Making a feature film is something that many people dream about doing. It allows you to tell a story in a way that other forms just can’t do. But making a feature film is also an incredibly stressful process, and if you make a bad film it can be a big let down for movie-goers. But what if you could learn from your past mistakes and have an easy, quick reference to make sure you don’t repeat them? Making a feature film is an art form, after all; one that requires constant observation, research, and development of new techniques and ideas.
Understanding The Industry
A feature film is usually shot in a relatively short amount of time (a week to four months). Preparing and setting up the location is usually done in a few days, and filming takes place over a period of four weeks from beginning to end. Each day in the studio, from early morning till late at night, you’ll work on lighting, filming, sound, cameras placement, move around, rehearse, and polish your scenes. Try to plan and implement as many different techniques, tips, and ideas as possible to achieve the best results.
Making a feature film is all about scheduling and being organized. A good movie, no matter how long it is, must be given enough time and attention to create quality work. If you are working with a small crew and you don’t have the luxury of planning and discussing details in advance, the movie will likely run over schedule. A feature film that runs over schedule because of a poorly chosen location or poor preparation is almost guaranteed to lose money and/or fail at its goal.
Budgeting Your Movie
It’s important to select the right crew for your film as well. Some top producers, directors, and actors are attracted to small indie films that do not require a large investment, while other filmmakers with big movie producing budgets prefer to make feature-length films that require a lot more financing. In addition to location, wardrobe, and equipment, filmmakers should also budget for casting. Many short films begin in local theaters before being distributed by filmmakers, but some of the most successful independent films are also produced outside of the major movie industry. Having an experienced and knowledgeable cast and crew can make or break the success of your film.
Finally, make sure you have the proper crew available to shoot your film. If you are using a video camera to film your short film, make sure you have a way to record audio. Also, make sure that you choose a crew that has a reputation of being on time. Scheduling your shoot around popular shooting dates is not only less efficient, but it could also result in a film that isn’t completed on or near budget.
Film school is a great place to gain experience in producing your own feature. However, if you are completely new to filmmaking, you should be willing to invest the time to learn everything you can about post-production, camera techniques, lighting, and film financing. A knowledgeable filmmaking crew and post-production supervisor can make the difference between a successful film and a hit. When you work with a qualified professional, you can have a professional looking film at any time.