Getting Started as a Filmmaker
From directors and producers to average video photographers, each individual has taken or seen some type of cinematography. With a projected job growth of 11 percent between now and 2020, the film industry appears to be providing a great outlook for filmmakers. However, getting started in one of these prized roles takes experience, talent and some credentials.
MFA degrees offer special emphasis for students looking for more education, while trade schools offer to teach an individual the ropes of filmmaking. Others, less interested in producing major films, may venture into editing, audio production and even be part of a sound crew for a smaller product. Whether you have big screen aspiration or just want to pick up filmmaking as a hobby, you’ll need some help along the way. Here are a few pointers:
- Learn about the Industry – Filmmakers appear in an assortment of different industries, from wildlife, movies to even television. Each industry films in a different manner, requires different tools and demands different credentials. Before you run out and buy an expensive camera or editing software, you’ll want to know what type of industry you want to start filming for.
If it’s your run-at-the-mill sister or brother’s birthday party you want to film, chances are you won’t need a camera or editing software that runs into the hundreds of dollars. If you want to film wildlife animals, you’ll need to understand the subject you intend to film as well as the type of equipment you may need. Always know the industry you hope to produce content for before you get started.
- Purchase the Necessary Equipment – You can’t film without a camera, but they’re also expensive to buy. For a novice filmmaker, a moderately priced camera will do just fine. The reason being is more high-end cameras are used by professionals and you may not understand all the functions that one of these expensive cameras is equipped with.
A decent camera will run you a few hundred dollars, but you also need editing equipment. You cannot expect to simply point, shoot, capture and be done. You need to polish up the film, edit the sound, add in special effects and remove what you don’t need. Editing software can also come at a costly price, with some of the leading software programs running several hundred dollars, but its well worth it. You might even need other equipment as well, such as lighting and sound equipment, if your film requires it.
- Practice, Practice, Practice – With your research completed and equipment picked out, now it’s time to actually practice. Filmmakers start with a plan and answer such questions as: What will you be filming? Will you need actors? Where will you film? All of these small issues are sorted out before the actual shoot. It’s your job to figure out where, what and why are you filming something.
Use your equipment to help perfect your craft. Read books. Watch films. Visit forums to help refine your trade and improve on your skills as a filmmaker. If you want to publish content and get audience feedback, submit to YouTube, post on Facebook or start a blog to get your information out to the masses.
When you first start out, it’s important to note that you’ll make mistakes. It will take years to master new film techniques, and you may need help with your sound. What’s important to take from this is to not let the infinite amount of information overwhelm you. Take your time. Relax. You’re just starting off. Books, films and even other filmmakers will share techniques and give you ideas for your new project.
Here’s a FANTASTIC short film that was made as an example of quality work…If you can master this…you’ve got it made!