I don’t consider myself an expert in filmmaking. I’ve only been doing it for roughly 16 months. I spent a lot of my first project just learning how to use my camera. However, while knowing how to use a camera is important for making a movie of any kind what is most important is your vision. What is your imagination screaming? Don’t get all worked up thinking you have to go to film school because you don’t. What you need is an imagination and a vision. From there use your instinct.
If you’re worried that you cannot possibly create your own movie, then you won’t. Once you decide to make a film stick to it. Don’t let outside voices stop you. Don’t let lack of equipment or skill stop you. Experiment, test, learn. Some of the best sources for you are easily available–books and movies. Read a lot, watch a lot of film. Be attentive to how an author sets the stage, builds character, etc. Be attentive to how directors use the camera to establish, build, and guide a scene. Analyze your favorite movies. Ask yourself why you particularly like that movie, that scene. How did the director create that for you? These sort of things are what creates your own instinct with your storytelling.
I would suggest getting to know what editing software you want to use. Practice with it. Take old pics/videos and begin editing them into little home movies. This will help you learn how to effectively navigate the program, which will make for less time feeling frustrated and more time creating your film when the time comes. Editing can be learned in a classroom, but trusting your instincts in the editing room is a great way to learn.
Now, you’ve finally gotten over your fear enough to begin filming. You may not know all the jargon and you may not quite know how to run a well-organized set, but you’ll learn. You create your own system as you go along. The more proficient you become, the more creative you’ll become. In my last post I talked about storyboarding and how it helps create the types of shots you want; you can check it out here. Storyboards are great, but they are not final. Often when you’re on set you might feel a new inspiration. Do not hesitate to try a new shot, a different angle, add motion, or whatever inspiration comes to you. If it works, great! If it doesn’t, you’ve still got your original plan.
Your films reflect you, so don’t be afraid to put your stamp in it. If Steven Spielberg did not go with his instincts, we would not have gotten Jaws, and without Jaws his career would have been over. (If you are unfamiliar with the making of Jaws, it would be very beneficial to look it up!)
If you’re an aspiring filmmaker, leave me a link to your YouTube channel, or ask me anything that’s on your mind!
Be sure to check out my YouTube channel (don’t be intimidated by the Japanese, it’s mostly in English)
Also, follow me on Twitter @AllenSmitheeJr
Don’t give up, just make your dreams!
Allen Smithee, Jr.