Ten Things I Learned While Making a Movie With a DSLR

1. It will take twice as long as you think. This is especially true if you have a limited budget. With a limited budget comes a smaller crew and therefore you need to do a lot more of the work yourself – if you can.
2. It will take more money than you think. Everything adds up. There are a lot of costs in post-production – licensing music is a big one and a feature film needs lots of music – and having the sound professionally mixed, makes all the difference and is well worth the money – so anticipate that cost.
3. If you need to transcode files for your editing application – then make that the first thing you do. In fact, I used the Log and Transfer plug-in on Final Cut Pro to do a pre-edit on all my clips as well as add  metadata to the files.
4. Hire a professional editor. Smartest thing I did. I raised funds on Kickstarter so that I could hire a pro. I know how to edit – or at least I thought I did – till I worked with a professional editor. My editor crafted the story and cut it like a musical composition with beautiful timing and rhythm.
5. You will need twice the memory or drives than you thought you would. Even, when working with a professional editor – in fact because I was collaborating with an editor, we had duplicate projects and media on 3 – 2 terabyte drives each!
6. Stay focused on the story. Don’t even go into the editing room without a clear idea of what story you want to tell.
7. Define your target audience. Iit’s important, especially in terms of how you want to craft the story and the rhythm of the piece.
8. Plan ahead as far as screenings or putting content online. Many film festivals have strict guidelines about previous screenings, premiers etc. I wanted to show my film on a big screen, but I couldn’t have it open to the public or charge money, so I opted to have an “invitation only” event and called it a “sneak preview”. Test screenings are done all the time with studios. It gives you a chance to get feedback.
9. Utilize social media. Have a website for the film and a fan page on Facebook.
10. Don’t try to be what you’re not. And don’t try to be all things to all people in your film. Stay true to your vision. Push yourself to try new things. Go with your gut.

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine



3 Replies to “Ten Things I Learned While Making a Movie With a DSLR”

  1. Gail,

    Great summary—and very helpful. We should think also that– to gain distribution and audience awareness–the marketing costs for a feature film can be considerable. We know a 38-year-old filmmaker, Gavin Weisen, who recently released his first film for theatrical distribution titled “The Art of Getting By”. He had won recognition and an award at one of the film festivals (can’t remember which one but maybe Sundance) after lining up a great cast and crew–basically a teenage coming of age narrative (but told with unusual poignancy–and the cinematography was excellent)—we thought it was well done and much better than much of the Hollywood summer fare—he had some good critical reviews and some mixed reviews in various papers—but not a lot of up-front hype/buzz like theatrical previews, posters and so forth. The film did not stay long at least in our local theaters in Florida. We thought it deserved a longer run. What a tricky–and risky–business! The back stories about how he raised money are somewhat hilarious (including a last minute rush to finance the last 3 days of shooting at some $20,000 per day, we think)—as told to us by his father (who is a neighbor of ours)!

    Charles and Mary Love

  2. Charles and Mary,

    You are so right as far as budgeting for marketing and PR. Entering film festivals and promoting a movie can be quite expensive.

    A good read on this is:
    “think Outside the Box Office” by Jon Reiss

    Movies don’t stay in theaters long these days. My aspirations are actually to have community screenings which are more of move to action events.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: