Humans have been telling stories for all of our existence; today, many creatives tell stories through movies and film.
What often starts as a hobby can quickly become a lifelong passion, especially as technology becomes more accessible. If you’re a new filmmaker, check out these tips to help you get started:
1. Invest in Versatile Tech
Film equipment is expensive—but it’s an investment. You want good quality equipment that will perform well and last a long time. But, as anyone who’s ever ventured into film production knows, projects can take you to unexpected places. Be sure the equipment you’re investing in is versatile enough to meet your needs, whatever they are—you don’t want your equipment to set limitations on your project before the camera starts to roll.
Nowadays, technology is pushing to be smaller, more powerful, and more portable. That goes for cameras, sound equipment, lighting, and even generators to power your equipment. Most smartphone cameras are seriously high quality, and some major filmmakers got their start filming with their phones. Portable power is also a necessity if you like to film on location in remote areas. Small and lightweight generators and power stations let you power whatever equipment you need wherever your film takes you.
2. Sometimes Less Is More
It can be easy to get stuck thinking your project needs more, bigger, and better. As an artist, you want to showcase your abilities: edgy shots, punchy scripts, dramatic lighting. But with all these extra bells and whistles, it’s easy to end up with an overpacked piece that’s lost your original vision.
Many people find success when they pick one or two areas to focus on, like prioritising storytelling or choreographing exciting action sequences. The auteur directors like Hitchcock or Welles, who have become household names, didn’t get there because they excelled in every aspect of filmmaking—they got there by having a distinct style in a few key areas that allowed them to create a unifying signature for all their films. Whatever key elements you choose, ensure they mesh with the overall direction of the piece.
3. Think Outside the Box
This one almost goes without saying—“outside the box” is the heart and soul of indie movies. But this applies beyond the writing. Camera, lighting, audio, and editing technology have become more advanced and accessible than ever, which means more choices for you as a creator.
A single smartphone can do the work of several traditional pieces of equipment. There is also a lot of decent editing software available for free or low cost, with lots of technical support from online communities. You don’t have to have a massive budget or the fanciest equipment to make something wonderful.
Find What Speaks to You and Others
Being an independent film allows greater creative freedom. The best indie films depict the intersection of the artist and the viewer—they show where the creator and audience find common ground without losing the aspects that make them unique. You can get there, too, by knowing which tech to invest in, what makes your style distinct, and how to think outside the box for filming, editing, and producing.