How to make a great film
Making a great film is not easy, but it is possible if you follow some basic steps. Here are some tips to help you create a film that will impress your audience and yourself.
- Watch great films. Watching a film to a potential filmmaker or a practicing filmmaker should be a learning process. The more you invest time in watching great films, the more you commit your imagination to excellence in the craft. Going to film school is great. Likewise, understudying an established filmmaker on set is fabulous. However, dedicating your time to watching timeless movies unconsciously prepares you to create the similitude of what you have seen over time.
- Have a model/mentor in a filmmaker. Everyone you respect in filmmaking is standing on ‘the shoulder of some giant’. No one is an island of knowledge. Mentorship can either be perceived or active. The person you adore might not want you in his/her space: but that does not mean you can’t learn from the person: a lot can be learned by studying all the films made by the role-model. Don’t live your life chasing anyone, do great stuff, and one you are chasing will start chasing you.
- Choose a genre and theme. A genre is the type of film you want to make, such as comedy, horror, drama, etc. A theme is the main idea or message you want to convey, such as love, friendship, justice, etc. Choosing a genre and theme will help narrow down your options and focus your story.
- Write a script. A script is the blueprint of your film, where you write down the dialogue, actions, and directions for each scene. A script should have a clear structure, with a beginning, a middle, and an end. It should also have a plot, which is the sequence of events that drive the story forward. A plot should have a conflict, which is the problem or challenge that the main character faces, and a resolution, which is how the conflict is solved or changed.
- Find your cast and crew. A cast is the group of actors who will play the roles in your film. A crew is the group of people who will help you with the technical aspects of your film, such as camera, sound, lighting, editing, etc. You can find your cast and crew by holding auditions, asking for recommendations, or searching online. Make sure you choose people who are reliable, talented, and passionate about your project.
- Plan your budget and schedule. A budget is the amount of money you have or need to make your film. A schedule is the timeline of when and where you will shoot your film. Planning your budget and schedule will help you avoid overspending and wasting time. You can use online tools or software to help you with this task.
- Shoot your film. Shooting your film is the process of capturing the images and sounds of your film using a camera and a microphone. You should follow your script and schedule as closely as possible, but also be flexible and creative if something unexpected happens. You should also communicate well with your cast and crew and give them clear instructions and feedback.
- Edit your film. Editing your film is the process of selecting, arranging, and modifying the footage and audio of your film using a computer program. You should edit your film according to your vision and style, but also consider the feedback from your cast, crew, and test audience. You should also add music, sound effects, titles, credits, and other elements to enhance your film.
- Distribute your film. Film distribution is the process of making a film available to the public for viewing. There are different platforms and channels of film distribution that can reach different audiences and markets. Some of the common platforms and channels are:
- Theatrical release: This is when a film is shown in cinemas or theaters for a limited period of time. This is usually the first and most prestigious platform for a film, as it can generate box office revenue and critical acclaim.
- Home video: This is when a film is released on physical media such as DVDs, Blu-rays, or VHS tapes. This is usually the second platform for a film, as it can reach a wider audience and generate additional revenue.
- Television: This is when a film is broadcast on television channels, either free-to-air or pay-per-view. This is usually the third platform for a film, as it can expose the film to a mass audience and generate advertising revenue.
- Streaming: A film streaming platform that lets users watch movies and TV shows online. Users can access it through a website, an app, or a device. Some platforms charge a fee for unlimited content. Others charge per title, and some are free with ads. Film streaming platforms are popular because they are convenient, varied, and personalized.
Making a great film takes time, effort, and creativity, but it can also be fun and rewarding. Follow these steps and you will be on your way to becoming a filmmaker.