“A tough road ahead.”
In November of 2015, I made my first short film. It is the beginning of my Independent Filmmaking career. I did not attend film school, so I am learning while doing. The first film was a seven minute short entitled, “First Day Fears. A film that you can watch on YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IvgKx6fDflA). The film took me an entire year to edit because of the process I had to undergo. Now, had I had an editor to assist me along, it would have been completed earlier. But this is the learning curve I must take on my journey. Now that I am on to my second short film, I get that feeling again.
That feeling, you know that feeling of will I raise the funding, won’t I raise the funding. The Indiegogo campaign is next month, and I cannot believe it has been a year since I started promoting the project. Hopefully this goes well planned so I can move on to my next which I plan on it being a feature. You see, this process is a long tedious process that can take years to accomplish. But a lot of people don’t realize it can take years. They just look on a screen and see film. You would think it took about year to a year and a half. But sometimes films have taken five to ten years, or sometimes more. Now how long will my first feature take to push.
Well, I am putting myself on a two year window to build it, and then raise the funding to shoot it. So in all, I would say about three years in all. You might ask yourself, what is my process for making my films. For right now, I of course start with an idea. I build a character analysis about the person/s who will be the principle actors. Then I go on to writing my outline, which is a tedious process. Well why, why are my outlines so tedious? The reason is that I see the entire film all the way through. Wait, wait, wait, really? That’s right, from beginning to end, all the way through. So how do I do it?
Imagine sitting in a theater seat, then the theater goes black. From there, the opening credits pop onto the screen, and into the first scene. The title emerges somewhere around this time, then we go into the movie. Imagine the whole movie, all the way until the closing credits as they scroll down the screen. And that is how I build my screenplay outline. So when I write the script, I know the character, I know the story and I start from the beginning of the outline, and write the script all the way through. Knowing the story and the characters, I base the dialogue around that in each scene from my outline; and that’s the first draft.
Now, my first draft is the first draft, most likely, none of the first stuff will make the cut because I write more than I need. Once I do have myself a workable script, I set the script aside. Opening myself a nice spreadsheet, I start to build myself a pre-production plan. In that plan, I take into account
how long it took me to write my script. Then I go along add how much time it could approximately take to complete task that must be accomplished. For example, from my workable script, I design myself a storyboard that is basic. This storyboard will show in imagery the story from start to finish. Here is where I would start building my social media awareness for my film. Because I start my budgetary concerns at this initial point.
Over the course of this past year, I took into account many different budget concerns: wardrobe, props, equipment, staff, insurance, location for shoot, craft services, editing, and composition (music). This budget I work, as well as adjusting the script if need be along the way. Now for me, I raised funding on a crowdfunding platform. So about halfway into the pre-production planning, I started brainstorming incentives for people who give toward my film. Time progress on as I continue to refine the budget and eventually coming to an Indiegogo launch date. This will be the time frame for me to raise funding for my film. And in this time, you have no clue the amount of money raised.
But eventually the campaign ends, and you wait for the finances to clear so you can start funding your film. Make sure you give those that chose an incentive their goods. Then you want to start purchasing and hiring for the film. By the time the Indiegogo campaign was already complete I had my actors. Days pass, and then, the shoot date. All this time put in, and you’re finally here. You have no clue still how the day will go, but hopefully it works out. My day went fine, except for a few issues, sound, some continuity, oh and a key player didn’t show; yeah that’s nice. But nonetheless, I still made my first short film.
In the end, I learned some valuable lessons. One, start researching venue space early. Don’t rely on one actor to fill spots, you may have to react on the fly. And last, but not least, I say start building your project early. It isn’t guaranteed to work, but you have done preparation at least. So, hopefully this next one goes well, so I can move forward. So, I strap up, and here goes nothing: lights, camera, action.