What are the film school secrets to becoming a fimmaker without spending thousands on film school?
Read articles in this online film school that interest you, study movies and access all the in-depth information linked to from this site. Select from recommended books, DVDs and other filmmaking resources scattered throughout this site to fill out your knowledge.
You also need to get out, meet other filmmakers. Ask questions. Volunteer to help on film sets. You can contact me directly with specific questions.
And, of course, you'll need to make movies!
Most people imagine filmmaking is mostly about making films ... directing actors, shouting "action" and "cut" and all the glamour. While that is part of the job, in actuality that exciting phase is about 5% of the time spent.
The biggest part of the indie moviemaking job is the development, or scriptwriting, phase where filmmakers typically spend one or more years looking for ideas and writing screenplays until they have a great script to film.
Another six-months to a year is spent in pre-production gathering the resources, people and money, required to make the film.
The exciting production phase of filmmaking, when the motion picture actually gets made using video cameras or other film equipment to do the cinematography, often lasts less than two-months. But round-the-clock activity takes all the energy you can muster.
The post-production phase of filmmaking goes on for six-months to a year of editing and assembling the most effective presentation of the story.
Finally another six-months to a year may be spent traveling the film festivals circuit and meeting with distributors while you search for a good deal selling the film.
Most successful filmmakers have several filmmaking projects in various phases of completion at any given time so the phases are all overlapped. Many story ideas are in development at the same time as a finished screenplay is in pre-production and a finished film is still making the festival rounds.
Movie-making can be one of the most exciting things a person can be involved in. Sound like fun? Great! Then read on. Let's start your free film schooling.
Goals and Plans: Your first step is to come up with some Goals and a Plan. All successful filmmakers started with some goals and a plan. Many of them used the same plan. There's no big secret to it. You'll learn the tried and true road in this section.
Buzz: Next you need to understand what is involved in marketing and selling a film so you make sure your Great Idea is one that can be sold. Read this section to understand the important first steps necessary to improve the chances that your movie gets distributed.
The Great Idea: You don't like boring movies, do you? No one else does either. The one, single key to success as a filmmaker is coming up with a truly Great Idea for a story. That's one thing that everyone in the movie business agrees on.
You can have the biggest stars, the best direction, special effects, music, you name it, but if the story is lame you've got a flop! On the other hand if the story idea is truly great then even marginal acting and obviously low-budget production values won't stop people from wanting to see your movie.
The Screenplay: Finally your Great Idea has to be turned into a great screenplay that will attract the talent and financing you'll need. This is such an important element that I devote more material to this subject than any other.
As Robert Rodriguez says:
Stop aspiring, start doing.
See you in Hollywood - be scary!
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