I’m sure that almost anyone who’s made a film knows the following keys to making a movie, but it seems like some in Hollywood have forgotten the basics. So for those of you who don’t know or may have forgotten, here’re my steps to making a movie.. you dummy. (Sorry for the insult, but this IS called “Movie Making for Dummies”. )
1) Decide what kind of movie you’re going to make- Will it be a narrative film, documentary, or will it be a film that tells a true or fictitious story? If you want a narrative, decide if you want to write a story yourself, base it on a book or base it from a real life story. Either could work. Don’t confuse a documentary with a narrative. Narratives tell the story with characters and plots, so you can make a real life event into a narrative. Documentaries, on the other hand, provide behind the scenes footage of events or a person’s life, with real life people discussing these things, while providing information to the audience about a person or an event.
2) Decide on your theme or plot and genre of your film- While TV shows about nothing may seem to work, movies about nothing will do the absolute opposite. Almost every story has a lot, be sure to be very descriptive about what the movie is…about. The more interested you are in the film, the more it will cross over to your audience.
2.5) Knowledge- Be sure you know what the hell you’re talking about. If you don’t know horror movies from the back of your hand, you probably shouldn’t be making a horror movie. Just like with writing.. sometimes it’s better to stick to what you know.
3) Write a script- Without a script, there’s nothing for anyone to rehearse. Your script should detail every scene, the actions performed by the characters, the settings/locations, and when each scenes changes. The stage term for that would be blocking. If you’re unsure of how well your script reads, have someone else read through it for you. Sometimes it helps to have another persons opinion.
4) Story-boarding- Plan the shots you want to make in the film. This will help the film go along a lot smoother.
5) Cast & Crew- Without a cast of actors or people to speak in your documentary and a film crew, your film will go nowhere. Just because someone’s got a pretty face most certainly does not mean they should be in your movie or have the lead role. Substance over flash wins every time. Be sure the people you have in mind for your film are willing to work for whatever film budget you have. It’s also important to make sure everyone knows what they’re doing and knows what they’re supposed to do. And make sure everyone involved is properly paid and or accredited.
6) Location, location, location- Location is key for any film. You can’t shoot a film about living in the city if it’s shot in the country, and visa-verse. If you can’t find the right location, create the sets you need.
7) Equipment- Make sure you have equipment. Without it, your script, cast and all the above is pointless. Make sure all the equipment you’re using for your film is in working order. Useless equipment makes making a film rather difficult. Equipment needed for a film shoot: Video camera(s) and tripod(s), additional microphones, lighting equipment, and spare tapes/discs.
8) Roll cameras, and…action- Now it’s time to make your film.
9) Most important of all- Know your audience. The people who will watch your film are one of the most important elements of the film. Be sure not to pander to them. It’s true, some people love fan service, but just remember… fan service is fan service and pandering is just downright… irritating.