Amateur filmmaking can be a difficult and time-consuming process. But what if you were able to improve your system with a few tips and tricks? Here are just five ways to make better movies.
1. Have a Plan
This is probably the biggest mistake of amateurs. They hear about Steven Spielberg winning awards for a movie full of improv, and they think they can do the same with a group of friends and their iPhone 5. Don’t fall into this trap. Give yourself a solid action plan when you set out to make your movie; you don’t have the resources to waste when something goes wrong.
2. Anticipate Accidents
Speaking of things that go wrong, Murphy’s Law is alive and well on filmmaking sets, so it’s always better to plan for accidents in advance. For example, print multiple copies of the script to accommodate someone who inevitably forgets theirs. Buy a portable generator to keep filming after a lightning storm cuts your power. If it can go wrong, go ahead and assume that it will go wrong.
3. Ask for Input
It’s easy to get so lost in your own personal vision that you forget about the audience’s. Do they know what the red sled means? Have you made it clear that Character A and Character B are siblings? Screen your film to friends and family to get their opinions. If you plan on releasing your film to a mass market, make sure that the market can actually understand what you’re saying, showing and symbolizing.
4. Experiment With Styles
Fiddle with lights. Shoot scenes from multiple angles. Play around with colors and filters as you create your special effects. When you’re the director, you get to make your own rules about what the movie looks like, and you might stumble onto something great by messing around with your videos.
5. Back Everything Up
When everything is stored on digital technology, one coffee spill can ruin months of hard work. It’s critically important that you back up your files, photos and films to an external source like a digital video storage device. You’ll be glad that you did when a clumsy assistant comes barreling through your set.
These are just a few tips for making better movies. Whether you’re shooting a goofy video for social media or the next award-winning documentary, use these methods to improve the amateur filmmaking process.