How To Make An Independent Film
If you want to know how to make an independent film, then you’ve stumbled upon the right article. What you’ll find here is a very general and overall idea of what goes into the execution of an indie film from start to finish (sorry, we’ve got a word limit). Keep on reading.
- Script. There can be no film without a story. If you’re considering making an independent film, you’ve probably got this done by now. But if you’re having trouble, the best thing to do is to create your characters first and the setting will just kind of start building itself based off those characters. And remember, if you want your film to be convincing, you have to make your characters realistic. People are not faultless, and your characters shouldn’t be either. This is the very foundation of a film, so it has to be the very best you can make it.
- Budget. You can’t make an independent film without spending money. You have to take into consideration props, sets, filming equipment, editing, actors and a crew in order to set a financial limit for yourself. Before you go and squander money, see what you have on hand or within reach that you can use. For example, you can paint a big hunk of cardboard green instead of getting a real green screen. Once you exhaust all these options, figure out what else you need and what it will cost. Since you aren’t a Hollywood studio with an eleven-billion-dollar budget, cut as many corners as possible, but without compromising the quality of your film.
- Actors. A cast is an evident stipulation. Broadcast online, with flyers and a newspaper ad that you’re filming a movie and will be holding auditions. Feel free to invite folks you know too – there is a higher chance they are willing to volunteer services if they’re a friend.
- Sets and props. This was already mentioned, but you must figure out where you’ll be filming. The ideal places would obviously be ones that already exist, like public places or your BFF’s house. Try your best to not be in a position where you need to create a whole set.
- Filming. Professional-quality video camera and lights, not the camcorder you took with you on vacation to an Alabama brothel are essential. You need a real camera and a tripod; this will capture video in far greater quality than any camcorder. You aren’t filming an America’s Home Videos entry, after all.
- Editing. All films need editing in order to look professional…or at least somewhat good. For this, you will need a special computer that can read mini-DV videos as well as editing software like After Effects and Final Cut Pro, and probably Photoshop, too. Colleges with film majors have this technology, so if you don’t know a film student personally, hire one. And yes, pay them; don’t be a dick and give them “experience for their resume” as compensation. Don’t use Windows Movie Maker unless you’re utterly, bloody desperate; you’d be better off splicing the film by hand than using that sad excuse for editing software.
- Revelation. Once you’ve got your movie filmed, touched up and otherwise finished, you have to let everybody know about it. Go to film festivals and show it. Have copies available for sale, too. This means you should probably have someone design a cover for your film, and you’ll have to buy some disks and video cases…and you’ll need to sink some cash for printing costs. Tuck a business card with your information on it into each video case too (for this, look for places online that offer cheap or free business cards like CarrotInk).
And that’s it. Even if your film is awful, some of the worst movies end up with completely insane cult followings. But really, have some faith in your filmmaking abilities – after all, "Paranormal Activity" was an indie film and thousands of people screamed blue murder to get it into theaters.