Knowledge is power, and that goes double for the film industry. If you’re not learning something new everyday you’re doing something wrong. So to help you out, here are 5 filmmaking secrets you should know! Be sure to check out other Filmmaking Articles for more in-depth film industry knowledge.
1. Log Lines Are Your Saviour
When starting out, most indie producers will settle for a simple character driven story. The problem with this is that, in most cases, the story will get too muddled, confusing, and loses direction. Here’s a quick and easy test; find someone (you can know them or not) and tell them your log line. Did they understand it? If not, you have a serious problem. It’s best to fix this before you start shooting. This will also come in handy with marketing later on.
2. Words Turn Into Expenses
Like we mentioned in an article in the past, everything in your screenplay costs money. So if your passion project is too expensive, write something based on locations in your neighbourhood or places you have access to already. It may not be exactly what you’re hoping for, but you’re going to have restrictions, especially in the beginning. Your true genius will come from your ability to tell a compelling story, not your budget.
3. Weather, Children, Animals
What do all of these have in common? You can’t control them! Typically, it’s best to stay away from using animals and children in your film as it can be difficult (or impossible) to give them direction. Weather you simply cannot predict as I’m sure you’re well aware of. This can become costly, and fast. Now, I’m not saying avoid exteriors for the run of your movie but try to give yourself the best chances with scheduling around weather and always have a back up plan.
4. Get A Production Manager
Hire a seasoned Production Manager to work with (not for) you. You will need one. They will read your script. They will not hold anything back. They will tell you that your movie will cost way more than you think (because it will), and they will help you fix that to meet your budget constraints (because that’s what their good at). Managing the budget is their job. Respect it and don’t get agitated, they’re here to help. Then ask your PM if they know a great 1st AD, because guess what the final secret is…
5. Hire a Great 1st AD
Don’t get some film school dropout just to save a few bucks. Pay the money and build a relationship. The 1st AD will be the commanding general of your production. They will build off the production manager’s budget and schedule the movie. The 1st AD keeps the production on time and saves you money when they can by pushing things along at a reasonable pace.
Have Any Filmmaking Secrets of Your Own?
Everyone has found their own tips and tricks while working in the film industry, why not share yours? Let us know your filmmaking secrets in the comments below!