Decide whether or not you really want to make a movie. Understand that this is a costly,
time-consuming venture that will leave little time for hanging out with your friends and having
fun. Then again, if you’re making a low-budget movie, what better way to do it than to do it by
hanging out with your mates, being the center of attention and having fun?
Get an idea for a movie. It doesn’t even have to be truly original – it could be a loose remake or
spoof. Who cares? You could always use a book as inspiration – heck, anything created before
1900 is public domain and you can just steal it and use that. If you want something cohesive,
have an idea first. If you don’t really care, just make stuff up as you go along (David Lynch did
this for Inland Empire – you decide how good that was).
If you have a plan, write a screenplay. It doesn’t have to be perfect and you don’t have to
follow it 100%. It just gives you a great outline to start with. If you want, you can just write the
scenes and have the actors improvise their lines.
Have a vision.
Make a shot list and draw or create storyboards. This helps you to know what shots you
want to have in the movie before going out to shoot them. Storyboards don’t have to be drawn
by an artist, either. You can draw stick figures, take pictures of action figures, use storyboarding
software like Storyboard Quick or whatever you think works best. Again, this just gives you a
basic outline of what you need to shoot and what will be in each shot.
Get your actors and rehearse, rehearse, rehearse. This allows your actors to get a real feel
for the scene before they go out and waste time, tape, and/or film. This way they can learn the
lines together or, if you’re allowing them to improvise, they can start now and generate ideas for
lines they’d like to use.
Hire a crew. And by crew, we mean a group of people who may or may not really know what
they’re doing. If you’re really serious, put an ad in the paper and find a few guys who went to
film school who know a little about lighting, recording sound or working a camera. As a
director, you’ll be able to get closer to what you want from people who have even the slightest
idea as to what they’re doing. Or, if you want a more hands-on approach and want to learn more
about the various aspects of film making, ask some of your friends to hold mics or positions
lights with you. That way you’ll both learn and you just might appreciate it more.
Make a shooting schedule and maybe even a budget. Figure out how much money you can
spend on this film of yours and figure out the best ways to spend it. Remember, you’ll need
something to record sound on, a simple lighting kit, and a camera. Anything beyond that and it
might be too complicated. You’ll also need props, food for your cast and crew, transportation
for some of them, and you might even have to pay for locations. A schedule helps everyone,
too, because they’ll know when they need to be with you and where you’ll be.
Get as much stuff as you can for free. Are you in school? See if the school owns a camera.
Buddy up to the technology teacher. Do you know someone who owns a hardware store? They
can get you lights and maybe some props. Tell them you’re making a movie and they might give
you a discount. Need a location badly but you think you might need to pay for it? Explain that
you’re making a movie and most people will give you stuff. People love movies and they want
to be a part of one. Just tell people that you’re making a movie and it’ll open up doors you didn’t
Be organized. It’s that simple.
Stay true to your vision.
Start shooting. Be nice to everyone and try to explain to them what you want without making
them feel stupid. You’re supposed to be having fun, right? So let everyone else have fun, too.
Remember to watch your footage as often as possible. You don’t want to lose a shot because it
was too dark and not be able to go back and redo it because you only had the location for one
day. Don’t lose your cool and never forget that you’re supposed to be having fun. You aren’t
getting paid, so don’t treat it like your job. Remember to make note of takes and use a
clapboard. There’s a lot to know, but you can duck and dive through a lot of it. Just have fun.
Learn how to use editing software. Most programs are easy to learn and will allow you to
sync sound and music with almost no trouble. And don’t rush it. Editing takes time.Its good to
use a good software like particle illusion or an FX product like Fx vision lab studios (all though
these cost money ,100-200 pounds)
Create Movie Credits, you can use a video title creation system like Video tagger
Show your friends along the way. If you’re stuck, make a few versions and show people.
They’ve probably seen a lot of movies, too, and will tell what works and what doesn’t.
Slap that puppy onto a D.V.D and have everyone you know come over to your house and
watch it. Bask in the glory of knowing that you are now an independent filmmaker. People will
love you a little bit more now.
Explain to your boss why you haven’t been at work for the past few weeks. (kidding).