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Filmmaking Tips & Advice for Young Aspiring Filmmakers

This is filmmaking tips and advice for young and aspiring filmmakers. I'm talking to my little ones. So, without further ado, it's about that time to get into it.

At this level, your biggest focus should be learning the basic elements of a story, how to build a beginning, a middle and an end. How to infuse characters with clear goals. The basics and the importance of conflict and obstacles. The sooner you learn this stuff, the better. Especially like the character with a clear goal part, because that's the basis of audience engagement. You don't need expensive fancy gear to learn that. There are a lot of people out there with expensive fancy gear that still haven't had learned that.

When I was in film school, way before I started Final Cut Multimedia, I learned the principles of drama, which talks about the basics of narrative storytelling and actors. Getting actors for your projects can be very challenging and your options, you know, they're kind of limited. And, keeping the actors that you get on board can also be a bit of an issue as well. One minute they say "You're making a movie? Oh, sure. Yeah." And then one or two hours into shooting they say, "Man, look at the time, I gotta go walk my dog," Yes, your friends and family. Usually, they're not going to understand how much time and effort goes into making a film, but, why should they, they're not studying this stuff, you are. So, you're going to want to set yourself up with the best possible chances to complete your films. And the easiest way to do that is to keep it simple. Don't write a 15-page epic with seven actors in 10 locations, the odds of actors dropping out on you increases exponentially.

Instead, you should probably write something that only takes maybe 30 or 40 minutes to shoot and takes place over one or two locations. It might be a little tough for people to take you seriously when you're this young. So, the more you respect their time and make working with you a pleasurable experience, the less likely people will have to suddenly walk their dog before you've finished. And if you ask them to act or work with you again in the future, they're more likely to say last time he asked me it didn't really take too long. Yeah, sure. Let's do it. You can't completely eliminate the possibility of somebody dropping out on your project, but you can minimize it. Oh and no Oscar rolls, please. I said it once and I will say it again, write to your friend’s personalities. If somebody is shy, then write them a shy roll. If somebody is playful and flirty, then write them a playful, flirty roll. It is so much easier to get good performances when you play to their natural strengths. Now cameras, so what's the best camera for filmmakers? just starting out any camera you can get your hands on. Final Cut Multimedia don't even own a Black Magic production 4k, but If your school does great, I won't be jealous, use it. If you're 12 years old and have access to your dad's Canon 5D Mark 3, that’s great. If all you have is your phone, great, if it records it’s pretty much fair game. There's no excuse not to be making videos nowadays. At this stage in the game, your focus should be on practicing and learning not on camera specs. You've got the rest of your life to worry about camera specs. Believe me, I shot my first couple of videos on a Cell Phone, even at the time it was one of the crappiest camera phones out there. If you can make something look good with your mom's old home video camera. Imagine what you could do when you get your hands on a better camera later. You should take a lot of pictures and work on your framing work on using the rule of thirds to develop your photographic eye, that's something that you can work on all the time for free. Production, work with people who are better than you. Why be the most knowledgeable guy in your production. When you can be the second or third most knowledgeable guy on your production. And you can steal all kinds of great information from the other two.

I Always try to surround myself with people who know more than me because then you learn twice as much. It's like a win-win situation. Now to editing, maybe you've got access to Adobe Premiere Pro, maybe you got access to Final Cut x, maybe you don't, there are plenty of free editing applications out there. If mom and dad don't really want to come up off of the cache, there's DaVinci Resolve, there's Hit Film Express, there's shortcut editor and there's like, I mean, there are quite a few free ones out there and they don't have any of those annoying watermarks. Now to lighting. If you don't have any lights use sunlight. You know that giant ball of gas floating in space? Yeah, it's super free. You don't have any reflectors; the bounce light then uses your mom and dad's windshield reflector. If you don't have white foam core or particle board to bounce lights from, get mom and dad to go buy you some white poster board. You can use anything white. When shooting indoors place your actors next to Windows and use window light whenever possible. Film at Golden Hour, that’s an easy way to get pretty shots with minimal work. Try to film in places with lots of available light and industrial fluorescent light. I mean it's you know, it's not the prettiest but it goes a long way. If you're not able to light anything, try and focus on other things like your framing and your acting in the story. I didn't like my first short film, I actually shot it in 30 minutes because that was the only time I had before I lost my actors and crew. I shot under fluorescent lighting.

Some of you may have supportive friends and family, but for most, this isn't always the case. And when you tell them you want to be a filmmaker, sometimes their counterargument goes a little something like this. You want to make movies. So, you want to be broke for the rest of your life. They might not want to take you seriously at first and that's okay. As long as you keep doing your thing, they'll come around. Notice I said, doing your thing as in getting off your butt. And doing it actions speak louder than words, talking what you want about being a filmmaker versus you doing it. They're two completely different things if you begged for new gear, new cameras, new lights, but all you do is talk about filmmaking and watch YouTube videos all day long. They're not gonna take you very seriously. But if you're out there doing it with whatever you have, and you keep doing it over and over and over again, your friends and your family will start to take you seriously when they see how seriously you're taking resources. So, you guys are not old enough to go to film school or you might not even want to go to film school and it's, it's completely fine. It's your choice. It's okay. But there are a ton of free resources out there. There are quite a few on YouTube. You've got DSLR guide Basic Filmmaker, Film Riot, cinematography database, filmmaker IQ the list goes on and on and on.

Criticism! you've got to be open to feedback, guys, you're not always going to hear what you want to hear. But getting feedback and seeing how your film plays in front of an audience is crucial to the learning process. Sometimes the feedback you get can be heartbreaking but just keep learning. We've all got to go through this process. I've gotten feedback before that made me question whether I should even make films. If you get bad feedback, it doesn't necessarily mean that they're trolling you. Well, some people are, but you'll learn the difference. Next, many of you are very impatient and you want to become successful and famous overnight, I completely understand, but don't rush it, you still got a lot to learn. So, focus on learning the craft and getting good first and the rest of that stuff will take care of itself. Whenever I made a film that I just felt Didn't work, I usually find myself more amped to make the next film so I can apply all these wonderful lessons that I learned from the last one that sucked. So, what I'm trying to say is don't worry about making masterpieces. Just practice, practice, practice, well that's all I got for you. If you enjoy what you read, please like or subscribe you can find me on social media, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, or Twitter. Or if you might bump into me here in Charlotte North Carolina say hello, or visit www.finalcutmultimedia.com And If you learned anything at all, please drop a like and a comment saying thanks.

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