Why reinvent the wheel when you are filming your first production, why not instead use the wheel that’s already there in invent something unique and exciting?  With these pro tips, you can start out with a good foundation for your first film production and make strides forward instead of trying to catch up to the line of scrimmage.  Pay attention!

It’s all About That Script

You can’t build a sky scraper to rival the Empire State Building without a sturdy foundation; the same logic goes for your film.  You can throw money at big name actors and directors, but unless the script is rock solid, your film will not be a success.  Feel free to let others whom you trust read the script and offer objective notes, and more importantly, take those notes into consideration.  The biggest mistake a young film maker can make is to feel their first draft is good enough and so precious that it shouldn’t be touched even one iota.  Don’t fall into that narcissistic trap.

Old mans glasses on an opened book on the table. There is a film camera on background.

Old mans glasses on an opened book on the table. There is a film camera on background.

Budget Flexibility

If you make your budget and try to be as reasonably priced as you can and you hit the ceiling and raise that amount of money, you are going to be in trouble.  Your production must be able to absorb some unforeseen situations, or you will fail mightily.  There are always unforeseen obstacles, that’s why they are not able to be seen in advance, that’s what they are, by definition.  Young film makers and producers are often unrealistic about how far their dollars will go.  Allow a cushion, and be generous with that cushion.

Sometimes a Freebie is Worth Nothing

When making films, we want to scrimp and save everywhere we can until the big money comes in from Paramount.  But while you may have a friend who is willing to direct your film for nothing, there comes a hidden cost with it: they may be a terrible director.  There are important members of the crew that are worth paying for, namely the director and the production manager.  Feel free to get a buddy to be key grip, but don’t scrimp and save on the most key members of the crew.

Hire a Still Photographer

Can’t you just take screen shots from the film?  Short answer is of course no.  A still photographer is important both for promotional shots later on in the life of the film, and also for continuity purposes while filming.  What was the actor wearing the scene that immediately proceeds the one we’re shooting in the film but was shot 2 weeks ago?  Just call up a picture.

No One Has a Good Enough Imagination

When making a film, we often get excited and anxious to share with everyone.  But remember, they do not have a good enough imagination to envision what your unfinished product will look like, the way you do.  Never send out unfinished or sloppily edited versions of your film to potential investors or film festivals.  They will not be able to see what the future of the project will be, just that it’s in shambles now.

Young adult watching a 3d movie at home

Young adult watching a 3d movie at home