10 Tips for Beginner Filmmakers

When you first get started with filmmaking, it’s easy to be overwhelmed by all of the things that go into making a film. In this post I’m sharing some things that you need to know if you’re just starting out!

1. Have a Positive Attitude

The first tip is all about your attitude towards filmmaking, and this is a really important one, which is why I’ve put it right at the top of the list.
Essentially the thing to remember here is that, your first film isn’t gonna be amazing. That is a fact. You kind of just have to get it out-of-the-way and get that practise under your belt, and I think that’s the most important thing.

As you’re making a film, sure people might criticise you, sure you might watch it and say, “This really isn’t as good as I’d hoped.” But that is absolutely fine because it’s all learning. I can’t guarantee that you’ll make a good film, but I can guarantee that you’ll make a lot of progress in terms of how much you know about filmmaking. So that is my encouragement, that you should just get out there and do it because you will learn tons.

2. Learn from the Internet

How can we learn more about filmmaking? Luckily there is a huge online resource for learning about every single stage of filmmaking. You can view websites like these, go to different YouTube channels to get information or inspiration, and many more things.

3. Learn Story Telling, Audio, Lighting, Story Telling

You’ve got all the information you need on your fingertips, but where do you start? If you wanna improve your filmmaking skills, then firstly, you should look out for things to do with story telling, and learn as much about it.
Then move onto audio, audio is hugely important in filmmaking.
And then lighting. This is often overlooked.

And then go back to story telling and learn even more about it. No one can ever learn enough about story telling, there will always be a lot more to learn.

4. Recreate Other Work

How do you actually get started?

Everything can seem a little bit daunting when you suddenly realise you need scripts, actors, and all that kind of stuff. A really good way to start out, is to find a photograph or a screenshot from a movie you like, or a whole scene from a movie, and then you do everything you can, to recreate that as closely as possible. You’d have to look at the lighting, look at the sound, and this will really teach you a lot about how the professionals that were behind that original, managed to achieve that. And I’m pretty sure you’ll learn a lot from doing that.

5. Do a Wide Range of Projects

Do as many projects as you can. Over the time you would be doing a new project, you’d be learning new stuff, so it’s really beneficial to just get out there and film different things or scenes. Do documentaries, music videos, short films, etc, just do as much as you can, and you’ll find the stuff you really enjoy, and the stuff you’re really good at.

6. Set Yourself Up for Success

Preparation is key. Spending just a bit more time in pre-production and planning out exactly what you’re going to do can not only save you lots of time on set and make your life a whole lot easier, but it will also most likely result in a much better film in the end. You don’t have to be too careful about how much time you spend pre-production but do just think about how much planning you have done and if you’re ready, because if you get a good idea and script before hand and have good planning, its likely to be a lot better, where as If you have a very quick rushed idea to begin with, etc, then there’s only so much you can do to improve it.

7. Don’t worry about equipment

Do your best to just not worry about equipment. It’s so easy to get into this mindset that “Oh I really wanna do this project but I’ll wait till I get a new camera because then it’ll look a lot better” but at this stage you wanna totally forget about that. It is very possible to make an extremely good film without very much equipment. I have seen films with a lot of equipment, that weren’t any good, so really at this stage I would just say, number one thing is to just get out there and do it. Don’t worry about the next big equipment because that will really just slow you down. If you wanna be great, you need to just get out there, and film as much stuff as possible.

8. Locations

If you’re just starting out, and you’re a small production, then it is actually very easy to find good locations to film in. The good thing about being small budget, and non professional is that you can pretty much just ask someone who owns a big area or a restaurant or pretty much anything you can think of. If you just go up and ask, then chances are, they will let you film there without any costs or permits. Now obviously this does vary depending on where you live. A quick phone call or  meeting up and asking them always goes a really long way.

9. Always Keep it Short

When you’re editing, always try to make it as short as possible. Shorten it down as much as possible. That’s the way they do it in Hollywood and that’s the way you need to do it to have viewers on YouTube, because really, people will thank you when your film doesn’t just drag out and play really slowly. Now obviously there are times where you can play your film a little bit slower, but it seems to me that almost every single beginner filmmaker tends to have a film play out for too long, so when in doubt, just cut it down and make it shorter.

10. Success Requires Patience

Many people think they may become professionals straight away, or they may think they’ll get lots of recognition online. Just remember, every film you make is extremely valuable FOR YOURSELF because you are improving and you’re working towards a stage where you can become great. It is important to remember to not be discouraged.

Some extra tips

I cannot stress on this enough, but just make as many films as you can. This is really important. If you wanna be a filmmaker you need to just get out there and do it. Because sometimes we really need a little kick to say “Get on with it” and “Stop watching videos about how to make them.”
Every time you make a new film, it will be a huge learning experience for you, and it really is the way to work your way up to getting a good demo reel, to getting hired, you never know how it’s gonna work out!

10 thoughts on “10 Tips for Beginner Filmmakers

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