25 Things About Filmmaking

Filmmaking is something you learn largely from doing, and frankly I’ve not been doing most of this very long.

But I feel you pick up so much so fast that I thought, after three short films and three more in production, a few festivals and now, development on a full-length feature, I’ve picked up a few things might be worth sharing. You can call them filmmaking tips, I prefer to look at them more as a loose collection of thoughts.

  1. Your way isn’t the only way.
  2. A pathological zeal for organization will save you on set.
  3. Many of your plans will fall through, for one reason or another. Be flexible.
  4. Get out of the way of the actors.
  5. Your rough cut will suck. And that’s okay.
  6. Story is everything to your film.
  7. Conflict is everything to your story.
  8. Crews respect directors who listen.
  9. Crews respect directors who learn their names.
  10. You can’t get every shot you want. Prioritize.
  11. There is never enough time.
  12. There is never enough money.
  13. Amazing actors cannot save an awful script.
  14. But watch what great actors can do with a a great script (in other words, don’t rush the writing… or the casting).
  15. Move the damn camera.
  16. Not every shot needs to be on slider, though.
  17. DSLRs will be more cinematic rigged up; they’ll be heavy, like real cinema cameras, and move like real cinema cameras.
  18. Diffusion is your best friend. Soft light makes things pretty.
  19. Shallow depth of field looks cinematic, but not every shot calls for it.
  20. Everything in service of the story. Everything.
  21. A single zoom lens might save you money (and time) over a set of primes, but limit yourself to two or three focal lengths.
  22. There is nothing more important than the safety of your cast and crew.
  23. Always be willing to teach someone just starting out.
  24. Always be willing to learn from someone who knows more.
  25. Lose your temper and you also lose respect.