Film Making Tips


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Film Making Tips

  1. 1. 1
  2. 2. Click here for Film School Secrets - A Private Membership Site Offering ExclusiveTips, Advice, And Strategies From Top Film School Grads On How To Launch YourFilmmaking Career.Click here for a Independent Filmmaking Ebook: How To Make A Movie With A Very,Very, Low Budget. A Guide To Making An Independent Film With Very Little Money. 2
  3. 3. FilmMaking Tips by Wolfgang Lee 3
  4. 4. © Treasures Beyond Measure 2011 4
  5. 5. Table of ContentsWhat Exactly Is Film Making?..................................................................................................................6Filmmaking: In The Beginning..................................................................................................................8What About Film Making Finance?...........................................................................................................9Your Enemy In A Feature Film Budget...................................................................................................10What About Investing In Film Making?..................................................................................................11How To Produce Your Own Film Making Endeavor..............................................................................13Promoting Your Film...............................................................................................................................14What Are The Top Five Film Making Producer Skills?..........................................................................155 Tips To Creating The Best Feature Film Ever......................................................................................16Following The Schedule Of Film Maker Success...................................................................................17Best Time Of Year To Shoot Your Feature Film.....................................................................................19Getting Your Next Feature Film Script Off The Ground.........................................................................20Finding A Location Or Your Film...........................................................................................................21Protecting Legal Rights During Filming Your Feature Film...................................................................22Ensuring The Success Of Your Feature Film With Actors......................................................................23What About Internships In Film Making?...............................................................................................25Is Professional Equipment Necessary To Create A Feature Film?..........................................................26Tell Me About Film Making Equipment Rental......................................................................................28Recording Your Next Feature Film With Professional Results...............................................................29Is Software Necessary In Feature Film Creation?....................................................................................31Where To Spend Money When Creating A Feature Film........................................................................33To Show Or Not To Show – Deciding If Your Feature Film Should Be Shared....................................35What About Film Making And The Internet?..........................................................................................36Film Festivals And The Filmmaker.........................................................................................................37What About The Cannes Festival And Film Making?.............................................................................39 5
  6. 6. What Exactly Is Film Making?I guess the word speaks for itself, film making is the process of making a film from a story idea youhave yourself, or being hired by another to make a film. A film maker is in charge of script writing,shooting, editing and distribution to the public. Film making involves the employment of a largenumber of people and, at times, it has taken several years to complete. This is dependent upon thecomplexity of the subject, and the problems that come up while film making.The stages of film making are:1. Development- The script is written and formatted into a workable guide for the film.2. Pre-production- This is preparing for shooting the film, crew and cast are hired, locations are chosen,and the sets are built.3. Production- The film maker shoots the film in its entirety.4. Post-production- The film is edited, music, sound effects, and any other effects are added.5. Distribution- A distributor takes the film on, and it is shown to the public.Development: The film makers idea, or a story found by the producer, is transformed into a usablescript. This story can come from many sources books, true stories, plays, other films, etc. When thetheme is chosen, a step outline and synopsis is developed. This will break the story down into scenes ofone paragraph in length. A treatment of 25-30 pages, is then prepared, describing the mood andcharacters of the story.The screenplay is then developed, this is edited as many times as needed to make the story viable. Afilm maker may want to contact a film distributor at this time to assess the market for this type of filmto assure its financial success. Hollywood distributors may be hard to sell, and will consider genre,target audience, the success of similar films, the directors of the film, and the actors that may appear inthe film. DVD sales and distribution rights need to be taken into account. The film is then presented tofilm financiers. If they like what they see and hear from the pitch, financial backing is offered. This canbe offered from major film studios, the film council, or independent investors.Pre-production: A production company is created and an office for the company is opened. The filmcomes to life with a story board and drawn out with the help of concept artists and talented illustrators.A film budget will be comprised at this time.The film maker will hire a crew. The budget and type of film will determine the type and size of thecrew.Production: The movie is filmed, and more crew will be hired. To help manage this stage of filmmaking. The director is in charge of most of what happens on the set, but he will need to delegateresponsibility to others until the film is done. 6
  7. 7. Post production: The film is edited for time and best shots using film and a mixture of film and video.Distribution: The movie is released to theaters and duplicated according to need. Press kits, posters andother advertising materials are published to advertise the movie. A campaign to launch the film withmuch publicity is launched.The movie will succeed or fail. Profits from this are divided between the production company, and thedistributor. 7
  8. 8. Filmmaking: In The BeginningIn the years following the rise of the various social revolutions that took place in this country andabroad, the making of film changed vastly from the old world of film studio dominance to the excitingworld of independent film. In the 50s, 60s and even 70s, independent film was synonymous withUnderground film, art film, and foreign film. Simply defined, a film that is independent is a film madeoutside of the umbrella of the studio without the funding or distribution options offered.Producing a film independently has become quite popular, and this is due to the public no longer beingsatisfied with the Hollywood formula. The audiences of today have become much more sophisticatedand expect something different and new every time they sit down to watch a film. The old Hollywoodformula just doesnt cut it anymore for entertainment. It has been too predictable for film buffs. Welook for cutting edge, quirky and groundbreaking films.However, the most important aspect of independent film is that anyone with a song in their heart andthe burning desire to make a film can now do so. We have the new technologies to thank for this aswell as the publics yearning for raw footage with a gritty storyline. So this means you can achieveyour dream of making a film, and you dont have to be a big film studio to get it made. It also meansthat you have the joys of the financial headaches and creative challenges.There are three main phases of making a film: pre-production, production, and post-production. Theremight also be a 4th phase: distribution (if youre lucky). The longest phase of making a film is pre-production. This is also the most important part of the production, because it is what makes the film.Without good planning it will be difficult to get anything off the ground.While you dont really need one, it is good to have a script. So in the beginning you have to have astory, a concept, or an idea. Once you have one, you can move on to all other modes of productionplanning. Of course, there are several ways you can tell your story, but in filmmaking there are twomain classes of film. These would be the short film and the feature length film. It is usually better tostart off with a short film rather than a feature length film, and if you are a film student, you rarely havetime to produce feature length films.A professional screenplay is typically scripted for a run time of 90 minutes in three acts. Each act isapproximately 30 pages long, and each page is the screen equivalent of one minute. This is a timingconsideration that is more typical of the American film industry than it is of the rest of the world filmmaking community. European films have less restrictions concerning film length. Rather, they havethe tendency to let the film unfold and tell itself, allowing however much time it takes to tell the story.Once you have written your screenplay, if you have no immediate plans for production it is best towrite a treatment, which best describes the film in a nice neat three-page write-up. These three pagesrepresent one act of your screenplay in a treatment, and is the format commonly acceptable to shopyour screenplay. Very often, this is all that gets read, and can make or break your screenplaysacceptance. However, for the independent filmmaker, all you need is a working script and you are onyour way! 8
  9. 9. What About Film Making Finance?Every film maker will reach a crossroad when they must make a decision on whether they want a full-blown career as a film maker, or they prefer to make films as a hobby. This decision usually dependsupon the film makers ability to fund or finance their own projects. Most film makers do not think aboutfinancing future projects, they usually have all of their attention on the work at hand. Any film makerneeds to acquire a knowledge of what it means to be a professional film maker, and how filminvestment works.There will be plenty of people who want to give you advice and take advantage of your ignorance onthese matters. While there are many legitimate companies, there are also those that will try to rook youout of the money you have earmarked for your film making project. A legitimate organization will notpromise you they can get you a list of potential investors. The interest in your project will determinewhether it should be presented to investors, not good fortune at running across a group of investors bychance.The legitimate consultants know that there is no money to be made in the few hundred dollars manyproducers can afford to pay for their services. Serious financial consultants dont even want apercentage of the funds earmarked for your project. While they will charge you fees for their services,their goal is to see that your project succeed and find distribution. You will want your consultant tothink of accumulated interest on the money borrowed over the course of production, and other aspectsof the financial end of the project.The most difficult thing about this will be to convince a legitimate producers financial consultant tobecome involved with your project. The investor is the key to this, you need to find someone who iswilling to invest in a high-risk film making project. You will need to know the investing criteria fromthe point of view of the investor. Below are a few film investing basics.- A film investor will usually put up about 50% of the total film cost. The film producer is responsiblefor the other 50%.- 30% to 40% should be enough to get most films made, depending on whether you will be able toconvince other end users to buy into the plan.- The investor will want to keep the budgets for the film project as low as possible. Foreign salesshould be enough to cover at least 50%.- An investment of $5 million should allow an investor to buy into several films.It can be quite difficult for the independent film maker to gain financing. Another idea on financingyour film making project is the idea of grant awards. There are many out there who will give an awardto film makers who are excited about, and believe in, their film project. You will find them by doing asearch for film making grants. Make sure you become knowledgeable about each grant, as they all havedifferent criteria for the grant giving process. 9
  10. 10. Your Enemy In A Feature Film BudgetIt is very important as you are creating feature films to understand what your enemies are. Aside fromthe obvious things like technical difficulties, you need to be aware that there are other problems thatyou can encounter which will adversely affect your budget, and possibly hurt your film as well.Knowing in advance what these problems are is critical to making sure that you are successful even ifthe problems appear. Your budget will always be prone to problems, but your worst enemy is likelyright in front of you and you are just overlooking it.If you stop and think about the various aspects of your budget, you are probably thinking aboutsalaries, and equipment plus perhaps even location fees and permits. These are all aspects that can eatat your budget, but because they are accounted for, they generally do not hurt you too badly. Thebiggest threat to the budget will be those expenses that are not accounted for. This can includeanything that you forget to include, which will undoubtedly be extremely expensive, no matter howminor it might seem.One such example of an unexpected expense could be a damage charge. If you have rented equipmentthat has managed to be damaged somehow in the shoot, you can look forward to a charge for thedamage. Additionally, if you are late returning the equipment you can look forward to a late chargebeing added onto the rental. This can often be as much as 100% of the rental costs, which will reallyimpact your budget. Looking to curb these expenses obviously means you need to stay on time foryour schedule, but it also means taking very good care of the equipment that you have rented.Many filmmakers are unaware of the need to rent a location until they have been hit with a fine. Theseexpenses have to be taken into account as well and will often throw your budget completely off track.Typically speaking it is best to save at least 10% of your budget for these unexpected expenses so afteryou are all done, you will still have some money left over. Many budgets need more than just 10% tohandle these unexpected expenses, and other budgets do not even use the whole 10%.Determining exactly how much you will need is often flexible. Typically speaking the larger yourbudget, and the more equipment you need to rent, the larger the amount that needs to be set aside forthe unexpected expenses. If you are able to avoid all of your budget overages, you will be able to savea ton of money that would otherwise be blown.Filmmakers who are working with a zero budget typically are much more careful about unexpectedexpenses. This is the type of dedication that you need to take into account anytime you are working ona film so that you can reduce costs. One way to really help keep tabs of the budget is to continuouslykeep a running tab of expenses. This will be helpful if you are starting to feel like you are getting closeto your limit. Knowing when to start getting really tight with the budget is important. You shouldalways avoid spending the unexpected budget on anything that is not considered an unexpectedexpense since the money will most likely be needed at some point. 10
  11. 11. What About Investing In Film Making?You need to practice caution when thinking of investing in film making. Many people who are quitefinancially successful, often loose their investment, when putting their money into film making.Investing in film making is exciting and glamorous, but not every film becomes a hit, and a flop canmean a huge loss for you. Never invest in anything, unless you can afford to lose the amount you haveinvested with minimal damage to your finances.The winners in the film making business have proven that they are successful, and are alreadycompletely financed. These film makers have many years of experience in the film making field. Whileit is possible to invest in film making and make money, it isnt very easy. There are several people outthere who are waiting to give you poor advice and take your well earned cash.A few quick tips to set you on the right track:1. 30% to 40% in equity should be enough to make most films if others will agree with the idea.2. Keep the budget low, foreign should cover at least 50%, 70% would be even better.3. Search for a script carefully and take your time, dont grab the first script that interests you. Youneed to make sure film makers will agree with the use of the script.4. You will need to take care of distribution with your own money, distribution is where you can makea good deal of money from your investment.5. If you invest more $5 million or more, you will be able to buy into more than one film.6. Never put up more than 50% of the total amount it will take to make the film, the producer should beable to drum up the rest, if they cant- withdraw now.7. Do not look at hit movies made by major motion picture studios as a guide. You will be workingwith independent film makers, and there are big differences.Do your homework and become knowledgeable about the workings of independent film making. Knowthe film trends that work and what is popular, and what trends will be expected to last for a year ormore. Has the film maker worked in the industry at all, if so to what extent is his expertise?While investing in film making can be quite lucrative, you should believe in the film project and theability of the film makers before you invest a dime. Meet with them to see how professional they areand what their goal is when it comes to the film project at hand. How excited are they about theproject? Do they seem like the go-getter type that will be able to see the film making project through tocompletion? Are they opposed to you visiting the set once in a while to quietly see how the film isprogressing?These are all things you should check out before you decide to invest in film making. There may be 11
  12. 12. other issues you will be concerned with, make sure you write them down while they are fresh in yourmind and bring them with you to the meeting. There is never a guarantee when it comes to investing inanything, but if you believe in the project and are satisfied with the film makers there is a good chanceyou will see a profit. 12
  13. 13. How To Produce Your Own Film Making EndeavorYou may want to start out by producing your own film, if you are up to the task. It is a great burden totake on a project, especially when you are new to the business. If you can accomplish this, you willhave a film you can show to display your commitment to a film making career.Once you decide to produce your own film, you will need the resources to make your movie. A filmgrant is one way to get the funding for your film, but it can be difficult to get this type of grant. Youwill need to know how the process works when applying for a grant. There are different types of filmgrants, money, equipment, room and board, film, music, producing, screen writing, directing or acombination of any or all of the above.Each grant giver has certain guidelines you must meet to qualify for their grant. Quite a few of themwant you to produce a documentary of some type. Many of these grant projects have been given awardsand are shown on television because they are so inspiring.The purpose of these grants are designed to help film makers who are unable to get other funding.Others do not have the money to get into a good film school, but they have the talent. These grantscreate great film makers as well as wonderful films. Some grants allow film makers to get regularfunding in the future, after they have shown what an excellent film maker they are.When a grant funder is considering a project to give to, they look for the passion the film maker has forthe project. This is the most important point of consideration when reading a grant application. Thefilm maker will carry this passion and dedication throughout the film making process, no matter howlong it takes to finish the film.The Guerrilla Filmmaking Grant was designed to encourage creative, resourceful filmmaking for artistsworking outside of the "Hollywood industry". Twice a year they award $1000 to produce, shoot, andedit a feature length film. The film maker has control over the look, feel and content of the film. ADVD release of the movie is included. The film maker keeps all rights to distribution. They alsoinclude Marketing Advice to help the film maker distribute and sell the movie. All film rights areretained by the film maker. Anyone in the world that is thinking of producing an English languagefeature film may apply for this grant.You need to go to to check out the entire grant process of thisgranter You will find all of the information you need, and all of the guidelines you must go by to applyfor this Guerrilla Filmmaking Grant. If you have any questions you can contact them.There are many places an independent film maker can apply for. Just type filmmaking grants into yourfavorite search engine and you will see what I mean 13
  14. 14. Promoting Your FilmOne thing I have learned from friends who have made independent films is that you have to startpromoting your film the minute it is complete... as a matter of fact, dont wait, as soon as you have atitle run with it. This is your baby, your little brain-child so get out there and promote. Large studioshave their own publicity departments but the little guy or gal has nothing but their reputation by wordof mouth. In order to build that rep you have to work at it and there are various tools that you haveavailable to you.Previously there were only billboards or newspapers, and later on there was the television to get theword out there about your film. These were actually fairly costly and only the studios could trulyafford these avenues. The rise of Internet has impacted marketing of independent film and the entirefilm industry as a whole. There are so many different promotional tools that it offers you, it is hard tochoose. The best thing to do is hit them all because you will need them.When you are at the beginning stages of making your film start a blog. Once you have that going andyou are making regular entries turn your attention to making a logo and then a website. The logo willcarry though to many other things but for the moment it will help in making your website cometogether visually. There are services out there that will make a logo for you but, as in all things, it isalways better if you do it yourself. The website can be made by you as well. There any number ofsites out there that offer domains and website building tools.Once you have built yourself a website then you can submit it to a search engine. Make T-shirts andhats with your film logo on them. A friend put her logo on panties and sold them. More girls boughtthose panties. These items made enough money to help her get through post-production. So, after youhave made the regular website go to Myspace and build a Myspace page for your film. After theMyspace page is done, put something up on YouTube. These are all free for the most part so takeadvantage of them. Music artists have used Myspace to promote their music and it has worked reallywell so why not use it for the purposes of promoting film.One of the more simple things you can do is to find someplace small that shows your type of film andwill be willing to let you show your film. Make some eye-catching fliers and post them at the localcollege. There is usually an area for student public postings and fliers are all over these boards.College students love to see new and different material so if you can draw them in to view your film,that is a very effective way to build a following (dare I say cult film) especially if your film is quirky.This about exhausts all the free or ultra cheap methods of promotion. Once you have your film to thepoint where you can do a premiere showing, you can consider preparing Media Kits to distribute to thelocal TV and radio stations. If you have gotten this big with your movie then you might even need apublicist. Now things are on a roll. Next stop, distribution 14
  15. 15. What Are The Top Five Film Making Producer Skills?The knowledge of film making is not enough to create a good movie producer. This quality might begood if you are a studio executive, or in any other job out of film making production. To be a goodproducer you need to develop certain skills, for you to become an independent film maker.The first and most important skill is organization. You may already have this skill, and frankly it is notan easy skill to teach or learn, but you can learn to become more organized. If you have troubleremembering where you put your wallet or the last time you had the oil changed in the car, you willneed some help in this area. Buy a book on how to get organized or take a class in organization. Dowhat you think best, but get organized.The second skill is the ability to make quick decisions. No matter how well your plans have been laid,there are a lot of gray areas and changes that can come up during filming. You will run into decisionsthat need to be made right now. You can develop this skill by realizing from the start that you are incharge, and you will be making all of the decisions, any mistakes that are made, you will be making. Ifthe decisions are wrong you will know it soon enough. As the film maker you must act decisively,accepting blame when necessary, the members of your cast and crew will go along with what you say.The third skill is the ability to be a good negotiator. You will find that you will be making decisionsabout everything on the set. Everything will usually need to be negotiated. When rates are negotiated,know the top price you can pay for any one item according to your budget. Try to lower that by 20 or30 percent by negotiation, you really need to keep yourself in the know. One thing to remember, if youdont negotiate the right price you can decline the item and look elsewhere for it.The fourth skill is one of diplomacy. Film makers need to keep a close reign on gossip and rumors.You may have to step in the middle of feuds and conflicts. The trick is to remedy the situation withouttaking sides. You need to practice diplomacy every working day.To be a great film maker, you will need to have plenty of energy. Caffeine may help you wake up inthe morning, but you will need real energy if you are going to make it through the duration of the film.You need to eat well and make sure you take vitamins to keep yourself from breaking down with thelong working days.When you have mastered these five basics of a film making producer, you will be able to use yourknowledge of the film making process and produce a great independent film. 15
  16. 16. 5 Tips To Creating The Best Feature Film EverIt is important if you are looking to create the best feature film possible that you start looking at severalmajor aspects that will have a huge impact on your final product. A feature film is not simple to make,there are numerous steps that will affect your film. Being aware of these critical steps can make youvery much aware of the possible problems, and better position you to mitigate the possible problemsbefore they arise.A script is your first line of defense towards success. A poor script will have everyone including youractors losing interest very quickly. On the other hand, a strong script will keep everyone interestedbecause the story draws them in. It is especially important to spend a lot of time developing characters.If your audience is emotionally invested in characters of your feature film they will spend more timereally paying attention to what is happening. If your characters are grossly underdeveloped, it cannegatively affect the entire movie, creating problems in holding the attention of the audience.Looking at your actors you should be able to tell that they are interested in the script. An actor who ismerely showing up and talking is not an asset to your film and can drag down the entire story. While itis true you cannot afford the ultimate Hollywood actors on an independent film budget, you should stilllook for actors passionate about your project. The results of their passion will be obvious for anyonewho is viewing the final movie. A final note about actors, always ensure you select someone who fitsthe role. There is nothing worse than watching a really bad actor attempt a role that they are not rightfor.You should spend plenty of time setting up the schedule for shooting. Always be sure to set into thescript extra days for reshoots and possible weather problems. Everyone wants to pretend that there willbe no problems when shooting their film. This is a dream that rarely ever happens though, justremember it is better to have extra days set aside that are not used, rather than run over on time andpossibly have to scrap the entire film because you are out of time. Additionally, a bit of your budgetshould be set aside for these delays as well.Edit the film in pieces rather than all at once. If you try to rush through editing and work on it all atonce you might keep a straight train of thought going, but you are also likely to become tired and startmaking minor mistakes. This can be awful because it could allow you to make a tiny mistake thatreally pulls down the entire film. Taking your time and breaking it up over several sessions will ensurethat you approach the sections with a fresh mind, and ready to really see the project. If possible, it is agood idea to wait a few days after wrapping shooting before editing so that you can approach thematerial fresh as well.Your final step is actually showing the film to get feedback and taking the feedback graciously. Nofilmmaker ever wants to be told that their film is horrible. But if your film has problems, you shouldtake the feedback that you are given and look at it against your film. Is the feedback good, or is itsomething that is just personal preference? For example, saying that your story line is a bit vaguewould be considered good feedback. Saying that your leading lady should have blond hair would be abit more preference usually. Being aware of the feedback of others can help you to really develop yourstyle as well as connect to the audience. 16
  17. 17. Following The Schedule Of Film Maker SuccessWhile following a strict rigid schedule might not seem like the best way to let the creative juices offilm making flow there are some times when it is absolutely essential to have a schedule. Just realize,the number of people working on a film can vary greatly and could range from just a small set of datesreserved for the filming process up to an entire set of shooting schedules that is broken down into hourincrements. The choice is yours in how you decide to lay out the schedule, but creating the schedule isvery important to successfully shooting a feature film.Just imagine the chaos that could ensue if you were simply calling up actors the day you wanted to startshooting. You would likely find that it is very difficult to actually get all of the actors that you need,exactly when you needed them. The larger your cast is, the harder it becomes trying to locate everyoneat the same time. However, if you have a rough schedule created in advance such as when you aredoing the initial casting you would be able to let everyone know when they would be needed whichcould be a huge help in trying to rearrange their own personal schedules. Just imagine the hassle ofhaving an entire cast minus our main character when you are ready to shoot only to find that they werenot given the schedule in advance.Sticking to the schedule down to the minute is certainly not necessary. If you find that you work bestunder those conditions it is acceptable and entirely up to you. However, breaking down into a schedulethat at least has day part and day laid out is helpful to cast. Not everyone is able to devote every dayfor a month to a video, especially if they are not being paid. Using volunteers or actors that areworking for extremely cheap wages means you really need to take into account the schedules of othersin order to have actors willing to work with you again.There are occasions when it is virtually impossible to start scheduling shoots in advance, for example ifyou really need a natural rainstorm you should let the cast know this upfront. Keep in constant contactwith people when rain is expected and ensure that everyone knows as far in advance as possible. Itnothing else, if your cast knows you are in search of rain they may contact you at the first sight of rainto make it much easier to locate everyone.It is best to always have a schedule available as quickly as possible for cast members to refer to as well.If there are any changes that need to be made, these should also be passed along quickly. A cast is notgoing to enjoy working with you if you fail to ensure they are informed about the important issues suchas the schedule in advance. Just continuously think about how you would feel if you were the personleft out in the dark on the schedule, you likely would not enjoy it. Showing your cast a bit ofprofessional courtesy can also go a very long way towards having people talking and saying goodthings about you.Often this professional courtesy of an advanced schedule will be able to extend into other benefits aswell. Actors are notorious for talking, if they talk to other actors about how much they love workingwith you and why, you should see an increased turn out at your future auditions for films. This canmake the selection process much harder ultimately, but will certainly provide the benefit of giving youplenty of actors to choose from, and a much more advanced set of actors to choose from. Justremember, this is another area where practice makes perfect. Be willing to make a few mistakes and 17
  18. 18. take responsibility for them, the cast and crew will notice and appreciate your approach. 18
  19. 19. Best Time Of Year To Shoot Your Feature FilmWhile the idea of shooting a feature film in the spring or summer may be top on your mind there areseveral reasons why it might not be a great idea. Knowing exactly what these reasons are may make itnecessary for you to adjust your film schedule, or it would be at a minimum a good indication ofpotential problems that loom on your horizon. Making appropriate choices about the season to filmyour feature film is very important to success; after all large problems that are completely unexpectedcan shut down your film before you ever wrap filming.One of the biggest problems is the best season to film. Winter is typically the best season to film. Thisis especially true if you are working with a very small, or even zero budget. While there are alwaysactors around to choose from, they are likely to be working on top projects during the warmer monthsthat will pay better. If you are unable to match the pay of the larger projects, or even the scope you willneed to work around these schedules. Be prepared to experience huge problems replacing cast atvarious times as they drop out to work on other projects if you do not schedule for a winter shoot.The weather is a huge downside to shooting in the winter. If you are truly serious about wanting toshoot your film during a different time of year you must make certain there is ample time built into theschedule to accommodate these problems. Additionally, you need to be extremely flexible if you aretrying to work around production schedules for different projects. Without the added time andflexibility, you will find that you are fighting an almost impossible battle that you will not win. Beingaware that this is a battle you cannot win is critical.If you want to shoot most of your scenes in the winter but save a few for warmer seasons make surethat the cast and crew are aware of this ahead of time. All indoor scenes could be shot in advance forexample. If you are only shooting a small amount of footage outside you could cut the time needed inthe warmer weather down to a matter of days, rather than weeks or even months. This would go a longway towards ensuring that your budget is able to hold up, and your cast and crew will still be aroundfor you.If you absolutely do not want to start production until the warmer months you need to be sure that youhave a budget that is able to pay the actors and crew. Filmmakers who are working with extremelysmall budgets have to be a lot more flexible in schedules. In contrast, if you are paying a premiumwage to the cast and crew, you have a much greater right to be demanding that they adjust to yourschedule. Regardless of the wage you are paying, you will find that during the warmer months you aregoing to have a higher rate of people calling in, rather than coming into the filming as scheduled. Thisis again where an appropriate schedule is absolutely critical to ensuring that you are able to keep theproject on track and targeted to be released appropriately. 19
  20. 20. Getting Your Next Feature Film Script Off The GroundGetting your actual feature film script written is one of the hardest things you will ever do as afilmmaker. Learning how to make the most of the script is very important to having a good film.Many filmmakers have found themselves completely stuck on a project because they simply have noidea about how to get started, how to complete the script, or even how adapt the script to theirparticular needs. Learning how to get the biggest impact out of your script is essential because a goodscript will be quite helpful to ensure that your film is a huge success.You should always start your script with a good story line. This should be something that willdetermine the overall feeling of your film and should help you to determine a bit of information aboutthe main characters. You can flesh the story line out as much as you like, but at least having a base tostart with is critical. If you have no story line, you will likely find that your script is quite lackingwhich leaves you with a feature film that you are not proud of.If you have gotten a story line worked out, you need to create an outline for the script. This shouldinclude any key facts that you want included in the script, as well as how you want the movie to start,and how you want the movie to end. All details that go in the middle can be added later if necessary.Knowing exactly how you intend to start the movie, as well as how you intend to end the movie is veryimportant. Many filmmakers have no idea about how to start the process, much less how they aregoing to end the movie. Getting these two major points down on paper can give you plenty of ideas towork with so you can be sure you create a great movie script.Often if you get stuck when creating your script, you should attempt to get outside and start walkingaround. Just be sure to take a pad of paper with you so as good ideas come across your head you canwrite them down quickly. Getting out into the great outdoors can often be a great way to get ideas.Seeing people interact with each other is often very helpful to ensure that you are able to get someideas from the natural relationships that occur between people. One key to helping create the best filmsis ensuring that the relationship between characters is seen as natural.If you have a situation while actors relationships seem a bit unusual or awkward you need to ensurethat this is the vision that you have in mind. If you notice this during the filming, you may need to stopand adjust the script in order to really smooth out the entire flow of events. Do not be afraid to stopand make changes to the script as you progress through filming. When you have gathered a largeamount of experience, you will find you need to make fewer adjustments, but this time can be a hugebenefit especially in the beginning since you are able to learn a great deal about your own personalfilmmaking style.While you might be tempted to merely film an improvisational film you will likely find that the finalresults is not something you are overly proud of. Having a script that at least covers the basics iscritical so that you have a good structure to fall back on. Knowing exactly what is going to happen inyour script is a huge benefit not only for yourself, but also for your actors. Starting with the beginningas well as the end of the movie will allow you a lot more time to develop the story line as well whichcan be quite helpful to the entire filmmaking process. 20
  21. 21. Finding A Location Or Your FilmBeing a location scout would seem to be the most fun out of all the jobs offered in the filmmakingindustry. It seems that it would be a dream vacation to travel and see if a location checks out or not.Believe it or not, headaches abound in securing a location to shoot.There are many more details involved in securing a location to shoot a film than simply finding thelocation. There are permission and releases to be obtained from everyone involved. Proof of liabilityinsurance and authorizations of access to the location may need to be obtained. The scout willconvince the owner that having a 150 person crew camped out on their front lawn it going to be goodfun.Previously it might have pacified the local authorities if you gave them some small compensation, likea good bottle of whiskey, but these arrangements are no longer available. Now you must have officialpermission from the local authorities to use certain locations for filming. These releases must be paidfor and put on file so that they can be accessed during the shoot. Once the location scout has securedthe location they become the location manager. This means they are responsible for parking access andaccommodations for the cast and crew.Sometimes unusual arrangements are made in order to use a location. Stephen Kings "Rose Red" wasfilmed at Thornwood castle in Lakewood, Washington. This castle was brought over from Europe,brick by brick, and rebuilt on she shore of American Lake by Chester Thorne. Chester Thorne was oneof the founders of the Port of Tacoma. Initially while it was a good location, the castle needed to bereturned to its old grandeur. The production and location managers struck a deal to refurbish the castle.The result was that almost $800.000 of renovations were preformed on the castle. The restoration workdone to the castle can be seen at Thornewood castles website. The work done was in exchange for theuse of the location once it was finished. The owners of the castle in exchange for the use of thelocation received $800,000 in renovations. I am sure they thought it was good deal. This caseexemplifies the lengths to which producers will go to in order to secure a good location.Location scouting was previously done at a time when the digital technology was not available to thelocation scout. Scouts were required to travel to the actual location and they usually ended up usingPolaroid shots for their reference. Now there are location agencies that can give you virtual tours oflocations and the scouting can truly be done online. All you need to do is put in a request for locationson the Internet and you will find scads of listings for location scouting agencies.Now for those of you that are producing your own independent films, you will have to use your wits tosecure your locations. If you are using your own house or apartment it will be no problem but if youare using a location that doesnt have general public access you will need to secure releases from theowners of the facilities you want to use. 21
  22. 22. Protecting Legal Rights During Filming Your Feature FilmOne of the biggest problems that can shut down a movie after production has wrapped is the threat of alawsuit. This is something that can occur at any point in time, and will likely create huge headaches. Ifyou find yourself trying to avoid these problems you will have much better luck ensuring that yourfilms actually are released, rather than being trapped in the holding pattern. Taking the time to avoidpotential legal problems in the beginning as you are working on the script will go a long way towardsavoiding these problems.When you are working on your script, you need to ensure that you are basing all characters off ofcomplete fiction to avoid all problems. If you really want to base a character on someone that is real,you should take the time to obtain their written permission. However, if you really work at adjustingthe character you should be able to remove most of the differences. Additionally, when you arenaming characters you should check in the location where you have set the feature film to ensure thatnobody has that name there. For example, if you are creating a film that is set in Omaha, Nebraska andare planning to name a character Otis Smith you should look in the Omaha area to determine if anyonehas that name.If you find someone who does have that specific name in the area, you have two different options. Youcould either change the name, or you could change the location where the movie is based. If you areset that the name needs to remain then changing the location is best. If you are set on the location thenyour best option is to change the name. The ultimate choice is up to you, but this will help you toprevent anyone from ever saying that you have taken their life to use in your feature film.As an added step for your film, when you are editing you need to take the time to add in a smalldisclaimer at the beginning. The disclaimer should just plainly state that all characters are purelyfictional and that any similarities to anyone living or deceased is merely a coincidence. This will helpto protect you legally in the event that someone tries to make unfounded claims against your film.If you are considering using fictional characters that someone else has created for your film, youabsolutely must obtain permission in writing. Without the permission, you will almost certainly findyourself the victim of a lawsuit. Depending on the characters that you are interested in using you mayhave a bit of trouble obtaining permission. The higher the profile of the fictional characters the moreimportant the permission is. If you are interested in using only limited rights to the characters, makesure all of the details are laid out clearly in a contract that is signed by both yourself, as well as thecreator of the characters.Taking a few steps to protect yourself, as well as your film will ensure that all of your hard work isrecognized. Working on a film and discovering that you are not allowed to release it to the public is acrushing blow to many filmmakers. Taking the time to avoid such complications will only take a briefamount of time, and frees up your attention for other matters. 22
  23. 23. Ensuring The Success Of Your Feature Film With ActorsThe final area that many filmmakers worry about is actually finding actors. This is a huge problemthough because often you are then left grasping at straws and looking for someone to fill a role just tofill it. This could have devastating results on your movie and can really pull down the entireatmosphere of your whole movie. Instead, it is very important to start looking for great actors veryearly into the process. The exact point you should start looking for actors may vary a bit, but there areseveral guidelines that you should follow to help ensure the best results possible. Start looking for actors while the script is still in process. This will allow you plenty of time to startlooking at all of the different actors that are available. Not all actors that you find will be suitable foryour project, plus not all actors that are available are going to be really interested in your project. It isvery important to ensure that any actors you are considering are completely committed to your project.While this does not mean that you should look for actors who are only working on your project, you doneed to look for actors who are interested in being a part of a very successful experience. It is possiblefor actors to work on several films at once, especially for smaller films but they should still show yourfilm ample professional respect.Looking around for actors should be a very structured process. Look for someone who is professional,this means though that you should feel free to look for some actors who just act as a hobby since theycan often be a great resource to tap into. With cheaper prices than actual professional actors, a goodhobby actor can be a great asset to your budget. You can also look around at some of your friends aswell; you might find someone who is interested in getting started at acting this way. Just be sure to leteach potential actor look over all of the details of the script that you feel comfortable releasing so thatthey can get a good feel for the character and you can see how well they fit the part of that character aswell.If you are interested in trying to create a truly spectacular movie and do not want anyone to talk about itwith anybody else you need to consider having your actors sign a NDA or non-disclosure agreement.This would prevent anyone from discussing details of your movie with anyone else that is not directlyrelated to the project. If you are planning to enter a contest for example, this might be a good idea sothat your movie is kept entirely secret until it is actually submitted. This would prevent someone fromstealing your ideas and potentially damaging your movie. Just be careful asking friends to sign a NDA,they may be offended that you would even ask. Friendship should always be a primary concern evenover the safety of your friends if you expect to still have friends when the movie is over.If you are still struggling with the task of coming up with actors there are plenty of ways you can findpeople. You can search around at the local theaters, post ads, ask friends and even look at the localacting classes. If you have a performing arts school in your area this would be another great way tofind some wonderful acting talent. The benefit of most of these places is the fact that you are able tosave a lot of money in your budget typically. Many people, especially students will work on films forfree, because they are gaining a lot of experience, which is much more valuable for them.If you are paying for actors, ensure that you have an adequate budget to pay. Plus, you also need toensure that you are able to fulfill any agreements that you make with actors. Nothing will harm your 23
  24. 24. reputation as a filmmaker more than having actors who are upset because you never follow through onpromises. If necessary you should write down all promises so that you can remember what youpromise to each actor, just be sure that the promises are reasonable to fulfill. 24
  25. 25. What About Internships In Film Making?A job in film making is like any other position you apply for. If you have no experience, you willprobably not get an interview. When you cant get an interview, you wont get the job, and if you cantget the job you will not gain experience. Experience is a must to get a job in film making.There are times that people get a lucky break and seem to fall into a job in the film making industry,this certainly doesnt happen very often. Realistically, if you want to get into the film making industry,it will be up to you to make it happen.While internships are hard to find, as there is fierce competition in the industry, they are a good way toget your foot in the door. You can overcome some of this by contacting production companies andproposing your own internship. Film makers are more liable to accept free help during busy times. Youwill probably make important contacts that can be invaluable in the future.There are a few different ways to arrange your internship. You may approach a film crew during ashoot and volunteer to help. If you are persistent they will usually allow you to do some work on theset. This may not be your ideal job, but once you are in the mix you will meet people who work in thefilm making industry. These contacts could lead to big opportunities down the road, and the job youreally want.Or you can check the classifieds in the trade papers for mid-level, or senior openings in the field youare interested in. If they are recruiting for that position, they usually are short-handed and need somehelp in that department. When you spot an ad like this, call the office manager directly. Once they areon the phone, tell them you are interested in an internship. Add that you know they are busy and youcould meet with an assistant instead. Ask them who you could contact about this and tell them you willcall them yourself. Make sure you do contact them if you are serious about getting an internship. It isimperative that you act professionally when contacting anyone in this industry.You can call the human resource department of any production company, at any time and offer to be anintern. Try to pick a department that you have the most interest in becoming part of, or learning about.Whatever your choice, make sure you keep a good attitude, it may take a little time, but sooner-or-laterthere will be someone who is willing to accept your offer.The film making industry is a close knit group and the more people you meet, the more likely it will bethat you find work in the area of film making you desire. Above all, even though it may seem fruitless,dont give up, you have as good a chance as anyone to break into film making. 25
  26. 26. Is Professional Equipment Necessary To Create A Feature Film?The simple answer is of course you need a good set of professional equipment to create a feature filmthat you are planning to generate income from. However most people honestly do not have the accessto the cash required to purchase the equipment for strict hobby purposes. This can make it verycomplicated for people who are looking into breaking into the movie industry. Finding yourself in thisposition is not only zero fun at all but it can be extremely bad for the quality of the movies that you aremaking.As a general rule of thumb, you can work with only a few pieces of professional equipment. Once youhave the basic equipment it is much easier to start slowly replacing the rest of the equipment that youhave and producing feature films that are a much higher quality. In general, if you take your time andshop around you can also find some very good deals on equipment that will allow you to make themost of a limited budget.In the beginning as you are trying to work towards building up your equipment you are probably goingto want to purchase at a minimum a good camera. While this does not have to be a professionalcamera, you are certainly going to want something that allows you some options with focus, range andeven the lighting controls. While professional cameras are easily priced at $5,000 and upwards, simplylooking for a good digital camcorder in the range of $500 and up should be sufficient for a brief perioduntil you can build up other equipment. Searching around for the best camera you can afford isimportant, and if you are looking to make good quality films you need to be very concerned with thequality of the recording so shopping around is essential.Once you have purchased the camera you need to start considering exactly what you want to record. Ifyou are merely interested in doing real films using only real people and images your needs are likelymuch less extensive. However, if you envision using awesome special effects such as shown in movieslike Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines and even Men in Black you are going to need a green room.This can be set up quite inexpensively and can be adjusted based upon your budget, as well as theamount of space you have available.The best thing to do is to devote an entire room to your green screen; this can be done by sealing updoors and painting the entire room an appropriate shade of green. Most people though, especially inthe beginning do not have this as an available option. If you find yourself in this position you canpurchase green screen drape which is technically called a chromakey, purchasing a muslin styledchromakey is most recommended since the quality is much better, however cheaper plastic models canbe used as a replacement.The chromakey is absolutely essential if you cannot devote an entire room to the green screen if youwant to use animations of any form in your feature videos. Aside from the purchase of a chromakey,you will need to purchase either appropriate light trees, or you can make light trees using goodindustrial spotlights. You will need a minimum of two so you can effectively light up the chromakeybehind you. Once you have set up your green screen area the last major purchase that you will need isa good set of animation software. This will allow you to insert the animations into your digitallyrecorded video and create many of the great special effects that you see in feature films. 26
  27. 27. While this might seem like a huge shopping list to make those feature films of your dreams it is quitebrief. There is a lot of equipment that is involved for advanced users such as sound equipment, windmachines and even lighting supplies but having the basic equipment can allow you to get started andexpand your skills without breaking the bank. This also gives you plenty of time to practice with eachnew piece of equipment you buy before moving onto the next so you can harness the full potential ofyour film making. 27
  28. 28. Tell Me About Film Making Equipment RentalWhen thinking about the film making equipment you will need for your project, you will need to makea list as soon as your budget and schedule have been worked out. This is when you will need to contactfilm making equipment rental houses to see which ones have the best price on what you need. Some ofthis equipment is used often and you may need to reserve it much earlier than you will actually need it.You will need to get a list of vendors that offer the film making equipment rentals that you need. Somerental houses can put together a complete package for you, and others may be a bit more constrained.As long as you have a complete list of equipment needed you will be able to find the right rental houseto serve you.When you contact the vendor, ask if they will have the equipment you are going to need by the timeyou will need it. Tell them what your project will require in the line of film making equipment. Most ofthe rental houses are current on the latest equipment, and could help you with information you werentaware of.It is imperative that you reserve the equipment for the dates of your shoot. This should be done inadvance, and is called a hold. This does not mean you will need to pay for the equipment before youpick it up. If the film making equipment has already been put on hold for someone else, you may needto accept a hold for a later date. If you know that the date you have given is the date you will be gettingthe equipment, ask the vendor if you can firm your order. The rental house will contact the people withthe hold prior to you and ask them to firm the order or give up the hold. When you firm an order, youwill be obligated to pay for the equipment from the day you have the hold, even if you dont use it then.If your plans change, you will need to contact the vendor as soon as possible so they can make otherarrangements with other customers.Since you are renting equipment that has had several users, it is a good idea to test it out before you areactually ready to shoot the film. The vendor is not liable for anything if you use faulty equipment andwaste time and money. Most rental houses will ask you to show proof on insurance, if anything shouldhappen to equipment while you are using it, you are responsible for replacement. If you do not haveinsurance, the rental company will put you in touch with an insurance company that will cover theproduction.Make sure you get a signed agreement on the terms of the film making equipment rental, cost, time ofpick up and return, and a list of liability and responsibility terms. Check the equipment when you pickit up to make sure it is all there. It is much better to find a missing element while at the rental housethan when you are ready to shoot. Check everything with your list to make sure nothing has been leftout, you will avoid wasting time on trips back to the rental house to retrieve missing equipment. Checkeverything over thoroughly and dont miss anything, no matter how small. You may want to pick up theequipment a day or two before the day you will be shooting. This will give you plenty of time to testthe equipment so there will be no surprises. 28
  29. 29. Recording Your Next Feature Film With Professional ResultsThis might come as a surprise to you, but there is a single piece of equipment that will provide the bestresults imaginable when you are working on your next feature film. With a cost of well under $50 forbasic models, and around $100 for professional models the piece of equipment that you need is quiteaffordable and will fit into any budget. Another huge benefit is the fact that it is quite small, canexpand to a wide range of sizes and is versatile enough to hold almost anything you need. Curiosity isof course eating away at you right this moment, you are probably thinking about the ultimate in hightech devices but this moment but the answer will surprise you. A tripod is actually the best piece ofequipment that you need.Seems rather surprising does it? The simple tripod which merely holds your camera is more importantthan just about anything else that you purchase for your filmmaking adventures. While this might seemreally strange to you it is a fact that a poorly shot video will be not only distracting but show the lack ofquality. People simply cannot focus when the camera is always out of focus for some reason oranother. This leaves you with problems trying to produce a good quality film that people will actuallybe interested in watching.A tripod might seem like a luxury since it will hold your camera but in reality, it is a requirement. Stopand think about all of the home videos that you have ever watched. The majority usually have a badcase of camera shake going on. This creates minor annoyance at times, and huge distractions at othertimes. Working to eliminate this problem from your feature films is critical in order to gain respect andget the proper attention that you deserve. If all of your films have a serious case of camera shake goingon, it will be extremely hard for people to take you and your work serious.Just imagine how upset you would be to go to a movie theater and buy a ticket to a movie that is loadedwith camera shake. It would be quite upsetting and your audience is certainly no different. Whilesome filmmakers are able to develop an arm of steel that does not shake or move while recording mostfind that standing perfectly still with no movement is almost impossible. A small tripod reduces thecamera shake down to almost zero and makes it much easier to instead focus on zooms, pans and tiltsthat will enhance and improve your film, rather than detracting from them.If you are just starting out in your film making quests you can generally start with a small personalstyled tripod for around $20 or so. This will allow you to get started and focus money on differentareas. However, it is essential to ensure that the tripod you select is adjustable, both for the types ofcameras that it will hold, but also the height levels. You should also ensure that it is sturdy and stableas well. If the cheaper model is not stable under the weight of your particular camera, it will need to bereplaced quickly with a better model. You should also feel free to take the time to analyze the standthat you purchase and learn how to adjust it quickly as well. This will allow the filming process to bereduced substantially, as well as allow you to play with various shots as the creative juices are flowingduring filming.As you can now see, while a tripod might not seem like the most important piece of equipment it reallyis. Cutting costs and buying a cheap tripod might seem like the best use of your money, but alwaysensure that you get a good quality tripod that can hold up the stress that you will be putting on it. 29
  30. 30. Remember, buying a single tripod that is good and lasts will be much cheaper than continuouslyreplacing cheaper models. Plus, you will notice a difference in the camera shake between quality levelsas well. 30
  31. 31. Is Software Necessary In Feature Film Creation?People who are unaware of the entire process of creating a feature film might think that there is no needat all for a computer or even software. After all great filmmakers in the past simply used a camera andmanually edited the movies to create the great masterpieces of yesterday. Todays filmmakers thoughhave a wide expanse of equipment available to them, as well as hundreds if not thousands of incrediblespecial effects. Because of this, it is quite necessary for filmmakers to use technology now that waspreviously unused in the field.One of the best examples of this is the usage of the computer and in turn software that is used to alterimages and create incredible special effects. While many special effects are the creation of actualequipment and skill there are many others that are actually created in the editing process using acomputer, software and the video footage that was shot. This can allow you to take a very simple videoand add in virtually unlimited options to your videos. Because of this the usage of computers and byextension software in the making of feature films is heavily explored and used by virtually allfilmmakers now.Using the technology involved in video editing you can create seamless transitions, instant splices andeven create interesting overlays in your films, which can add a lot of visual appeal. This is alltechnology that is directly related to the advances in the film industry that many filmmakers currentlyenjoy. While many of the advances in technology are not cheap there are others that can be purchasedquite inexpensively which makes it very easy for even beginner film makers to start purchasing thesoftware and equipment needed to create very professional films.At a minimum, most filmmakers find that they need to have software to help them with editing needs.The majority also using software for special effects and even interesting effects in their films, buthaving the ability to edit footage at a minimum is something that is considered a necessity rather thanjust a luxury. While in the old days of feature films the footage was edited manually, it was also areality that films were recorded on actual reels of film. Most footage for amateurs and manyprofessionals as well is now recorded in a digital format. This requires the need to have software thatcan handle the specific requirements of the digital format and enable you to get the most usage possiblefrom all footage that you have.Further needs that many filmmakers have is the need to adjust sound levels of the filmed footage thatthey have. While typically using various sound equipment during recording can provide great results,there are times when directors may wish to reduce volume or even raise the volume of specific scenes.Having this ability is a huge asset that is entirely possible through the usage of software. It is alsopossible to add various sound effects into the films and even cut out various sound pieces as well whichcan allow for a completely customized process.With all of the technology and equipment that is available to film makers today the reality that youneed software is quite clear. The type of software that you need to create the feature films variessubstantially based upon your exact requirements. In general, you can expect the software that youselect to be a huge purchase that will be quite expensive. However, the return you receive in regards toyour time, quality of your feature films and even the editing and altering options available to you is 31
  32. 32. extremely extensive and makes the need to use software a very minor issue for most filmmakers.Regardless of your impression of technology, most can agree that without the use of software, featurefilms are much harder to make and are much lower in quality. A great piece of software can changeaverage footage into a spectacular masterpiece that becomes a treasured asset. 32
  33. 33. Where To Spend Money When Creating A Feature FilmThe list of places where you need money to make a film are quite large, looking over all of the optionsit is really easy to become completely overwhelmed but there are a few things that you should be ableto skimp on price for which will free up your budget for other areas. By following these tips andsuggestions, you will be able to make your film for a reasonable amount of money that will not breakthe bank. Just remember many independent filmmakers get started with budgets that run only a fewhundred dollars.Your first step is of course a script. If you have the talent to actually write your script then you are inluck and that is a lot of money that can be saved. If you do not happen to have this talent and you arebetter behind a camera you need to instead start looking for a writer that you can use. You can checkwith friends that enjoy writing and even look around at various writing websites. The availability of awriter is unlimited; the problem comes when you need to find a writer that you can work withsuccessfully. The details of money can sometimes be worked out easily, especially if you are usingsomeone who is more concerned about experience rather than getting paid for the project.Once you have determined a script and story line you will be able to start looking at details such aslocations. This is where many filmmakers start running into problems. The idea of whether to obtainpermission first then film or even film and beg for complete forgiveness is completely split amongstfilmmakers. If you opt to be responsible and ask for permission first you may find that the locationsyou want to use will require rental fees. Often this will be the most expensive aspect of your film, butcan be easily lowered to save money. If you check over all of the details pertaining to the place youwant to film you may even be able to find something very close as well as right outside of specificboundaries that would be free to use.Lighting is another place where you need to spend some good money. If you take the time to spend agood chunk of money on the lighting you can often find that this is actually a really cheap area as well.While of course key lights are the best to use, many beginner filmmakers find that using halogen worklights is much more budget friendly. An additional benefit of using this method is the ability to easilyadjust lights as necessary and even decrease the power of the light by simply swapping the bulb to alower wattage. Many people can find cheap halogen lights for as little as $5 a piece and if you wanttop of the line models you can generally stay at less than $30 each which leaves a large chunk of yourbudget for other areas.Costumes are often a very expensive part of any feature film. The need to have extensive costumes tofollow along with a story line can easily turn a script into a very expensive reality. There is help andhope though; you can look for thrift shops and even clothing donations to really lower your costs.Unless you plan to make a feature film that focuses around a prior time in the far past you can generallylook to vintage clothing stores and thrift shops as one of the best places to find older clothing. If youare looking for clothing from a much older era such as the 1800s, you would be best to start lookingfor patterns and finding a friend who could help you sew to reduce costs.While making a feature film on a budget is not always easy, there are plenty of ways you can lower thecosts. With a bit of creativity it is possible to create a truly spectacular movie that you will be proud of 33
  34. 34. with a very tiny budget. After all, not everyone can start out with huge multi-million dollar budgets solearning how to pinch pennies while still maintaining quality is absolutely essential. 34
  35. 35. To Show Or Not To Show – Deciding If Your Feature Film ShouldBe SharedDeciding whether the feature film you have worked so hard on is worthy of being shared is not easy.With the size of everyones ego, as well as the amount of work put into the project it is no wonder thateveryone is completely emotionally invested into the process which can make it even harder trying tomake the right decision. The fact remains that anyone who is looking to create a career in the filmindustry will eventually have their work critiqued by their peers. Being able to accept this and properlydecide if a film should be released is important.You are going to need to look at the film honestly and make a clear decision. There should be nostruggles with should you release it or not. The fact remains that some of the biggest factors aretechnical. For example, if your camera equipment is poor, or you have bad sound equipment for thefilm that detracts heavily from the story line you need to avoid the temptation to release the film. Theone major exception to this rule would be releasing a feature film that has poor shooting or sound thatwas actually intended. If your story line focuses around this and it works out perfectly to enhance thestory for some reason then releasing the film is acceptable.If you find out that you have suddenly encountered a legal problem that could arise if you release thefilm it might be best to hang onto it. One example of this would be using a person that is well knownto base a character on. If the person feels that the character infringes on their rights they would beallowed to sue to protect their rights. If you find yourself in this position then deciding not to releasethe film would be wise.On the other hand, if you are merely nervous about your work and scared what people will say you willneed to simply swallow your pride and introduce your film. Taking a risk at what people have to say isimportant. Not all feature films that are released are a huge success. There are plenty of films thatcome out of Hollywood that are not a major commercial success. Being fully aware of this is essentialso that you do not take any rejection from viewers personally. You need to keep in mind that everyonehas different ideas about what makes a successful movie, and not all story lines will be widely popular.You need to also ensure that you give the opportunity for people to provide feedback for your featurefilm. Taking the feedback that you receive from viewers can be quite helpful as you are trying to workout what is working for your audiences, and what leaves them completely confused. Your job as afilmmaker is to ensure that you are able to pass along the ideas that you are trying to portray, withoutcompletely confusing the audience. If your audience is still lost once the movie is over, you will needto work more on your approach towards telling the story. You might discover that the characters werenot detailed enough, the script was lacking, or you were simply shooting from the wrong angle.Information like this is quite helpful regardless of the type of video that you are creating. 35
  36. 36. What About Film Making And The Internet?This is a most exciting time for independent film makers. Now that the Internet and digital technologyhave paired up, we are seeing the old way of Hollywood shifting to the new independent film makers.The emergence of this technology has paved the way to new markets and tools for the film makingindustry. Most significant is the fact that this development has changed the areas where theindependents have had the most difficulty- development, marketing, and distribution.Studio big-wigs have ignored the Internet, treating it as a passing fad or a tool for film promotion.When Time-Warner was taken in by AOL, they understood what the impact would be. The Blair WitchProject brought this point home, the young film makers brought fame to the film with very clever webmarketing. Hollywood production, marketing, and distribution has become the old way of film making,and this is causing a good bit of anxiety with the major studios.Independent film makers who have traditionally been left out and ignored by the film making industry,are now building websites. These sites deal with the traditional ways of film making, but many of themaddress the problems with financing, marketing, and distribution, and suggest remedies for theseproblems. Independent film makers are able to directly contact potential investors with scripts andpotential story ideas. They are able to pitch their ideas to the investor themselves.There has also been an insurgence of online festivals, distributors, and resources where an independentfilm maker can market their film to a worldwide audience and show the product to the interested partydirectly. This market is available to all, and the forerunners make up the criteria as they go. These newfilm makers will harness the Internet, and be successful in digital film making.There are several methods and techniques when it comes to digital production. There are innovativetrends and studies of up-and-coming independent film makers, online. You are able to learn aboutscript development, marketing, digital distribution, how to enter film festivals, and much more. Thesetopics are available to anyone who is interested in learning the new techniques in film making.The Internet is fast paced and growing steadily. These techniques have been out there for a while now,but as I said they has been ignored by traditional Hollywood for quite some time. These techniques areevolving rapidly and they will be critical tools for the independent film makers who want a successfulcareer in the new revolution of the film making industry.Of course, before you jump into film making with everything you have, my advice is to becomefamiliar with every Internet concept and tool that can help you produce, development, and market yourproject. Weigh the possibilities to find the best technique for you, your budget (while it does come witha cost, you will find Internet based film making is cheaper), and your artistic abilities.As far as financing your film making endeavor, you may want to look into film making grants. Thereare several out there, just do a search on the ever evolving Internet 36
  37. 37. Film Festivals And The FilmmakerChris Gore writes a book called "The Ultimate Film Festival Survival Guide". In the first 10 pages ofthe book he talks about going to Film Festivals all over the world and enjoying each and every one ofthem. I dont know about you, but this sounds like heaven to me. Whether you are a film aficionado ora filmmaker with a film entered, a film festival is an exciting experience and one you will want torepeat as often as possible.There was a time when film festivals were far and few between. Studios controlled every aspect tofilmmaking and there was not much of an independent spirit to be found anywhere. It seems however,with the rise of Indie films that every state in the country has its own film festival. In California alonethere must be twenty or more film festivals.There was a time when films did not happen at all unless they were under the auspices of the studios.There was no real chance of the little guy getting his or her film out there. But now it is a wholedifferent ballgame. The little guy likes to show his films anywhere he can, hence the rise ofindependent film festivals all over the country.Sundance, Tribeca, and the Toronto Film Festival are the first and foremost festivals to submit yourfilm to. However there are at least a hundred other film festivals that you can submit your film to.This is rather like the lottery; if you dont play you cant win. If you dont enter your film you cant getit shown. You must continue to submit your film as many times as you can until you finally getacceptance into a festival.You might get quite a few rejection letters until you get your first acceptance letter. There are a fewthings that might help you out though. You must remember that a film festival board may have 800submissions and only 40 spots for a film to be shown. Many a rejection letter has given the reason thatthey had far too many submissions to even view them all. My advice to you is that once you have yourfilm done and you have the very first date they are opening for submissions then submit your film.Dont wait until the last minute.Make sure your film is entered into the right festival for instance, you would not enter a childrens filminto an adult alternative film festival. I am not sure there is even the latter category, but you get thegeneral drift. Also, read your application carefully. It may require your entry to be mailed, doneonline, or even in person.In the category of short film, be very careful you adhere to any time requirements for your piece. If itis a little too long then do some more trimming. Just to be on the safe side if the film is to be 10minutes long, make it for 9 minutes. Dont give them any reason to kick back a rejection letter. Rejection is a funny thing with Film Festivals; there is art even in rejection. The Slamdance filmfestival came about as an answer to the rejections from Sundance. The Sundance Festival shows inPark City, Utah. At the same time in Park City, Utah Slamdance runs. This is a deliberate attempt toshow the films that have been over looked by Sundance. Ill bet theres a lot of action in that townduring the combined running of both festivals. 37
  38. 38. If you get a chance to visit the Pacific Northwest during the end of May and beginning of June, theSeattle International Film Festival runs for almost a month sometimes showing as many as 300 films.They have great filmmakers forums and there is their original "Fly Filmmaking Challenge" that theyhold every year. Theirs is the longest running and shows the most films of any other film festival inthe country.I encourage you to do your own search of film festivals and check out their application processes. Dothis research sooner rather than later. Dont wait until the last minute. 38
  39. 39. What About The Cannes Festival And Film Making?For 12 days in the month of May the city of Cannes celebrates the National Film Agency. The town isfilled to capacity with more than 200,000 film makers, stargazers, and film fans, who gather on theCroisette to attend the Cannes Film Festival. During the 12 day span thousands of films are screened,careers are started, and disappointment shows itself. Stars the world over come to get their share ofattention.Since the 1950s when Brigitte Bardot ran on the beach for the cameras in her teenie bikini, Cannes hasblossomed to celebrate the worlds most favorite pastimes, cinema and sex. Cannes has grown to be themost famous of all festivals of film. Cannes is spectacular with the palm trees, red carpets, stars thatcome out to sparkle in the flash of paparzzi cameras, and the famed celebrity parties.Cannes may not look like the best place to host the worlds most famous film festival. Cinema wasinvented in France, Paris France. The weather in Cannes is nice, but that is not the best selling point.The Cannes Film Festival exists as a result of the rise of fascism in Europe during the 1930s. In 1932the first competitive film festival was sponsored in Venice. This was called the Mostra di Venezia, andthe awards it gave, was mostly about the prestige of the countries that participated, as it was about thefilms. As time went by, the fascist alliances in certain countries received favoritism when it came tojudging the films and giving of awards.In 1938 Jean Renoirs "La Grande Illusion" was passed by for the top prize in the festival, despite beingthe obvious favorite of the festival attendees, and the jury members. Instead the award was given to twofilms, a two-part German film called "Olympia", commissioned by Joseph Goebbels to show the Nazisuccess of the 1938 Berlin Olympics, and "Luciano Serra, Pilota, made with the supervision of Il Ducesson. When the announcement came, the French were furious and withdrew from the festival. TheAmerican and British jury members resigned to protest the fact that fascism could walk all over artisticexcellence.Later that same year, a group of film makers and critics petitioned the French government to put run analternative, international film festival in France. A festival where film makers could show their filmsand compete without censorship or bias. The French government was not very happy about goingagainst Mussolini, and were dragging their feet. The group kept putting pressure on the government,and they finally gave consent to the event.The competition is the main event of the festival today, this is where the glory and glamor come in. Thefilms screened are referred to as being "in competition". The most coveted award is the Golden Palmfor best picture. This is one of the most prestigious awards on earth, and will give the film a hugeboost. For low budget films and novice film makers, this can mean millions of extra dollars at theinternational box office, for foreign films it brings worldwide distribution. The competition is usuallyopen to narrative films only, but there are times when a documentary is introduced. Michael Moores "Fahrenheit 9/ 11" won the top prize in 2004. The film makers are welcome to enter both features andshorts. There are awards in each category.Click here for Film School Secrets - A Private Membership Site Offering Exclusive 39
  40. 40. Tips, Advice, And Strategies From Top Film School Grads On How To Launch YourFilmmaking Career.Click here for a Independent Filmmaking Ebook: How To Make A Movie With A Very,Very, Low Budget. A Guide To Making An Independent Film With Very Little Money. 40