Following the Schedule of Film Maker Success While following a strict rigid schedule might not seem like the best way to let the creative juices of film 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 dates reserved for the filming process up to an entire set of shooting schedules that is broken down into hour increments. The choice is yours in how you decide to lay out the schedule, but creating the schedule is very 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 start shooting. 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 everyone at the same time. However, if you have a rough schedule created in advance such as when you are doing the initial casting you would be able to let everyone know when they would be needed which could be a huge help in trying to rearrange their own personal schedules. Just imagine the hassle of having an entire cast minus our main character when you are ready to shoot only to find that they were not given the schedule in advance. Sticking to the schedule down to the minute is certainly not necessary. If you find that you work best under those conditions it is acceptable and entirely up to you. However, breaking down into a schedule that at least has day part and day laid out is helpful to cast. Not everyone is able to devote every day for a month to a video, especially if they are not being paid. Using volunteers or actors that are working for extremely cheap wages means you really need to take into account the schedules of others in 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 if you really need a natural rainstorm you should let the cast know this upfront. Keep in constant contact with people when rain is expected and ensure that everyone knows as far in advance as possible. It nothing else, if your cast knows you are in search of rain they may contact you at the first sight of rain to 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 not going to enjoy working with you if you fail to ensure they are informed about the important issues such as the schedule in advance. Just continuously think about how you would feel if you were the person left out in the dark on the schedule, you likely would not enjoy it. Showing your cast a bit of professional courtesy can also go a very long way towards having people talking and saying good things about you. Often this professional courtesy of an advanced schedule will be able to extend into other benefits as well. Actors are notorious for talking, if they talk to other actors about how much they love working with you and why, you should see an increased turn out at your future auditions for films. This can make the selection process much harder ultimately, but will certainly provide the benefit of giving you plenty of actors to choose from, and a much more advanced set of actors to choose from. Just remember, this is another area where practice makes perfect. Be willing to make a few mistakes and take responsibility for them, the cast and crew will notice and appreciate your approach. Script Issues -- Write Yourself or Find a Writer Looking at all of the options for your script it is really easy to become thoroughly confused when you are working on a script. Trying to ensure that the script is laid out properly, all characters are developed well and you do not miss any of the finer details is enough to drive even the most sane director crazy. Struggling to avoid all of these problems can create even more problems, especially as you are trying to decide if a writer is what you need, or if you should attempt to work out the script yourself. It is a good idea for all filmmakers to work on their own scripts at some point. While this is not a skill that has to be thoroughly developed, it can be a very useful skill that many directors cherish. Having the ability to quickly modify a script themselves is something that can save time, but will also allow for the temptation to continuously play with the script as well. For filmmakers who have a good working background with writing you may find that working on the script yourself is best. This is not always the case though; many filmmakers have found that working on the script themselves is a problem. Some of the problems that can occur if you are working on the script entirely yourself include a lack of time. When you are working to prepare for a feature film there are a large number of things that need to be done. Working out costumes, locations, equipment and even possibly working on a budget are all hassles that must be handled. Hiring a writer to handle these problems for you can free up your time as a filmmaker to work on what you enjoy, and leave the details of writing and laying out the script for someone else. Additionally you need to consider your budget, if you have a very small budget, or something that is closer to nothing than a budget at all you may find that it is necessary to write the script yourself just because you cannot afford a writer. You still have a few options if you find yourself in this position though. It is important to take your time when writing the script if you need, but instead of just diving into the script you could feel free to look around for someone who is willing to write for you in order to gain experience. Finding a writer willing to work for just experience will not last for long, and often you will need to agree to pay a percentage of any money that the film makes, but it certainly beats paying a large premium for a writer upfront. Additionally, using a writer who is willing to work for a very cheap rate can allow you to build a great working relationship with someone else who is just starting out. These contacts can serve you well in your entire film career and should always be encouraged if at all possible. Regardless of your ultimate decision over whether hiring a writer or just writing the script yourself, ensure that you really make sure it is developed properly. Rushing through a script, even if you are paying for it can cause a lot of problems because you will have great difficulty getting the high quality that you need to produce a high quality film. Never cut corners on the script since this will be one of the lifeblood's of your movie. Average Length of Feature Film Scripts If you are looking to create a feature film for any purpose, you are probably wondering how to get started. The average filmmaker has a process that they use to actually get started. The specific process that each filmmaker uses is often quite different because everyone chooses to approach their film differently. While many filmmakers approach the process of creating feature film with the simple idea that pops into their head there are many others who begin the process of creating a film by starting with a script. The length of the script that a filmmaker typically starts with is quite varied in general, which leaves everyone a lot of options to explore options available to them. Many filmmakers begin working on a feature film based off a tiny script or even a small book. This can be something that is as short as only 5-6 pages or as long as 100 pages easily. The exact length of the script often varies based upon the length of the film itself and many times the length is changed substantially as the filming process starts to unfold. In general, a shorter script will translate into a much shorter film. Another guideline that you can use to help you determine how long your film script should be is to use the average idea that each page of script will consist of approximately 30 seconds of footage. This is only a rough estimate though; extensive lines of spoken script can take longer to do while fewer lines will generally take less time. This is important to keep in mind if you are working towards filming a film that will be a specific amount of time when you are finished. It is also very important to remember that everything shot for footage will rarely actually be used. Most filmmakers will edit out various parts, change the layout a bit and make additional changes to the film, which can alter the length. Typically speaking if you shoot 60 minutes of footage you can expect that to translate into only a 30-45 minute feature film. If you find that you have additional footage time you could choose to shorten the film further, or you could be satisfied with the length that you have achieved. The major problem that many filmmakers experience when working with scripts is trying to ensure that they are detailed enough to provide enough footage. For example, if you are trying to create a feature film that will be at a minimum 15 minutes you would need at least a 30-page script to fill out the entire 15 minutes allotted. In many cases you would need to further lengthen the script as well so that once areas have been edited out you still have the entire 15 minutes that you are striving for. If you are working with a writer or a team of writers, it is generally much easier to handle the task of editing the script. As a filmmaker, you would be responsible for reading over the script initially and writing down any notes that you have. These notes would allow the writers to expand the script in areas where you as the filmmaker would like more information and details. If you are quite creative with fleshing out scripts at the last minute, you may find that the actual length of the script you have is not important. It is possible for many feature filmmakers to easily take a very short script and turn it into a very extensive film. This is not something that everyone is capable of, and frequently this ability is fine tunes as experience is gathered. There are many filmmakers who find that years after beginning a career in the film business they are able to easily flesh out scripts at the last minute, but the main ingredient to success is starting with a script that has plenty of detail and creativity to it so that you can easily grasp the entire breadth of the film and enjoy the creation process. Developing Characters to Ensure a Hit Film If you are working to create thorough characters that will be able to actually connect to your audience, you have a rather large task ahead of you. Most audiences will agree that they are more interested in what happens to characters that they are emotionally attached to. This emotional attachment is not impossible, and is in fact quite easy to create if you take the time to fully develop your characters. Just as people in real life have many aspects, your characters in the feature films that you create should be much the same. You need to first begin by creating a complete background for your character. Information about where your character comes from, who their parents are, where they went to school and other details of the past may not actually be used in the film you create, but they can help to define your character. You may even decide to use some of these details in the film itself. Ensuring that each character has a life story will help make them much more real. Regardless of the career that you select, each character needs to have a job. This is not to say that they should all love their jobs. After all, in real life many people dislike their jobs. Choosing appropriate careers that are suited to the character can create a smooth feeling, while picking out a job that is grossly incorrect can create a rather funny situation. Choosing the type of job you select for your character is very important to help set the tone, especially if there are parts of the movie that focus around scenes at work. Friends, family and even pets are also needed. Most people have each of these aspects in their real life. A character that seems to merely fall out of the sky with no friends and family will not be very real to the audience. Again, a character that is not capable of getting an emotional attachment from the audience will likely cause your movie to suffer. Create a few friends, or at least attempt some awkward attempts at friendship. Once again, not all friendships have to be deep bonds, mimicking life is ideal in this situation. Another place where the characters often fail is in personality. Is your character a clean freak, do they prefer to ignore the housework. Do they stress out if all of the vegetables in their kitchen are not organized alphabetically? Must shirts be thoroughly pressed with starch? These types of small details can really develop your character and provide endearing traits that are beloved by the audience. Consider the television show Monk, the quirky detective is loved by fans due to his strange and erratic behavior. Developing each character is important. A lot of filmmakers will spend an excessive amount of time on their main character and leave the others in the dark. Giving each character a good workup will help to ensure that your film is well balanced. Unless you plan on making a movie with only a single character present for the majority of the movie, such as in the Will Smith movie "I Am Legend" you will need to develop each character to help the audience understand how they all fit together. This creates the larger picture that will really help your audience grasp all of the details, and really start to care for your characters. Protecting Legal Rights During Filming Your Feature Film One of the biggest problems that can shut down a movie after production has wrapped is the threat of a lawsuit. This is something that can occur at any point in time, and will likely create huge headaches. If you find yourself trying to avoid these problems you will have much better luck ensuring that your films actually are released, rather than being trapped in the holding pattern. Taking the time to avoid potential legal problems in the beginning as you are working on the script will go a long way towards avoiding these problems. When you are working on your script, you need to ensure that you are basing all characters off of complete 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 adjusting the character you should be able to remove most of the differences. Additionally, when you are naming characters you should check in the location where you have set the feature film to ensure that nobody has that name there. For example, if you are creating a film that is set in Omaha, Nebraska and are planning to name a character Otis Smith you should look in the Omaha area to determine if anyone has that name. If you find someone who does have that specific name in the area, you have two different options. You could either change the name, or you could change the location where the movie is based. If you are set that the name needs to remain then changing the location is best. If you are set on the location then your best option is to change the name. The ultimate choice is up to you, but this will help you to prevent 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 small disclaimer at the beginning. The disclaimer should just plainly state that all characters are purely fictional and that any similarities to anyone living or deceased is merely a coincidence. This will help to 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, you absolutely must obtain permission in writing. Without the permission, you will almost certainly find yourself the victim of a lawsuit. Depending on the characters that you are interested in using you may have a bit of trouble obtaining permission. The higher the profile of the fictional characters the more important the permission is. If you are interested in using only limited rights to the characters, make sure all of the details are laid out clearly in a contract that is signed by both yourself, as well as the creator of the characters. Taking a few steps to protect yourself, as well as your film will ensure that all of your hard work is recognized. Working on a film and discovering that you are not allowed to release it to the public is a crushing blow to many filmmakers. Taking the time to avoid such complications will only take a brief amount of time, and frees up your attention for other matters. 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 film that you are planning to generate income from. However most people honestly do not have the access to the cash required to purchase the equipment for strict hobby purposes. This can make it very complicated for people who are looking into breaking into the movie industry. Finding yourself in this position is not only zero fun at all but it can be extremely bad for the quality of the movies that you are making. As a general rule of thumb, you can work with only a few pieces of professional equipment. Once you have the basic equipment it is much easier to start slowly replacing the rest of the equipment that you have and producing feature films that are a much higher quality. In general, if you take your time and shop around you can also find some very good deals on equipment that will allow you to make the most of a limited budget. In the beginning as you are trying to work towards building up your equipment you are probably going to want to purchase at a minimum a good camera. While this does not have to be a professional camera, you are certainly going to want something that allows you some options with focus, range and even the lighting controls. While professional cameras are easily priced at $5,000 and upwards, simply looking for a good digital camcorder in the range of $500 and up should be sufficient for a brief period until you can build up other equipment. Searching around for the best camera you can afford is important, and if you are looking to make good quality films you need to be very concerned with the quality 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. If you are merely interested in doing real films using only real people and images your needs are likely much less extensive. However, if you envision using awesome special effects such as shown in movies like 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 the amount 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 up doors and painting the entire room an appropriate shade of green. Most people though, especially in the beginning do not have this as an available option. If you find yourself in this position you can purchase green screen drape which is technically called a chromakey, purchasing a muslin styled chromakey is most recommended since the quality is much better, however cheaper plastic models can be used as a replacement. The chromakey is absolutely essential if you cannot devote an entire room to the green screen if you want 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 good industrial spotlights. You will need a minimum of two so you can effectively light up the chromakey behind you. Once you have set up your green screen area the last major purchase that you will need is a good set of animation software. This will allow you to insert the animations into your digitally recorded video and create many of the great special effects that you see in feature films. While this might seem like a huge shopping list to make those feature films of your dreams it is quite brief. There is a lot of equipment that is involved for advanced users such as sound equipment, wind machines and even lighting supplies but having the basic equipment can allow you to get started and expand your skills without breaking the bank. This also gives you plenty of time to practice with each new piece of equipment you buy before moving onto the next so you can harness the full potential of your film making. Ultimate Suggestions to Creating Night Scenes in a Feature Film Making movies is something that a lot of people grow up really wanting to do. The problems are that many people are not quite so willing to share tips and suggestions on how to get started. This can leave the film industry almost impossible to break into successfully. If you find yourself in this position, you may be trying to determine the best way to shoot a film at night. This can be extremely complicated because of the extensive lighting that is required to actually achieve the proper balance of light. What you may not realize is many film makers choose to record night scenes during the day. This then allows them to use techniques such as blue washes, and even tricks in the editing of the scenes to achieve the nighttime look. This is something that is not very well known and many new filmmakers have found themselves attempting to film a scene at night, which can create huge headaches in terms of ensuring you have enough light to actually see the actors in the scene, without making the lighting look fake. If you are choosing to record scenes in the daylight hours you are not only reducing the amount of work you are going to need to do, but you are also increasing the chances that someone will be able to avoid an injury. Many accidents can occur if you are shooting at night because the lights make it difficult to see all of the equipment at shoots frequently. Taking the time to really look at recording all of your night scenes during the day can also save a bundle of time because you can clearly see what is going on in the background, as well as what each and every one of your actors are doing. One major expense that you are able to avoid by shooting scenes during the day is the need to have a generator. Because many locations used for night shoots do not feature ample electricity it is a requirement to have a generator frequently. This can create a huge expense, as well as a lot of noise that has to be fixed later in the editing process. Avoiding the need to have a generator entirely can not only reduce your budget, but provide a more natural light and save you the time that would be required to fix the generator noises in the background. As you can see, there are plenty of reasons why shooting a night scene during the day is a fabulous idea. Taking the time to create a gentle blue wash for your scenes is critical though or the lighting will not appear natural when you are finished editing. While the advanced video editing software that is available can make huge adjustments to a picture, it is only capable of doing so much. Starting with the best light situations possible can go a very long way towards ensuring that the scenes look as natural as possible once you are finished with the entire editing process. Creating a perfect feature film is a process that will take a lot of practice. Learning how to properly fill in your day lighting to change to the perfect night lighting is a technique that will require a bit of practice. It is typically a good idea to work at practicing this technique in just a plain scene, or with only a few actors before you attempt to use this technique for an actual film so that you can gain some useful experience. If you attempt to start using this technique in a film itself, you may find that you are having to redo several scenes until you do achieve the perfect lighting, which could start to eat into your budget. As with all other aspects of creating a feature film, practice will make perfection and it will be no time until you are creating perfect nighttime scenes like the professionals. Choosing a Good School -- Is It Necessary to Make a Feature Film? Many, many, and even many more filmmakers have all attempted to get into a prestigious school. The result is that a few are accepted and many others are turned away. There is only so much space sadly; this does not always have to mean the kiss of death for a filmmaker though. A good vision and a determination to learn and grow can overcome even being passed up at a film school. It may put the filmmaker at a slight disadvantage, but many others consider it a good idea to bypass film school. You might be curious about exactly why it would be considered a benefit to bypass film school. After all, don't successful film makers need to go to school in order to learn how to create a film? The truthful answer is that while film school can be a very valuable asset to have, it is not something that is required. The internet as well as connections can go a long way towards providing you with all of the information that film school would offer you. This can save you a lot of money, plus allow you additional time to really look into all of your options for creating a film exactly how you want to. Film making school can be a huge asset for many filmmakers, and it is not something that should be completely discounted. However the costs can often far outweigh the benefits to the program and will ensure that you are able to really develop your own create style. One of the complaints that many film makers have is film school teaches how to create films in all the same manner, this can often limit the creativity of each person. While at the same time, going to film school has also served as a great way to open the eyes of many people into new options that are available. Working with all of the details that come into effect is very important, after all film schools are notorious for packing information into a very short period of time. A lot of work is done in regards to the various aspects of making a film from the very start until the completed process, which can make it quite easy to learn as much as possible about the entire process. It is critical to the development of many filmmakers to have this experience because often skipping film school has the effect that filmmakers are only learning about a very limited area of the process. Most filmmakers who are working entirely without professional experience find that they are working with a very limited range of experience that can ultimately harm their movies. Working around these limitations is extremely important to the overall success of most projects but is not always easy to do. If a filmmaker is willing to take constructive criticism it is much easier to actually create the wonderful pieces that will serve to build their creative process. If you find that you absolutely want the experience of going to a film school you need to make certain that you select a school that you feel comfortable at. This might seem like a small issue, but in fact it is quite large. Being uncomfortable at your chosen film school can really reduce the amount of creativity that you have. You are spending more of your time trying to fit in or make yourself at home, rather than focusing on improving your film making skills. Spending a large amount of time searching over the different film school options available to you will help you to determine which school fits your needs the best. Always remember that you need to ask as many questions as possible, which can allow you to really get a good overall feel for the school, prior to signing up for classes. Picking the right film school can have a huge impact on your career, so choosing carefully is very important if you choose to go this route. Ultimate Ideas Exposed -- 3 of the Top Suggestions You Will Find Creating a feature film can be a lot of fun, but many times the real art form is lost in the battles of Hollywood as writers and directors battle over how to create the perfect film. For independent filmmakers these battles are much easier to win since often the director is the writer as well. Learning how to overcome some of the potential problems that you will encounter is important. Your film depends on the success of the project, so starting with the ultimate motive of success will be paramount to how successful your project really is. You need to take some time to really plan out a good story line, script, characters and schedule. These will all play together as you start working on the actual movie. Unless you have signed up for a specific project where there is a limited deadline you need to be flexible and take as much time as you need for each area. A poorly thought out script will leave the audience unhappy and you as the filmmaker ultimately unhappy as well. Never release something that you are not completely proud of unless absolutely necessary and this starts by ensuring that the backbone of the film is strong before the cameras ever start rolling. Be willing to embrace mistakes and problems as well. Rather than viewing this as a potential to foil your film, view this as an attempt to improve upon your own personal skills as a filmmaker. You may even discover that by learning from your experiences you want to change something about the film, or perhaps change just a small scene. Either way, accepting the mistakes and problems as they come along you will walk away with more experience and have a great opportunity to grow and improve in your situation. Being completely unsure about your overall position will leave you with huge problems about how to conquer your potential problems, and possibly ruin a great film. You should also look at the conclusion of the film as a great reason to throw a small party. Be willing to share the film with everyone. This will allow those you work with to see that you value their work, but will also allow you to gather feedback from others. If you have a lot of friends just show the movie to friends. If you want a wider audience consider hosting a free movie night at a local theater or community center that will allow you to really spread your film around. This added exposure can be helpful in finding new actors, getting feedback and even gaining more confidence in your ability as a filmmaker. Being willing to just let go is sometimes the best thing you can do for yourself, and your films. This is not always possible, but taking the steps towards the right direction is critical. Good filmmakers know that success always is accompanied by tragedy. Embracing this and making the most out of the situation is a great step towards ensuring that your next film will be a smash. After all, letting a single problem derail your entire film career is a horrible tragedy. Growing from the problems and sharing your love of filmmaking will make you a better and more creative person which will be a huge asset to any film projects your decide to tackle in the future. 5 Tips to Creating the Best Feature Film Ever It is important if you are looking to create the best feature film possible that you start looking at several major 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 you very much aware of the possible problems, and better position you to mitigate the possible problems before they arise. A script is your first line of defense towards success. A poor script will have everyone including your actors losing interest very quickly. On the other hand, a strong script will keep everyone interested because 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 time really paying attention to what is happening. If your characters are grossly underdeveloped, it can negatively 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 is merely showing up and talking is not an asset to your film and can drag down the entire story. While it is true you cannot afford the ultimate Hollywood actors on an independent film budget, you should still look for actors passionate about your project. The results of their passion will be obvious for anyone who is viewing the final movie. A final note about actors, always ensure you select someone who fits the role. There is nothing worse than watching a really bad actor attempt a role that they are not right for. You should spend plenty of time setting up the schedule for shooting. Always be sure to set into the script extra days for reshoots and possible weather problems. Everyone wants to pretend that there will be no problems when shooting their film. This is a dream that rarely ever happens though, just remember it is better to have extra days set aside that are not used, rather than run over on time and possibly have to scrap the entire film because you are out of time. Additionally, a bit of your budget should 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 at once you might keep a straight train of thought going, but you are also likely to become tired and start making minor mistakes. This can be awful because it could allow you to make a tiny mistake that really pulls down the entire film. Taking your time and breaking it up over several sessions will ensure that you approach the sections with a fresh mind, and ready to really see the project. If possible, it is a good idea to wait a few days after wrapping shooting before editing so that you can approach the material fresh as well. Your final step is actually showing the film to get feedback and taking the feedback graciously. No filmmaker ever wants to be told that their film is horrible. But if your film has problems, you should take the feedback that you are given and look at it against your film. Is the feedback good, or is it something that is just personal preference? For example, saying that your story line is a bit vague would be considered good feedback. Saying that your leading lady should have blond hair would be a bit more preference usually. Being aware of the feedback of others can help you to really develop your style as well as connect to the audience. Ensuring the Success of Your Feature Film with Actors The final area that many filmmakers worry about is actually finding actors. This is a huge problem though because often you are then left grasping at straws and looking for someone to fill a role just to fill it. This could have devastating results on your movie and can really pull down the entire atmosphere of your whole movie. Instead, it is very important to start looking for great actors very early into the process. The exact point you should start looking for actors may vary a bit, but there are several 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 start looking at all of the different actors that are available. Not all actors that you find will be suitable for your project, plus not all actors that are available are going to be really interested in your project. It is very 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 do need to look for actors who are interested in being a part of a very successful experience. It is possible for actors to work on several films at once, especially for smaller films but they should still show your film 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 they can often be a great resource to tap into. With cheaper prices than actual professional actors, a good hobby actor can be a great asset to your budget. You can also look around at some of your friends as well; you might find someone who is interested in getting started at acting this way. Just be sure to let each potential actor look over all of the details of the script that you feel comfortable releasing so that they can get a good feel for the character and you can see how well they fit the part of that character as well. If you are interested in trying to create a truly spectacular movie and do not want anyone to talk about it with 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 directly related to the project. If you are planning to enter a contest for example, this might be a good idea so that your movie is kept entirely secret until it is actually submitted. This would prevent someone from stealing 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 even over 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 find people. You can search around at the local theaters, post ads, ask friends and even look at the local acting classes. If you have a performing arts school in your area this would be another great way to find some wonderful acting talent. The benefit of most of these places is the fact that you are able to save a lot of money in your budget typically. Many people, especially students will work on films for free, 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 to ensure that you are able to fulfill any agreements that you make with actors. Nothing will harm your reputation as a filmmaker more than having actors who are upset because you never follow through on promises. If necessary you should write down all promises so that you can remember what you promise to each actor, just be sure that the promises are reasonable to fulfill. Where to Spend Money When Creating A Feature Film The list of places where you need money to make a film are quite large, looking over all of the options it is really easy to become completely overwhelmed but there are a few things that you should be able to skimp on price for which will free up your budget for other areas. By following these tips and suggestions, you will be able to make your film for a reasonable amount of money that will not break the bank. Just remember many independent filmmakers get started with budgets that run only a few hundred dollars. Your first step is of course a script. If you have the talent to actually write your script then you are in luck and that is a lot of money that can be saved. If you do not happen to have this talent and you are better behind a camera you need to instead start looking for a writer that you can use. You can check with friends that enjoy writing and even look around at various writing websites. The availability of a writer is unlimited; the problem comes when you need to find a writer that you can work with successfully. The details of money can sometimes be worked out easily, especially if you are using someone 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 as locations. This is where many filmmakers start running into problems. The idea of whether to obtain permission first then film or even film and beg for complete forgiveness is completely split amongst filmmakers. If you opt to be responsible and ask for permission first you may find that the locations you want to use will require rental fees. Often this will be the most expensive aspect of your film, but can be easily lowered to save money. If you check over all of the details pertaining to the place you want to film you may even be able to find something very close as well as right outside of specific boundaries 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 a good 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 work lights is much more budget friendly. An additional benefit of using this method is the ability to easily adjust lights as necessary and even decrease the power of the light by simply swapping the bulb to a lower wattage. Many people can find cheap halogen lights for as little as $5 a piece and if you want top of the line models you can generally stay at less than $30 each which leaves a large chunk of your budget for other areas. Costumes are often a very expensive part of any feature film. The need to have extensive costumes to follow along with a story line can easily turn a script into a very expensive reality. There is help and hope 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 generally look to vintage clothing stores and thrift shops as one of the best places to find older clothing. If you are looking for clothing from a much older era such as the 1800's, you would be best to start looking for 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 the costs. With a bit of creativity it is possible to create a truly spectacular movie that you will be proud of with a very tiny budget. After all, not everyone can start out with huge multi-million dollar budgets so learning how to pinch pennies while still maintaining quality is absolutely essential.
4 Tips to Picking the Best Film School for You Everyone knows there are dozens of film schools all around the country, and then hundreds of other colleges that might teach some courses that are helpful to a filmmaker. Gaining the most experience possible in a highly creative environment is important to help ensure the success of any filmmaker though and it can mean a huge difference when it is time to start looking at which school you are most interested in attending. If you have any questions about which school is best for you, you need to start looking at the schools objectively to help you narrow down all of the choices. Your first step should involve looking for a school that has at least one instructor that you are very interested in working with. Your desire to work with this instructor should have several reasons, not just simply you think they look nice. Instead, there should be a specific film that they have worked on that you admire, a specific film making technique that you respect or even a method of teaching that you feel will blend well with your particular learning style. Remember; avoid picking a school simply because the teachers look nice. You should look for a school where the students look like they are actually happy. This might seem strange, but students who are always upset and mad are not going to be fostering the creative atmosphere that you need to succeed. You should look for a place that encourages students to be happy because a school that is trying to pull students down will often stifle creative ideas as well. Filmmaking is a process that relies quite heavily on creative thinking. All films at some point start out as nothing more than ideas written down on paper, the creative process that each individual involved in the film brings helps ensure that as it comes to life, it is something truly spectacular. You need to also look for ample equipment at the film school. While you may not have access to all of this equipment making films on your own, it is important to learn how to use everything properly. A film school that merely teaches students how to use homemade or alternative equipment is not going to fully prepare you for everything ahead of you. In contrast, you also want to look for a school that will allow you to improvise with equipment at times. It is a good skill that is badly needed for most filmmakers. No matter how much you plan, something will occur where a piece of essential equipment is broken and you need an alternative solution quickly. A final consideration should be the style of the school. In order to get the best experience possible you should look for a school that will teach all aspects of filmmaking. For example if you are attending a film school you need to ensure you are taught about story lines, scripting, working with actors, editing, filming and time management. Each of these areas all work together and you may find yourself working in each of these areas when working on a film. While you should have a crew to assist in many areas, having the experience to know what needs to be done, and when is something that is extremely valuable and can really set you apart as a filmmaker. This diverse experience will be quite helpful as you set out to create truly spectacular feature films. Best Time of Year to Shoot Your Feature Film While the idea of shooting a feature film in the spring or summer may be top on your mind there are several reasons why it might not be a great idea. Knowing exactly what these reasons are may make it necessary for you to adjust your film schedule, or it would be at a minimum a good indication of potential problems that loom on your horizon. Making appropriate choices about the season to film your feature film is very important to success; after all large problems that are completely unexpected can 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. This is especially true if you are working with a very small, or even zero budget. While there are always actors around to choose from, they are likely to be working on top projects during the warmer months that will pay better. If you are unable to match the pay of the larger projects, or even the scope you will need to work around these schedules. Be prepared to experience huge problems replacing cast at various 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 to shoot your film during a different time of year you must make certain there is ample time built into the schedule to accommodate these problems. Additionally, you need to be extremely flexible if you are trying to work around production schedules for different projects. Without the added time and flexibility, you will find that you are fighting an almost impossible battle that you will not win. Being aware 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 sure that the cast and crew are aware of this ahead of time. All indoor scenes could be shot in advance for example. If you are only shooting a small amount of footage outside you could cut the time needed in the warmer weather down to a matter of days, rather than weeks or even months. This would go a long way towards ensuring that your budget is able to hold up, and your cast and crew will still be around for you. If you absolutely do not want to start production until the warmer months you need to be sure that you have a budget that is able to pay the actors and crew. Filmmakers who are working with extremely small budgets have to be a lot more flexible in schedules. In contrast, if you are paying a premium wage to the cast and crew, you have a much greater right to be demanding that they adjust to your schedule. Regardless of the wage you are paying, you will find that during the warmer months you are going to have a higher rate of people calling in, rather than coming into the filming as scheduled. This is again where an appropriate schedule is absolutely critical to ensuring that you are able to keep the project on track and targeted to be released appropriately. Managing the Feature Film Script to Be Successful The script is one of the most important areas of your film making process. If you have a bad script people will not be interested in your movie, you will have difficulty finding actors and your entire project can meet a very premature death. The solution is you need to ensure you are developing a good script, and making sure that your script is laid out properly. Ensuring a script is laid out well might seem like only a waste of time, but it will be a small benefit that your actors really appreciate. Keep in mind, actors who enjoy working with you are much more likely to put a large amount of effort into their role, as well as enjoy working with you again in the future. Your first task is going to be actually taking ample time to develop a good script. This does not mean you need to spend a year on it but you can certainly expect to spend a few months. If you have a Hollywood budget, you would be able to afford to pay several writers to work on the script full time, but as an independent filmmaker you are likely to need to use your own writing skills to create the script. It is quite important that you do not schedule shooting to start on a script that you have not even started writing yet. If you find that you will be working on the script for a long period of time it could really throw off the scheduling that you have planned. You should also take some time in the layout of your script. While you may want to create small versions of the script, it is very important to realize that this is not something that actors are typically impressed with. It can make your script much harder to read, which will ultimately turn actors off from your work. Additionally, you need to ensure that you are using just standard sized paper that is white. Using cute colors might seem creative, but it will generally make the script harder to ready. Avoiding emoticons as well as strange fonts is also highly recommended. Your ultimate goal is a script that is extremely easy to read at a glance. To ensure that actors are able to find their places in the script quite easily it is a good idea to create a table of contents that is broken down by scenes. This should be done in connection with all of the pages being clearly numbered. While putting numbers of the pages might make it look a bit messy, it is critical to do so actors are not wasting time looking around to determine which page they are expected to be on. Remember, your ultimate job with the script is ensuring that it is laid out quite easily for the actors as well as crew to review. If you are not sure about the exact way to lay out the script, or you really hate the tedious work of laying out the script you should look into hiring someone to edit the script, which will work well for helping you to get the script completed much faster. If you cannot afford to hire an editor, or if you have a problem in locating an editor who is willing to work on your script you may need to work on it yourself. Just be sure to take your time, and make any adjustments that are needed. Do not be afraid of taking months to years to finish a script entirely. This is not uncommon and having a good script is much more important than rushing through the process. You are going to be much happier with the result of your movie if you take your time to correct any mistakes that you locate prior to releasing the script. Plus, as a final though, always make sure you wait to show the script until it is completely finished if possible. Making Appropriate Sound Equipment Choices It is very important to take some time when you are looking for good sound equipment to ensure you are picking good quality equipment. While there is a general presumption that equipment that is expensive is better quality, it is not always true. It is very important to start looking at different brands that you are interested in and start doing some research. Simply purchasing the first piece of sound equipment that you find could have you purchasing something that is overpriced, inferior quality or inadequate for your needs. Looking around and talking to other film makers should be quite helpful when you are trying to decide what sound equipment you need. In general, the most important piece of equipment for sound is a good set of microphones. You need microphones that will pick up ambient noises and also those that will be used to pick up the voices of your actors. If you have a choice between which quality you want to be the best you need to look at your voice microphones first. This will ensure that everything your actors say can be recorded in crystal clear quality. If you have to skimp heavily on prices you should be able to confidently purchase a cheaper microphone for ambient noises that will not cause you great headaches as you are trying to edit the film later. There are numerous models of microphones that you can choose from. One of the biggest tips you can follow is to start looking for brands that are actually made from the same manufacturer, often this can save you a great amount of money if you find a lower priced brand from a company that you know and trust. This can allow you to still purchase a high quality microphone that is much cheaper than you would pay if it has a different brand name on it. This can allow you a lot of versatility and also allow you to purchase the professional equipment that you want much cheaper than if you were purchasing the pricier models. One of the most important things you always need to remember to do regardless of what sound equipment you select is to ensure you record at a minimum 3 minutes of ambient sound in any area where you film. This means if your feature film is expected to have 5 different filming locations you should have a minimum of 15 minutes of sounds. Additionally, to make it easier to handle the sounds later if they are needed you should be sure that each is clearly labeled so that you can make appropriately choices while you are editing. You never know when you will need to use a sound loop rather than using the sounds of the actors, or if there will be background noise that is completely inappropriate for the scene you are filming. Having the backup sounds will enable you to edit the sound to create the perfect scene, even if the filming conditions were not optimal. Just imagine how upsetting it could be if a sudden gust of wind came along during your filming. This could potentially ruin any film, and create huge problems during production trying to cut out the sounds of the wind while still keeping other ambient noises in place. By having the ambient background noise that is additional, you could simply replace the windy ambient noise with the more appropriate sound selection, which will ensure you do not have to reshoot an entire scene because of a small windstorm. The problems that you may encounter during filming can always be corrected with the correct sound software and an appropriate amount of sound recorded. Just be sure you are using good equipment and proper software to obtain the best results. If you truly have a limited budget, you need to spend the bulk of your money on a good set of sound software since this will become one of the best investments you have ever made for your films. One saved feature film will make the price of the sound software quite worthy of the money you paid. 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 need at all for a computer or even software. After all great filmmakers in the past simply used a camera and manually edited the movies to create the great masterpieces of yesterday. Today's filmmakers though have a wide expanse of equipment available to them, as well as hundreds if not thousands of incredible special effects. Because of this, it is quite necessary for filmmakers to use technology now that was previously 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 alter images and create incredible special effects. While many special effects are the creation of actual equipment and skill there are many others that are actually created in the editing process using a computer, software and the video footage that was shot. This can allow you to take a very simple video and add in virtually unlimited options to your videos. Because of this the usage of computers and by extension software in the making of feature films is heavily explored and used by virtually all filmmakers now. Using the technology involved in video editing you can create seamless transitions, instant splices and even create interesting overlays in your films, which can add a lot of visual appeal. This is all technology that is directly related to the advances in the film industry that many filmmakers currently enjoy. While many of the advances in technology are not cheap there are others that can be purchased quite inexpensively which makes it very easy for even beginner film makers to start purchasing the software 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, but having the ability to edit footage at a minimum is something that is considered a necessity rather than just a luxury. While in the old days of feature films the footage was edited manually, it was also a reality that films were recorded on actual reels of film. Most footage for amateurs and many professionals as well is now recorded in a digital format. This requires the need to have software that can handle the specific requirements of the digital format and enable you to get the most usage possible from all footage that you have. Further needs that many filmmakers have is the need to adjust sound levels of the filmed footage that they 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 also possible to add various sound effects into the films and even cut out various sound pieces as well which can allow for a completely customized process. With all of the technology and equipment that is available to film makers today the reality that you need software is quite clear. The type of software that you need to create the feature films varies substantially based upon your exact requirements. In general, you can expect the software that you select to be a huge purchase that will be quite expensive. However, the return you receive in regards to your time, quality of your feature films and even the editing and altering options available to you is 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, feature films are much harder to make and are much lower in quality. A great piece of software can change average footage into a spectacular masterpiece that becomes a treasured asset. Essential Tips to Shoot the Best Film of Your Career There are several different ways you can shoot your footage when you are creating a perfect film. The choice of which shooting perspective you want to use is entirely up to you, but there are clear advantages and disadvantage to each. If you are just starting out in your film making career you might want to spend a lot of time playing with both shooting styles so that you can determine which you are most comfortable with. While following the tips and suggestions of other filmmakers can help make things a bit easier for you, it will ultimately be your own personal style that will determine how you shoot your films. The first major shooting style is going through during your film and shooting the same scenes but at different angles. If you have a lot of equipment including cameras you could just record each scene once from the different angles. If you only have a single camera, you will need to move it around and record each scene multiple times. The method that you prefer will often be heavily influenced by your budget and the number of good cameras you have available. If you are using several different cameras to record, the same scene once you need to ensure that all of the cameras are the same recording quality. If you have a camera that does not record at a good quality you will find that almost all if not actually all of the footage shot with the inferior camera is wasted. By shooting in this style, you can easily edit the film later using a computer and the software of your choice. There are many advantages to shooting this way since you can use the software to create a myriad of special effects and transitions that are fitting with your film. However, you need a good set of software in able to actually make the film look good during editing. Poor quality software could make it quite difficult to edit, as well as could negatively impact the quality of the video that you have shot making it almost impossible to actually product a professional quality video. There are some pieces of software that can help to repair and correct any deficiencies that your camera might have, and if you have lower quality cameras you might find that this is well worth the expense. The second shooting style involves editing the movie as it is recorded. This would involve more work during the filming, but once filming is done you have a completed movie. This would involve backing the video up and starting scenes over exactly perfect from whichever angle you wanted to see. This is something that can be extremely difficult to learn, because without a proper idea and even a good creative vision your film could look extremely choppy and dicey. This style of shooting reduces the need to have a computer and extensive software and if you are good at shooting in this style, it could even reduce the length of time it takes you to create each film. The biggest drawback to this method is you are often able to see minor mistakes in the footage later as you are viewing the completed film. Due to the fact that you shot each scene only once, and have no footage to edit with you are left with the mistakes as well. While the mistakes may be minor or they just might be a missed word in the script or possibly something major they cannot be corrected. There are times when this type of shooting is best though, especially if you are looking to create a video that is recorded as a single shot. However, practicing this method is highly advisable before attempting to create an entire movie so that you have ample opportunity to refine your skills. To achieve the best results you should work out a couple of scenes that you want to practice with and then use this as an opportunity to build your skills to the necessary level. 3 Pieces of Essential Sound Equipment Making sure you have all of the critical pieces of equipment that you need to create a feature film can be very complicated. Ensuring that everything works together to create the perfect film that you are envisioning is never easy, but taking the time to ensure that everything is proper before you start recording your film is very important. Without good sound, you are likely to lose a large number of people who would make up your potential audience. This can often cause a great film to wind up largely ignored and a filmmaker extremely frustrated. Your first piece of equipment is going to be a microphone. This is something that should be looked at far in advance of actually shooting any of the scenes so that you can be certain you are getting the best sound possible. Each microphone will have a different range that it works best. Your key to having good sound from each is knowing the proper range for the microphone that you are using. If you need a microphone that records close up, then you need to ensure you have proper placement, without getting so close that you are interrupting the filming of the scene. A microphone dropping into the scene during recording can ruin footage and create additional headaches in the future. Microphone cables will be your second critical component. This needs to be properly installed or you will find that after spending a day shooting a scene that you love, you have no sound to work with. Nothing is worse than finding out you have wasted an entire day filming because the microphone cables were not properly connected. A period check is essential to ensure that they are connected. Aside from just ensuring the cables are connected, you need to ensure you pick up cables that are a good quality. Poor quality cables can cause problems when you are trying to record the sound and can add interference into the recording. Being very careful to avoid interference as well as ensure proper connection will go a long way towards ensuring that sound is properly recorded. A final step is looking at the sound software that you have. Using good quality sound editing software you can make huge changes to the recording because you will have the flexibility to easily change the order of speech and sounds. You can also work to adjust the sound levels for a scene to adjust for ambient noises as well. You might discover that while you were recording there was an annoying siren in the background that is distracting from the scene, having additional ambient sound footage you would be able to replace the siren, which can help you to save the footage entirely. As you can see, each of these three components is necessary to create the overall feeling for a movie. A feature film that has poor sound will likely lose the attention of the audience very quickly. Taking the time to really pull together the proper sound equipment is a great step towards ensuring the success of your movie. Taking pride in the sound will show as people are viewing your movie, and gives you a great opportunity to play with different sound scenarios to discover what really works best for the individual feature film that you are creating. Knowing how to make the changes and produce the quality results will be a key benefit that will serve you well for all feature films you create. To Show or Not to Show -- Deciding if Your Feature Film Should be Shared Deciding whether the feature film you have worked so hard on is worthy of being shared is not easy. With the size of everyone's ego, as well as the amount of work put into the project it is no wonder that everyone is completely emotionally invested into the process which can make it even harder trying to make the right decision. The fact remains that anyone who is looking to create a career in the film industry will eventually have their work critiqued by their peers. Being able to accept this and properly decide 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 no struggles with should you release it or not. The fact remains that some of the biggest factors are technical. For example, if your camera equipment is poor, or you have bad sound equipment for the film that detracts heavily from the story line you need to avoid the temptation to release the film. The one major exception to this rule would be releasing a feature film that has poor shooting or sound that was actually intended. If your story line focuses around this and it works out perfectly to enhance the story 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 the film it might be best to hang onto it. One example of this would be using a person that is well known to base a character on. If the person feels that the character infringes on their rights they would be allowed to sue to protect their rights. If you find yourself in this position then deciding not to release the film would be wise. On the other hand, if you are merely nervous about your work and scared what people will say you will need to simply swallow your pride and introduce your film. Taking a risk at what people have to say is important. Not all feature films that are released are a huge success. There are plenty of films that come out of Hollywood that are not a major commercial success. Being fully aware of this is essential so that you do not take any rejection from viewers personally. You need to keep in mind that everyone has 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 feature film. Taking the feedback that you receive from viewers can be quite helpful as you are trying to work out what is working for your audiences, and what leaves them completely confused. Your job as a filmmaker is to ensure that you are able to pass along the ideas that you are trying to portray, without completely confusing the audience. If your audience is still lost once the movie is over, you will need to work more on your approach towards telling the story. You might discover that the characters were not 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. Lighting Tips for Feature Films While the budget of a major movie director would certainly be nice to work with it is necessary to start looking at things from a very different angle at times. If you have a limited budget, you are working against many of the ideas that tend to circulate about the need for highly advanced equipment. However at the same time, there are ways you can get professional or near professional results for a fraction of the cost of professional equipment and lighting is one of the best places you can save money. It is extremely important to understand that proper professional lights can easily cost between $200 to as much as $1,000 for each light. This is a price range that most people simply cannot afford for a hobby, much less is it possible to afford this while still ensuring that not all of the other areas of your budget suffer. One of the best things that you can do is look for comparable lighting that will provide very similar results for only a fraction of the price. One of the best examples is a light tree, and the use of halogen lights. These lights can frequently be purchased for less than $40 each and when combined with a $20 light tree you can easily create a comparable light source. Each halogen light can typically produce 500 watts of light, which would require the use of two halogen lights to create the 1,000 watts of power that each key light will typically offer. This can free up your budget substantially for other areas. One important consideration though is exactly what you are trying to light up. If you are just trying to light up people in natural daylight the usage of additional lighting will be minimum. If you are trying to light up a room that is completely dark, you are going to have more trouble. The benefit with this is that you are able to adjust the light to your specific needs without a great amount of difficulty, however it is critical that you take the time to carefully study different lighting options both behind and in front of the camera to decide what lighting source you like the absolute best. If you discover that the usage of 500-watt halogen lights is too strong for the scene you are filming it is quite easy to decreasing the lighting. Either you can angle the lights to focus on a different area, or alternatively you could look at even changing the bulbs in the lamps to a lower wattage. Either method will typically suffice, but it is important to ensure if you angel the lights a different direction you are not creating unwanted shadows. Many filmmakers who are just starting to make feature films find that they have problems with unwanted shadows, which are a result of poorly aimed lights. Continuously watching the footage that you are shooting and making periodic checks can help you to combat this problem. If you find that you really need a bounce card to properly light up your scenes, you have a couple of ideas that are both reasonable. You can either choose to purchase a premade professional quality bounce card, or you can go to your local fabric or craft store and purchase a large piece of white styrophome which can be used quite easily and for a very inexpensive price. As you can see, getting professional quality lights does not have to cost a fortune. While you may want to start saving money to buy the professional equipment it is best to try to handle working the price into your budget slowly and using different pieces of equipment until it is an affordable option. Quality does not have to be sacrificed in the pursuit of affordability though. Many filmmakers have worked with budgets that were less than stellar. Simply getting out and making films will take some practice but the experience that you gain using alternative equipment can help you to grow as a filmmaker, which will be very helpful in your experience as you grow in the future. Getting Your Next Feature Film Script off the Ground Getting your actual feature film script written is one of the hardest things you will ever do as a filmmaker. 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 no idea about how to get started, how to complete the script, or even how adapt the script to their particular needs. Learning how to get the biggest impact out of your script is essential because a good script 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 will determine the overall feeling of your film and should help you to determine a bit of information about the main characters. You can flesh the story line out as much as you like, but at least having a base to start with is critical. If you have no story line, you will likely find that your script is quite lacking which 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 should include 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 very important. Many filmmakers have no idea about how to start the process, much less how they are going to end the movie. Getting these two major points down on paper can give you plenty of ideas to work 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 walking around. Just be sure to take a pad of paper with you so as good ideas come across your head you can write 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 some ideas from the natural relationships that occur between people. One key to helping create the best films is 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 ensure that this is the vision that you have in mind. If you notice this during the filming, you may need to stop and adjust the script in order to really smooth out the entire flow of events. Do not be afraid to stop and make changes to the script as you progress through filming. When you have gathered a large amount of experience, you will find you need to make fewer adjustments, but this time can be a huge benefit especially in the beginning since you are able to learn a great deal about your own personal filmmaking style. While you might be tempted to merely film an improvisational film you will likely find that the final results is not something you are overly proud of. Having a script that at least covers the basics is critical so that you have a good structure to fall back on. Knowing exactly what is going to happen in your script is a huge benefit not only for yourself, but also for your actors. Starting with the beginning as well as the end of the movie will allow you a lot more time to develop the story line as well which can be quite helpful to the entire filmmaking process. Recording Your Next Feature Film with Professional Results This might come as a surprise to you, but there is a single piece of equipment that will provide the best results imaginable when you are working on your next feature film. With a cost of well under $50 for basic models, and around $100 for professional models the piece of equipment that you need is quite affordable and will fit into any budget. Another huge benefit is the fact that it is quite small, can expand to a wide range of sizes and is versatile enough to hold almost anything you need. Curiosity is of course eating away at you right this moment, you are probably thinking about the ultimate in high tech devices but this moment but the answer will surprise you. A tripod is actually the best piece of equipment that you need. Seems rather surprising does it? The simple tripod which merely holds your camera is more important than just about anything else that you purchase for your filmmaking adventures. While this might seem really strange to you it is a fact that a poorly shot video will be not only distracting but show the lack of quality. People simply cannot focus when the camera is always out of focus for some reason or another. This leaves you with problems trying to produce a good quality film that people will actually be interested in watching. A tripod might seem like a luxury since it will hold your camera but in reality, it is a requirement. Stop and think about all of the home videos that you have ever watched. The majority usually have a bad case of camera shake going on. This creates minor annoyance at times, and huge distractions at other times. Working to eliminate this problem from your feature films is critical in order to gain respect and get the proper attention that you deserve. If all of your films have a serious case of camera shake going on, 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 loaded with camera shake. It would be quite upsetting and your audience is certainly no different. While some filmmakers are able to develop an arm of steel that does not shake or move while recording most find that standing perfectly still with no movement is almost impossible. A small tripod reduces the camera shake down to almost zero and makes it much easier to instead focus on zooms, pans and tilts that 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 personal styled tripod for around $20 or so. This will allow you to get started and focus money on different areas. However, it is essential to ensure that the tripod you select is adjustable, both for the types of cameras that it will hold, but also the height levels. You should also ensure that it is sturdy and stable as well. If the cheaper model is not stable under the weight of your particular camera, it will need to be replaced quickly with a better model. You should also feel free to take the time to analyze the stand that you purchase and learn how to adjust it quickly as well. This will allow the filming process to be reduced substantially, as well as allow you to play with various shots as the creative juices are flowing during filming. As you can now see, while a tripod might not seem like the most important piece of equipment it really is. Cutting costs and buying a cheap tripod might seem like the best use of your money, but always ensure that you get a good quality tripod that can hold up the stress that you will be putting on it. Remember, buying a single tripod that is good and lasts will be much cheaper than continuously replacing cheaper models. Plus, you will notice a difference in the camera shake between quality levels as well. Your Enemy in a Feature Film Budget It is very important as you are creating feature films to understand what your enemies are. Aside from the obvious things like technical difficulties, you need to be aware that there are other problems that you 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 if the problems appear. Your budget will always be prone to problems, but your worst enemy is likely right 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 about salaries, and equipment plus perhaps even location fees and permits. These are all aspects that can eat at your budget, but because they are accounted for, they generally do not hurt you too badly. The biggest threat to the budget will be those expenses that are not accounted for. This can include anything that you forget to include, which will undoubtedly be extremely expensive, no matter how minor it might seem. One such example of an unexpected expense could be a damage charge. If you have rented equipment that has managed to be damaged somehow in the shoot, you can look forward to a charge for the damage. Additionally, if you are late returning the equipment you can look forward to a late charge being added onto the rental. This can often be as much as 100% of the rental costs, which will really impact your budget. Looking to curb these expenses obviously means you need to stay on time for your 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. These expenses 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 after you are all done, you will still have some money left over. Many budgets need more than just 10% to handle 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 your budget, and the more equipment you need to rent, the larger the amount that needs to be set aside for the unexpected expenses. If you are able to avoid all of your budget overages, you will be able to save a ton of money that would otherwise be blown. Filmmakers who are working with a zero budget typically are much more careful about unexpected expenses. This is the type of dedication that you need to take into account anytime you are working on a film so that you can reduce costs. One way to really help keep tabs of the budget is to continuously keep a running tab of expenses. This will be helpful if you are starting to feel like you are getting close to your limit. Knowing when to start getting really tight with the budget is important. You should always avoid spending the unexpected budget on anything that is not considered an unexpected expense since the money will most likely be needed at some point. Organizing Your Film Shoot in 4 Easy Steps Most filmmakers who set out on the task of creating a feature film are well aware of the problems and complications that can arise. However, learning how to really set yourself up for success is not always easy. Creating a feature film is about so much more than just working with yourself, you have to organize writers, your crew and even your actors to ensure that everything is pulled off well. There are several things you as the director can do to ensure that the process goes smoothly though. First is ensuring the script is done before you start looking for actors heavily. This will allow plenty of time to ensure that the actors will be able to review a completed script. Additionally, having the script completed will mean that each character is fully developed. This information for each character can go a long way towards helping you to cast the appropriate actor for each role, rather than just trying to make someone potentially fit a role that they might work out for. If you can help it, try to schedule auditions over several days. This will allow several opportunities for the actors in your area to make it to you, plus allow you a lot of time to review as many people as possible. If you can, recording the auditions will be very helpful later as you are trying to review the options. Making notes during each audition is also helpful. Remember, you need someone who can embody each character, rather than just speak and read words back from a page. You need someone who can actually sell the character that you are considering them for. When you move onto working on the schedule, you really need to ensure you leave plenty of time. A lot of feature films are ruined because schedules run over, directors rush through filming, an actor gets sick and misses a day or you have to completely replace someone. These are problems that plague each feature film to some degree and need to be taken into account when creating the schedule. If you have taken these problems into account, you will not be as stressed out when they come up. Should you find that your shoot goes perfectly with no problems you can congratulate yourself, cast and crew on an incredible job done and enjoy an afternoon at the beach or throwing a party. A final step is always ensure that you devote ample time to editing. You need to cut scenes, adjust sound, fix lighting and a plethora of other issues. Most directors find that editing the movie itself can often be a bigger task than actually filming. Ensuring you have enough time devoted to this process is essential. If possible, a minimum of a month will be good to make room for problems. If you work a job aside from creating films, you might need additional time, if filmmaking is your only job you may be able to finish in less time. More important than the time necessary is the quality of the work. Your work on the editing will ultimately determine the overall feeling of the film. Taking the time to edit the movie properly, set up the script appropriately and find a great cast will pay off as your film comes to life. Great filmmakers are aware of possible problems and learn how to work around them. As a filmmaker if you can master these skills you will find that you are not only a popular director, but you are also able to create movies that are truly respected by your peers.
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