Filmmaking might seem easy when talking about its three main stages: production, pre-production, and post-production. But when you dive deeper, that’s when the truth begins to unroll. There’s so much more to filmmaking than just recording and editing. There are a lot of feelings, people, money, and efforts involved.
What is filmmaking? As the name suggests, it is a process of making movies. To start with the filmmaking process, you need a story that you’re sure will be a hit. Else, your money, efforts, and time will go in vain. A story or a script is one of the many ingredients contributing to film production.
You’ve got what it takes to make a movie, and a script that is guaranteed to be successful. Still, numerous things can go wrong. What do you do now? Search the internet for filmmaking for beginners' guides and follow each step.
Before getting started, there are a few things you must understand. The filmmaking process is a long and exhausting journey. You will be enthusiastic in the beginning, but it is okay to feel tired in between. That doesn’t mean your film would be a flop or you’re not a good fit for moviemaking. Be patient and remember, good things take time.
Stages of Filmmaking
The vast journey of filmmaking is broken into five stages.
This is the very first step in the filmmaking process. And this is where most people struggle the most. In this step, you need to come up with a story idea. Free association is one of the numerous techniques professionals use to develop an idea.
Get a paper,a pencil and start scribbling the thoughts you get. You don’t have to consider whether they make sense or are relevant. For now, write them down. Once you’re done penning your thoughts, make changes, combine different ideas, and give them a structure so they can grasp the appearance of a great idea.
Contrary to this, many professionals prefer taking a more organized approach rather than spending time scribbling their thoughts without thinking. They would use flowcharts, word clouds, and outlines to connect the segments of thoughts and create a well-structured idea.
Ideas don’t have a specific time. They can invade your brain at any moment. Make sure to write it down rather than thinking, “it’s fine. I can remember it.” Another tip to trigger ideas is to travel to a location that relates to the vibe you want to give to your film.
Everyone’s brain is wired differently. These hacks may not work for everyone. Think of how and when you usually get ideas, then indulge in that activity.
Move to the pre-production stage when your idea is structured and ready to be made into a movie.
No matter if you’re creating a huge project or a personal one at your home, planning and preparations are crucial.
Your filmmaking process can be different from others, depending on the size of the project. First things first, you need to finalize your script. Repeat the editing process until you have a near-perfect script, and then move to further steps.
Now, create a list from your script. Make a list of the characters, their personalities, appearances, motivations, goals, and casting ideas. Then proceed to the types of shots you need to take and the places you need to visit for different scenes. For locations, you would need to know if the chosen sites require a permit for you to film there and how much they cost.
You can also create a list of equipment and props you would need. And if you’re working on a huge commercial project, make a list of crew members you would need to hire.
Now that you’ve finalized everything from cast and crew to props, make a budget. If you’re going for a small project like a YouTube short film, we would recommend cutting down on your expenses, like renting a prop or equipment instead of buying.
Pitch the movie idea to potential investors for huge projects by creating a pitch deck. It is a presentation that contains every information about your movie, from locations to characters and themes.
Here are the final pre-production steps.
- Hire crew members.
- Cast roles.
- Scout locations.
- Prepare required legal documents.
- Buy or rent equipment.
- Create a shooting schedule.
- Rent a place for your cast and crew to stay in, and finally, start shooting.
Pre-production is one of the most time-consuming stages of filmmaking.
Image taken from Pexels
Now that you’re done with all the preparation, start with your film production. A feature film takes around one to three months to shoot.
Make sure that you go prepared at the filming location.If you haven’t already planned how and what to film first, it would cost you extra money. If you spend more time at a location than you’re supposed to or keep the rented equipment for longer than you’re supposed to, the owner might charge extra.
In this production stage, your will be recording scenes and conducting voiceovers. It’s better to shoot the scenes multiple times, so you can have several options when choosing a clip for the final product.
The one shot that may look perfect at the time you shoot might have some issues when you look at it at the time of editing. And you would have to go back to the location to film that scene again. This is also a reason why shooting multiple shots is crucial.
This step involves video editing, VFX, sound mixing, color grading, and color correction. Don't put everything on the editing crew to make your post-production stage smooth. For instance, many directors would neglect light or audio issues thinking the editing crew could fix them. Even though they fix it, the post-production process is bumpy and time-consuming.
Pat yourself on the back as you’ve completed the hectic stages of filmmaking. All you need to do now is get your film on your audience’s screens for a return on investment. You can distribute your film in cinemas and platforms such as Amazon prime, Netflix, HBO, etc.
One more thing to do is get the word out about your film. Create the social media page of your film and update the audience about your movie frequently. You can upload behind the scene clips, around 10-second long clips from the set, a short glimpse from the movie, posters, and other things which might spark curiosity.
It would be much easier to sell your film's first-day tickets and copies if you have already gained fans before the release.
If your film is not on a huge stage that could be distributed in cinemas and movie platforms, you can publish it on other video platforms such as YouTube. Or you can directly add it to your site.
Web hosting platforms like Strikingly enable users to build a website and upload their short films using the Big Media section.
Image taken from Strikingly
With Strikingly, you can easily create your website without having any coding or web designing experience. Choose the template you love, customize it according to your liking and go live.
Image taken from Strikingly
This video website can also work as a portfolio for you to get into the film industry.
Image taken from Strikingly
To add your short film to your website, simply go into the Strikingly video editor, click on “Add New Section” then select “Big Media.” You can edit the section and upload high-resolution pictures (could be a poster of your film) or upload your short film by entering its YouTube or Vimeo URL.
Image taken from Strikingly
By uploading your film to your website, you’re giving people free access to it. When people see your movie, your talent will be recognized widely opening doors to more opportunities.
If your film is not making money for you, your website can. Your site can earn through Google Adsense and Affiliate marketing.
Is Filmmaking a Good Career?
Movie making can be a highly rewarding career in terms of salary. But there’s not much when it comes to job security. You will be hired on a film-by-film basis. The working hours and wages keep changing by the location and size of the project.
The term filmmaking covers everything from shooting to distributing a movie. It requires a lot of time, effort, and a lot of money. To start the filmmaking process, you need a concept on which your script will base. Then in the pre-production stage, you will be preparing for everything from hiring the crew and scouting locations to renting or buying gear.
In the production stage, your film will be recorded and edited in the post-production stage. The final step is distributing your film to cinemas and platforms like Amazon Prime and Netflix. Or you can make it available for free, if your project is not that big, on YouTube or your website. Filmmaking is a long journey, and you can get demotivated at times, but that doesn't mean you’re not meant for it.