Lights, camera and action has to be the life any filmmaker gets used to once he or she decides to jump into the world of movie-making. However, while most people think the film business is simply about using one or two lights, staying behind the camera while the actors do their thing, having a budget that will yield profit or just shouting “Action” from time to time, this is really not the case.
When you really explore the filmmaking world, you will realise that there are several things that are not even taught in film school and would have to learn on the job if you do not want to be an absolute pro that many filmmakers will look up to.
To prepare you for all eventualities ahead, we thought it wise to create a list of things all aspiring filmmakers must note once they decide to take filmmaking up as a profession. Therefore, if you are new to filmmaking and you wish to avoid costly beginner mistakes, see the Vital Things Future Filmmakers Must Know Before Venturing Into Nollywood.
1. Things Never Go As Planned:
Be aware, it does not matter how much planning you put into the job, things never really go as you plan them, and there are a lot of fluctuations to be expected. Note that your best trait as a filmmaker will always be your resilience to cope with the unexpected, so as to deliver a successful movie project at all times.
2. Filmmaking Is A Joint Effort:
The reality is that while it is key to remain unique in any sector you find yourself in, you cannot afford to avoid the required synergy between different departments involved in a movie project.
Even when it is very hard to work with those you are collaborating with, as a filmmaker, it is compulsory to learn how to make it work in the end. Filmmaking is never something you can do on your own, every helping hand is important.
3. Do Not Postpone What Can Be Fixed On Set To Post-Production:
“This can be fixed in post-production,” is never a wise thing to say as a filmmaker. In fact, it has to be one of the biggest mistakes a filmmaker cannot afford to make. Be aware that movie editors are not magicians, so there will always be a limit to the things they can fix while they do their work. Therefore, if you can shoot it on set, it is best to avoid any postponements that will end up being costly.
4. Do Not Play With Sound:
When I say all departments are key to delivering a fantastic movie project, sound has to be one of the most important ingredients that make a tasty movie. The fact that several up-and-coming filmmakers often overlook this aspect of filmmaking is the reason why they always end up shortchanging themselves and their projects.
Except it is a Charlie Chaplin type of project, sound has to be king. In fact, people agree that having the right sound is even more crucial than a good visual when it comes to movie making.
5. Sell The Right Stories:
Several uprising filmmakers tend to adore the idea of filmmaking, but most of them end up getting caught in the web of visual aesthetics and they quickly forget that the primary objective is to always tell the right story.
This should never be the case if you want to be successful in the filmmaking business. A good story has to be your focus at all times if you wish to have your desired impact in any movie industry.
Important Things Filmmakers Ought To Know Before Making Their First Movies:
Launching your first feature is a big deal. Some believe the toughest challenge is having an idea that is worth pursuing or convincing others that the idea is gold, while others feel the logistics of production remain the main obstacle.
Whatever side of the divide you are on, the fact remains that preparation is very key if you want to be successful at bringing any movie project to life. To make the process less complicated, see tips that can help you get it right:
1. Choose A Short Film Over A Commercial:
Ask around, the main attraction of any good film is great storytelling. A good story is actually non-negotiable if you wish to connect with an audience on a deep and emotional level. Even if we have lots of brilliantly-written commercials with an apt narrative structure, the fact is that there are better routes to flaunt your storytelling skills.
Filmmakers who wish to make features are aware that a body of work is required to prove to producers that they have what it takes. Many prefer to shoot commercials because they are quicker and more affordable, but top Hollywood producer, Jeff Waxman advises filmmakers to not go down this route.
According to him, it is best for talents to look for the right narrative idea and make a short film. It is still brief and more affordable than a feature, but there is a bigger avenue for depth in a narrative short film compared to other alternatives.
Other alternatives might be attractive too, but they rarely sell your ability to tell your story as a short film would. Jeff added that producing, directing and writing a short film is definitely the best way to get noticed.
2. Pitch Your Work:
No idea is great enough to be brought to life if the owner of the idea is not able to communicate it efficiently, effectively and with a lot of passion. You simply have to always pitch that project and feel absolutely confident about your work.
If you are a shy person or you just generally run away from public speaking, you just cannot be a filmmaker. Until you are a big name in the movie industry, it is your duty to help people understand what you are selling and why they should buy into it.
Never underestimate the importance of communicating your story and vision to potential investors. It has worked for a lot of talented filmmakers in the past, and it is still working.
3. Be Confident In Your Material:
Apart from pitching confidently, it is also important to always be passionate about your work. If you have created something you know will appeal to viewers, then it has to be easy to prove it while you pitch. If you do not feel confident in what you have created, no one will take you seriously.
Sometimes, even experienced directors fail to close a movie deal because they failed to convince. The movie might be great, but if you do not have the ability to talk about it and get people excited, it will not get the attention it deserves.
Speaking and convincing people about your materials is simply a skill you have to master to make your desired impact in any movie industry.
4. Collaborate With The Right People:
The people you decide to surround yourself with while working on a film play a major role in how it turns out eventually, therefore it is very important to be surrounded by those you trust to help make your work better.
Go for innovative, talented and hardworking professionals. Roll with people whose drive matches yours because that is the only way you can all be on the same page to deliver the desired quality to the viewers. You also need partners you can absolutely rely on because any lack of reliability can derail the course of the project when you least expect.
You need people who believe in you just as much as you believe in them too because this is the kind of mentality required to achieve the type of success you work so hard for. Like minds think alike is what they say.
5. Chase Your Passion:
It might sound too obvious, but you have to always remember that only you can be passionate about what you do, because no one else will do it on your behalf. Therefore, when you think about making your first feature film, bear in mind that authenticity is key. Your passion for the job must be felt in every scene you shoot, every script you write and every pitch you deliver.
Do not do anything to impress producers, instead, do something that you feel very confident about. Ensure it is done with emotion and top acting skills as well, not the unnecessary gimmicks.
Filmmakers Must Learn To Plan:
Every idea starts in your head, but the mental work never ends there. After getting that story you believe will have the right impact in your movie industry, it is now time to turn that vision into words, which is where a script comes in.
After writing the script, you will then need actors who fit specific roles, and then crew members should be hired to bring the project to life. As you can see, all of these steps require proper planning to be successful, so you must be ready to write down your plan from the start to take the right steps to success.
From your crew’s outfits to camera angles to actor choices, everything requires a careful thought process to work. If you ever feel you can quit planning and figure something out during production, you are so wrong.