You can always count on feeling good after watching a movie. Regardless of whether it was sad, happy, or full of intense action, a movie can spark your imagination, ignite your senses, and transport you into a world of wonderment and awe. If you think you have what it takes to become the next Spielberg or Scorsese, you might be interested in how to make your own movie. To get you started, we are going to go over 5 essential steps that you can take to create your own cinematic masterpiece.
Step 1: Get Your Equipment
Camera: The most essential piece of equipment for your moving making endeavor is going to be a camera. Sure, you can use a cheap camera to make a professional-looking film, but first decide what type of camera you can afford and what type would be best for your film. For instance, if you want to achieve a homemade look for your movie, you can go with a cheap camcorder. The $100-$200 range will get you something that is mobile, effective, and convenient. The $500-$800 range is for more serious movie makers, so consider investing in a Panasonic or a Sony model if you want to get the most out of your equipment.
Editing Software: Decide how you are going to edit your film. There are certain programs that are compatible with Macs, such as iMovie, and PC computers will use Windows Movie Maker. If you are just starting out, choose one of these basic editing programs so that you can mix in sound, edit the footage together easily, and add in credits at the end.
Location: Depending on the type of film you are going to make, finding a location can be difficult. Write down the type of shots and scenery you are going to need for your film and find a space available to you that will provide you with what you need. Keep in mind that most business or restaurants will be hesitant to let a beginning filmmaker use their space, but it does not hurt to ask. A lot of people can be excited to be included in a film.
Recruit Help: The process of making a movie is very hard to do alone. Usually there is a large group of people who work together to make everything come together. Right now is a good time to tap into your resource and see what friends, family, and people in your area would be willing to help and contribute to your movie. If you have trouble finding people, consider placing an Ad on Craigslist or creating a post on Facebook to call out any actors, writers, or helpers you might need.
Step 2: Write Your Film Script
Independent movie makers write just as much as regular writers do, because they too are on a mission to tell a story. The only different with movie making is that a movie maker is telling a visual story. Once you know you want to make a movie, you will need to:
- Have an idea and dream up a visual story.
- Expand your idea into a story by developing characters, creating a premise, creating conflict and action, and ending with a resolution to the story’s conflict.
- Write your screenplay.
Screenplay: A screenplay will break up your story into scenes that are filmable. This makes the whole filming process easier. You can attempt to film scenes are they come to you in your mind, but it is a better idea to plan everything out before executing.
Dialogue: Writing out your screenplay involves writing out all the dialogue that you want your characters to say as well. You will also have to add proper direction, camera movement, and exposition cues into your screenplay so that the individuals both filming and acting know specifically what to do and how to move.
Storyboard: Creating a storyboard for your film is going to help things come together more smoothly. This will also help you point out and anticipate any difficulties that you might encounter in the filming process. Creating a visualization of how your movie is going to play out will be helpful for you as the filmmaker, as well as the rest of your movie crew.
Step 3: Look and Feel
The aesthetics of your film are extremely important in the filming process because a movie is all visual. Think about your favorite movie – did it have some great visually effects, and were you aesthetically pleased? The answer is probably, yes.
Shots: Determine if you want your shots to be smooth or rough. Depending on the type of movie you are making, you might want your scenes to look graceful and fluid, or, you might want a handheld or “shaky” feel.
Set: The setting of your movie is going to be very important. You will need to determine whether or not you are happy with the set if you have chosen a location, or if you are going to have to build a set. A number of successful movies were shot outside or in a building with very little props – it all depends on what you want to achieve as a movie maker.
Wardrobe: The wardrobe for your cast is always important because many films rely on the costumes of their characters to tell something about their personality and communicate certain messages to the audience. For example, think of “Men In Black” and the wardrobes they used, or a period style movie such as “The Great Gatsby”.
Lighting: Lighting will also set a large portion of the scene for the movie. Again, you will have to determine what type of movie you are shooting. If you are making a dreamlike movie, you are going to want to light to look soft. If it is an action-type movie and realistic, you might want some very hard lighting that almost seems to cut through the scenes and characters.
Step 4: Casting
When casting your film and choosing people to play characters as well as other roles on set, you are going to have to determine which roles you want to play as well. For instance, you might want to direct the movie yourself, or you might want to choose a director. Here are some of the other positions that you will need to cast before you begin shooting you own movie:
- Cinematographer: This person will be in charge of the lighting aspects of the film.
- Set Design: To ensure that the set is in line with your vision for your movie, and that the set is created smoothly and kept tidy.
- Sound and music: This person is in charge of the dialogue in the film, sound effects, and mixing and editing any of the music in post production.
- Cast: The characters of your film are going to have to look the part and be able to do what your movie scenes require of them.
Step 5: Filming and Editing
The final set of making your own movie involves filming and editing. When you film your movie, know that sometimes it will take multiple shots and tries to get the angle and position of the shot that you desire. You will then need to edit your film and add the sound effects and music you desire. Once your editing is finished, export your film onto a digital format or upload it onto Viemo or Youtube for easy access.
Achieve Your Movie Making Goals
There are many different elements involved if you are interested in how to make you own movie. The end product will be both visually pleasing and satisfying to you as a filmmaker. To learn how to make and sell your first movie, enroll in this course to make your movie making dreams come true.