A few years ago, I decided I was going to make a film.
Being fairly optimistic, I turned up with just a camera and costume – and a beard that I wasn’t terribly keen on.
I had my shooting list for the first day which covered three scenes of about 2 minutes each. Easily done thought I. The whole hour of film should be ready in a matter of weeks and the beard could come off.
When I actually finished, it was two and a half years later – and I had learnt some valuable lessons. I have listed the main ones below.
MY 14 FILM MAKING COMMANDMENTS
1. All I had was a camera and myself, and for a first go, it was enough.
2. A good location is essential. It is the foundations of your film. If your location is good, it will help everything. If it doesn’t quite fit your script, it will undermine everything.
3. Leaving the house to go and film yourself is one of the hardest things I have known – and it never got easier. Accept this! The sense of accomplishment at the end of the shoot was always exhilarating.
4. Rehearse the shoot properly – including filming a walk through somewhere easy like your back garden. I could have saved myself days of re-shoots and re-edits by doing this.
5. Keep writing and filming – you will get a feel for it.
6. Simple technical rule: Each shot of the same scene should be at least at a 30 degree angle from the others. Google this as I can’t explain it very well!
7. Simple technical rule: Don’t cross the line. Google this as I can’t explain it very well!
8. Apply the photographic rule of putting the subject of the shot one third into the frame. Google this as I can’t explain it very well!
9. When it comes to editing, trim as much as you can.
10. When it comes to the “final cut” be happy to cut out scenes that took a lot of money and time to film!
11. Google as much information as you can, but don’t worry about it too much.
12. Use a costume that can be easily replaced for continuity.
13. Be brave and get other other people to feedback throughout the entire process.
14. Finish it!
THINGS I’D DO DIFFERENTLY NEXT TIME:
1. Concentrate more on narrative.
2. Have a clearer idea of the target audience.
3. Use more characters.
4. Don’t start filming with a beard that you don’t really want.
In summary, all I can say is, do it!
And keep doing it until you are done.
Because when you are done, you will have done something amazing.
IN A NUTSHELL
You’re going to need the basic kit:
Then, you’ll need the specific props:
And very importantly, you’ll need a location:
And when you’ve got a first draft, you’ll need some friendly critics:
(If you want to have a look at my efforts, visit http://www.thesillyseasons.com and watch the trailer.)