Our placement student and filmmaker, Angelina, has rounded up her top filmmaking tips from one young filmmaker to another!
I’ve been creating films since I was about 10 years old and the first film I ever made was mine and my sister’s very own version of A Christmas Carol. The only things available to me at the time were my parent’s iPhone for a camera, my house for a location, and iMovie for editing. As I continue to practice filmmaking, I’ve realised that it is not as daunting as one might think. I’ve done different things here and there, and am always learning new ways to perfect my craft.
When I was 17, I entered my film Autophobia into my first film festival. I won second place and I couldn’t believe it! I didn’t have a large film crew, nor did I have a big budget. The film was created with an iPhone, household items, and my friends as my crew. However, this film did not come easy – there were things I had to overcome and figure out on my own. To help make other young filmmakers’ lives easier than mine, I’ve rounded up my top tips to get you started!
You don’t need fancy equipment
You should definitely try to work with what you already have. Who’s to say you can’t use makeshift household items, your own wardrobe, or even your own phone. When I first started filmmaking, I thought I needed to have the exact expensive camera that other directors used, or needed to buy all new costumes and props. I realised that, for example, I could use lamps and colour changing light bulbs to get the same effects I wanted with expensive film lights. As for crewmates, I asked my friends to help me with anything they could. This ranged from lending me their own belongings for props, to helping me hold my lamps in place on set. Get creative with easily accessible things! Although, if you absolutely must get something new make sure it’s a worthwhile investment.
Plan your Film
This tip might sound simple and self explanatory, but it can be easily overlooked coupled with the excitement of filmmaking. You might feel like you know exactly how you want your film to look – planning it thoroughly will make the process so much easier. This includes doing your research on a particular film topic, alongside any other tips. Personally, I like to make a spreadsheet of each of my scenes and annotate all the things needed accordingly – setting, costume, makeup, aesthetic, etc. You should also aim to get the best raw footage, rather than relying on fixing bad footage in post, by knowing exactly how you’d film it in the planning process.
Be open to trying new filmmaking techniques. It might be hard at first to get out of your comfort zone, but finding new ways to get things done can help you be more efficient and creative. This might take some time out of your whole process, but I guarantee it will be worth it. You can try experimenting with camera filters, special effects, props, script writing, and more – the possibilities are endless! When I’m experimenting, I sometimes stumble upon ‘happy accidents’ that end up in the final product.
Watch more Films!
I honestly get most of my inspirations from the films I watch. My style of filmmaking focuses on aesthetically pleasing visuals and colors. By knowing my own style, I tend to enjoy watching films that also focus on this. Directors such as Wes Anderson, Petra Collins, Tim Burton, and Quentin Tarantino, only to name a few, are all inspirations to me. Unlike most conventional directors, they have a clear focus on creating their own distinctive styles. Although I gravitate towards certain types of films, it is important to watch a range of different styles and genres because there are other things that you can learn from. This can be with how they produce their scripting, documentary work, or genre.
Don’t be scared to ask for help
I have definitely had an unhealthy habit of thinking that I needed to do everything on my own. If, like me, you’re a perfectionist when it comes to filmmaking, you will want everything to be done your way. I enjoy the serenity of solo work but when I get too ambitious, it becomes overwhelming. I’ve learnt that with the right people and support, filmmaking can become less stressful and more fun. It’s always important to get feedback on the work you’ve done so far, in order for your film to be the best version of itself. This means that even if you’re very determined on a certain idea, it might be better to go a different way if it is clearly not working. Remember, filmmaking is all about teamwork, the more you rely on others for help and support the better the outcome!
Happy filmmaking everyone!
My name is Angelina and I’m currently a student at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, studying Drama, Applied Theatre, and Education. For my university placement I have the amazing privilege of working with Sparks doing a range of administrative and marketing duties. Along with my passion for theatre, I equally love films and filmmaking.