Guide Independent Filmmaking: Secrets of the Craft

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2. It’s who you know, not what you know.
Contents:
  1. Sundance Institute | Sundance Institute
  2. 9 Ways to Feed A Hungry Film Crew For Free
  3. 2. It’s who you know, not what you know.
  4. Independent culture newsletter
  5. Advancing the Form

Sundance Institute | Sundance Institute

Stay real. The filmmakers that are successful in crowd funding know that it is a full-time, pride swallowing pit of a desperation and despair. And with that, there are responsibilities that you will have if you do make your goal. And finally, yes, know that one crowd funding campaign is likely your last.

Secondly, you can only beg your family, friends, relatives, co-workers, and everyone they know for money so many times. One to be exact. Apply here today!


  1. Independent films?
  2. Independent film?
  3. Filmmaking Tips for the Independent Filmmaker.
  4. The Second Part of King Henry VI: Pt.2 (The New Cambridge Shakespeare);

Bad acting will kill a short film the moment it shows up on the screen and audiences can smell a bad and self-aware actor a mile away. A great actor will draw an audience in with their performance.

No Film School

So go to your local universities and theater companies. Find the nearest talent agencies that handle booking models and actors for local commercials and print. Put ads online and in the paper. The actors will come. And you must audition, audition, audition. And you can never settle.

9 Ways to Feed A Hungry Film Crew For Free

Whoever you cast will make or break your film, plain and simple. And finally, audition your crew as well. Take the time to choose your sound designers, your editor, your film composer, and especially your cinematographer. Examine their body of work and pay particular attention as to how they seem to carry themselves. Can they work well with you?

Can you work well with them? The lighting, lenses, and camera work is so utterly important with short films.

Indie Film Producing - The Craft of Low Budget Filmmaking with Suzanne Lyons

And yes, while some screenwriters will hate this fact, in short films the visuals are sometimes more important than the depth of story. So many great short scripts have been so utterly undersold by pour production value and lackluster visuals. So find the most visually enticing locations you can. Hire or partner with some talented lighting technicians and an amazing cinematographer —and hope that they have some great equipment.

And if you have special effects to deliver in your story, make sure you can truly deliver on them visually.

Along with visuals, pay particular attention to quality sound, which includes musical score. Have an audio system and someone that can run it. And do your best to find a talented film composer, because music is also so vital to the cinematic experience and can also offer the cheat of filling in transitional and quiet moments within the film.

2. It’s who you know, not what you know.

You as a filmmaker need to stand out amongst the rest, thus your short films need to do the same. And it gets boring fast. Give us a story to follow. Take us on a journey. Give us something that engages us. Offer some amazing twists and turns. Surprise us. Shock us. Entertain us. Not for your first few couples of short films at least. You can make a much bigger impact with a shorter running time.

Less truly is more. Keep everything short, sweet, and to the point. Be sure to put forth a good chunk of your budget for craft services and noteworthy meals. Surprise us. Shock us. Entertain us. Not for your first few couples of short films at least. You can make a much bigger impact with a shorter running time. Less truly is more. Keep everything short, sweet, and to the point.


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  • Be sure to put forth a good chunk of your budget for craft services and noteworthy meals. These people, whether they be few or many, are working hard to accomplish your vision. You have the responsibility of all aspects of the production on your shoulders. But you need to be overly collaborative with your cast and crew — at this stage especially. Let your cinematographer come in with some ideas. Ask them how they think the shot should look. Let your cast come in with some ideas as well. Give them some freedom with their characters. Allow them to question some of the choices made within the script.

    Trust the lighting and sound people to do their job. Trust them all and listen to them. Surround yourself with talented people that you can find online, at universities and theater companies, etc. Film is a collaborative art form. Even Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, and Woody Allen have to rely on their respective collaborators to make their films the classics they usually end up being. They rely on their cast and crew to do their part and to bring their talents and viewpoints to the table.

    You must beg and borrow. Find locations that are visually enticing and go to owners and just ask. Never be afraid to just go and ask. People love movies and many will be thrilled to be part of that process. Have your actors come up with their own wardrobe and do their own makeup.

    True story. Back when I was working as a studio liaison for Sony, a co-worker of my wife was shooting a micro-budget short film and asked me for some guidance as a producer. I knew that they needed a diner location and knew that attaining a diner out in the real world would likely be a difficult venture. So I went to the powers that be at Sony — including the stage managers — and told them I was producing a short film and was wondering if there was any chance that the cast and crew could come shoot for a full weekend day on location at the Sony restaurant where executives dined and throughout the entire Sony lot as needed.

    Independent culture newsletter

    Normally, the expense for such would have been tens of thousands of dollars, but because I asked and used my relationships, the studio gave us full access to the lot AND to the grip department which housed thousands upon thousands of dollars worth of lighting and sound equipment. And we got it all for free. Needless to say, the cast and crew were thrilled to be shooting their micro-budget short film on a major studio lot with free reign for upwards of 16 hours next to gigantic stages that housed hundred million dollar movie productions.

    These nine tips are just the tip of the iceberg as far as what it takes to get that short film made. Filmmaking is hard, whether it be for a feature or a short film.

    Advancing the Form

    But you can certainly makes things easier on yourself by following these nine tips and seeking out more advice and tricks of the trade from other filmmakers that have been through many rodeos of their own. A Red Ampersand Company. Hit enter to search or ESC to close. Love Audition, audition, audition. Cinema is a visual medium. Make your short film worthy of that medium. Free download!