I hope that you have all been spending this lockdown doing something positive and learning something new. This is exactly how I have decided to spend my lockdown time and I decided to learn 2 new things, the first was to learn how to play chess and the second was to learn how to produce my very won short movies. I have always loved mini-films like the brilliant Gia A Walsh Bronxville production and she is certainly someone who has inspired me a great deal. I thought I‘d share the things that have worked best for me so far when it comes to producing these mini-films, and if you want to start then here is what I’d recommend.
Kit and Shooting
When I got started I didn’t want to invest a large amount of money in the best cameras or production software and after asking a few friends I decided that first I would learn the basics and then perhaps in the future I would invest some more money. As it happens I decided to do nothing more than shoot my own movie on an iPhone, and then I would use some free software such as iMovie to add the additional bits and pieces, and to be honest at this level it works really well. The only thing I would certainly invest in is a spotlight, as this will be required.
Most of learning about movie production for me was the creative process where I would sit down with an empty pad and pen and think about what each scene was going to look like. The storyboard process may look easy but I can assure that it isn’t. Regardless of what it is that you plan to make, work it out step by step, this will help you plan each scene and it will also make the shooting aspect of the movie far easier.
Try to think about the tone of the movie and then map out your music, sounds, tonality of the shoot and the lights to match it. If you are making a sad or thoughtful piece then you don’t need bright lights and funky music, things will of course take on a more sombre feel. Always think about the mood and the tone of what you are doing.
Just Doing it
A trap that I fell into early on was over planning and over thinking the piece, so much so that I wasn’t actually shooting anything. This is called paralysis by analysis and it can be a stifling thing. Give yourself a loose plan and then just go ahead and shoot, things can always be changed afterwards and things can always be re-shot.
Finally the best advice I received on this was to keep things simple, and learn to walk before you can run. Have the idea, map out a brief plan on each scene and then shoot it, after you have done this you will see whether or not it matched what you wanted, and if it doesn’t then you can always reshoot.