If your goal is to create your own film, it's a good idea to consider the idea of following the traditional filmmaking process. Whether you're an independent filmmaker or a professional filmmaker, usually the blueprint for creating a film can be roughly the same.
It can be difficult to know exactly how you can turn your inspiration into a feature film but most professional filmmakers now have a tried-and-true path for starting the filmmaking process and ending with a completed product. Here are some of the steps that are involved in the filmmaking process to help guide your path as a new filmmaker:
Forming your idea:
In order for any movie to get off the ground, their first has to be an incredibly strong concept. Things may start to change as your write a script or even as the project continues but having a strong starting point is extremely important.
The main story or lesson that you want to tell and the foundation for the characters should be relatively strong in the starting point. When you have an idea for the project that you want to start, think about events, conflicts, plot and some of the main characters in your story.
During the process of forming your plot and ideas, you need to strongly consider always having a notebook or at least some type of folder on your computer to store your ideas. Having every note possible down during the creation process can really help you with building a script and writing for your production. Although the information that you put down on character development or an event may not seem like something useful at first, it can all lead to improvements for your film later on.
Writing your script:
When you have your notes and you feel as though there is a good narrative with solid conflict in interest in your mind, you can start with writing the script. Having a concept in mind with a beginning, middle and end as well as development for each of your characters can be very important for writing your script.
The script will serve as your guide for telling the entire story and what many filmmakers end up doing is writing their story in a note form or novel form and transforming that into a linear script form from their notes.
A script serves as an important tool for not only telling the story but also explaining what's going on in the film. Your script will serve as a reference for the scenes you want to set, the shots you want to make, the dialogue of the characters will say to each other and actions that each character will make while they are on film. A descriptive script can really ease the process of making your vision come to life. A script almost serves as a way that you can translate the vision of the film in your mind to a group of working professionals that are going to help you make your film.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with changing the script even when you think it's ready. You may even come up with some great improvised ideas during the filmmaking process. Changes for shots, scenes and even lines can all be adjusted in the script later on.
Letting your actors get into character and improvise their own lines can often be one of the best ways to rehearse on set. The dialogue that you have can also be a lot more natural when you start to improvise some of the lines rather than keep them as something that is completely read. It can also be quite surprising the types of ideas that can come to you when you hear the lines out loud or start hearing some of your actors share their experience.
A storyboard can be a sequence of drawings that can make the process of planning out the shots you're going to use for the film, easier. The overall purpose of storyboarding is one of the best ways that you can visualize the shots as you set them up as well as decide on some of the specifics like camera angles, the size of the shots and more.
Storyboarding doesn't have to have perfect drawings. You can even take pictures of the shot or some of the filming locations to get a better sense of realism and then fill in the scene and the shots comic book style using stick figures.
Going out to the locations and planning your storyboarding can often be one of the best ways that you can get the vision you imagined and find out what's possible. A location may seem perfect in one particular moment but after some time you might discover that you have to demolish the wall, put up many light filters and more in order to get the shots that you need.
Storyboarding can have notes for the scene you are going to film, the equipment that you plan on using, the shots that you're trying to set up and more. As you include more notes in your storyboards as well as the equipment that you provide, you can end up with a much more detailed picture of the storyboard that is needed.
If you are going to be filming any type of substantial production, you also need help. Turning your vision into reality can actually be a nerve-racking process. Taking the time to pick out the right crew can help you to make sure that you end up with the right people helping you. Be sure to look through some of their past experience and if you can get show reels of some of the work that they've done that can often help with improving the results that you get out of these professionals.
You could also consider holding auditions for some of your crewmembers. Getting a camera person in to set up a few shots, speaking to a few actors and actresses for roles and more can be helpful.
While it can be tempting to include family, friends and more in your production there is no need to include everyone in the process of your film. Hiring someone with experience can often lead to a result that is professional and a much more comfortable atmosphere on set.
Find your filming locations:
Think about some of the settings that you need to have in your film or that you would like to have in your film. Finding filming locations can often take many weeks of scouring. Finding the best spots and then actually getting permission to film there can be important. Having space for your cast, your crew and everyone involved can be a challenge, so plan accordingly for the size of your production!
The process of filming:
When you are planning on filming it's important to have an itinerary for the day. Make sure that your script is ready to shoot and that you have a full schedule of what you would like to film to make the most out of your time. Leave yourself lots of time so that you can accommodate for changes in the script or problems that can occur technically through the day. A common rule of thumb in indie filmmaking is that 1 min. of final cut footage often takes roughly 5 hours of filming time.
Post production assistance:
Post production and editing can be one of the most time-consuming processes of filmmaking. If you're going to add professional touches like sound effects, music overlay, color correction and more you will need to learn how to use the software. You could also consider working with an experienced editor to polish your footage and produce the final cut of your film.
Through the process of many hours of editing you can eventually get a final version of your film that properly tell us your story that you feel confident enough to show to your audience!