10 Things I’ve Learned Trying To Make My First Movie (Part II)

Click here to view Part I of this list.

5. Script Justice
Your finished movie should, as goal, be more interesting and exciting than reading the script– so if you don’t have the resources to truly bring the words to life, don’t bother. Shelve that cop drama, sci-fi adventure, or gore-fest for when you can actually do it justice. Craft a story you have the resources to pull off. Think small, think local, think honest.

4. Know Your Locations
Spend a good amount of time figuring out the quirks of every location you’re shooting at. No location is as simple as ‘alright we need a master shot, some coverage, a two shot, LET’S GO!’ There may be planes at certain times of day, ground that isn’t level, electricity problems, a weird refrigerator hum, creaky floorboards, you name it. For this reason, avoid locations that you only have a small window of time to use. You’ll always need longer than you think.

3. Interchangeable Parts
Actors may randomly ditch your project, especially if you’re asking them to work for free. There’s not much you can do to prevent this, but you can minimize the damage by not putting them on a pedestal, so to speak. Don’t marry yourself to any one actor, as there are plenty of willing and able actors out there who would love to play any role in your movie. This isn’t to say that every actor is right for every role, but try to keep things open by not writing roles that are too ‘for’ one specific person– roles where you’d have to rewrite the dialogue or arc completely if said person left.

2. Embrace Current Technology
Technology is getting cheaper and more advanced every year, which in turn means that next year, or the year after, is always the ‘best’ time to embark on your first feature film. This makes it very easy to fall into the trap of seemingly justified laziness. However, as I write this
, you can make a movie that looks and sounds 100x better than Clerks for a fraction of what it cost to make that one. That ought to be enough for you. Don’t wait for the Canon T2i’s successor. Make your damn movie now.

1. Don’t Be a Douche
Making a film is hard work for everyone involved. I can guarantee you will encounter many unforeseen setbacks. Don’t add to the stress by being a douche. Maintain your sense of humor, your kindness, your patience. If you have to sacrifice everything that makes you an enjoyable person in order to do something, you’re probably not in the right line of work. It should be hard, but never that hard.

Good Luck!

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