day”, and I would say choose the latter. There is no better way to learn about filmmaking than getting your hands dirty making films. You don’t have to start big, you only need to know your story, grab your camera and start filming.
Knowledge about how to improve your skills will follow eventually.
2. Story is King
Story is the center of any film. As Casey Neistat puts it: “Story is king. Everything else is slave to story”. It should be translated into words as a form of a script.
No matter what filmmaking gear you have, without a good story that engages your audience, things might go wrong. On the contrary, having a good story will make your technical flaws forgivable and even unnoticed.
3. Everyone Has a Camera
You already have a camera. It’s been in your pocket this whole time. Therefore, if you don’t have a budget to purchase a professional camera, then use what you have, simply your phone! You can still take good shots with your phone. Lots of films and vlogs were shot using phones. I, personally, used a Samsung galaxy S4 to shoot my first video.
4. Sound is Key
The best video is not what looks good but also the one that has a good quality of sound. The built-in microphones on cameras don’t usually sound good because of background noise. In order to have a good sound quality, you’ll have to place the camera close to the person speaking. As an alternative, you can buy an external microphone. It is also a great idea to add copyright-free music for a better emotional engagement
Lighting during the day is not same as lighting during night times. If you have a good studio light then you may choose when to shoot depending on the script. If you, however, don’t have the right equipment then you can schedule your shooting during the day since you’ll have access to outdoor light, which is the sun. When shooting indoors, light the rooms well enough or film close to a big window.
You want to make sure to keep your phone or camera steady while shooting. Also, avoid zooming in and out so that the quality of your video does not degrade. You can always find solutions if you have a budget like buying a tripod. Instead, you can use some simple hacks like holding the phone or camera on top of a table. One trick I used while shooting an interview is to use a selfie stick.
Acting is about feeling the role. When it comes to looking for casts and holding an audition, It is undeniable that having bad actors can ruin your film, even if the story is good. Part of being a good actor is having the skills and passion to fight for the film, so you might as well look for young, talented actors and actresses that are motivated to be in your film. If You don’t have the budget to hire them, your friends and family members can be useful too.
8. Quality Over Quantity
It doesn’t matter if your film is one hour long, or even five minutes. In fact, one major rule in filmmaking states that less is more. It’s great to have a short video that tells the story with fewer good clips than have a long video that includes useless footage or even low quality shots. In short, you can still tell a story, inspire, and change things with short films.
9. It Is Okay to Follow
Whether you’re a fan of a filmmaker or one typical YouTube star, it is a good idea to follow their paths & provide yourself with a source of motivation for your future production.
Ultimately, you’ll find that style which is suitable for you and serves the one story you want to share with your future audience.
There are tons of websites and books where you can learn about filmmaking. However, always remember to put what you learn into practice, because without practice, you won’t achieve much with theorical input.
10. Distribute and Network
Now that your film is ready, you need to focus on that last step: distribution!
You didn’t produce your film to watch it alone. Therefore, you have to share it with the public and wait for their feedback. You can upload your film to free platforms such as Youtube or Vimeo. Furthermore, network & submit to festivals. They might be seeking for films like yours to screen for free to their audience.