You consider yourself an aspiring filmmaker, huh?
Do you know the difference between aspiring and amateur is a very thin red line? And when you cross this line you are stepping from aspiring filmmaker to amateur filmmaker.Making mistakes is not the end of your filmmaking career. The opposite. You should feel free to make as many mistakes as you want. Because making mistakes is part of the creative process of the learning and earning experience. In a few words, practice makes perfect. But what should you do to avoid serious common mistakes that amateur filmmakers make? How about a checklist of mistakes you should avoid?
Here are the most common mistakes filmmakers when starting out. This is your chance to be smart and learn from other filmmakers’ mistakes.
The most common is a weak story.
A first draft is only the beginning. Most of the time, your script needs a second or a third draft, and a final polish. So be sure before you start shooting to go through your script again and again. Be sure your story has a structure. This is usually a beginning, a middle and an end, but it doesn't have to be revealed in that order. You might choose to flash forward and start your story from the very last scene or to use flashback as often as you want to keep your audience more engaged.
Another common mistake is bad sound.
A good sound is essential if you want your video or your film to be the best it can be. You first need ensure that your actors are being heard, and that you can understand what they are saying. The best way to do this is by using an external microphone, but you should consider keeping a good distance away from your actors for better sound.
You might use a shotgun microphone that picks up the sound wherever your points are, but be sure to keep it out of frame. Now, if you only have your actual camera mic, you need to consider the closer to your actors you are, the better sound you are going to get. In this case, avoid locations with noise, or outdoors, where you can’t control the sound around you. Preferably try to stay indoors, and in that case, turn off all electronics or appliances while you are shooting, to have a cleaner sound.
Next most common mistake is poor casting choices.
It is easy to get your friends and relatives to participate and it might sound like fun, but you should seriously consider getting real actors. There are many actors out there that need and deserve your attention. All you need to do is casting. Many actors will volunteer in order to get a good demo reel in exchange. This choice of yours will make a real difference on your film. Professional actors are much better that your cousin or grandma. Trust me!
Be also very careful to prevent bad lighting.
Having a good eye for lighting is an important talent, but it is absolutely essential to have solid data in order to increase the quality of your lighting judgment. This will make for better communication on set and make your life easier. A good way to prevent bad lighting is to get a light meter. This way you will get objective light readings, which will help you break down lighting conditions into a quantifiable measurement. Then you will be able to convert it to functions in a camera. There are 2 kinds of meters, for incident or reflected light. The main difference is the location of the reading. Using a meter makes it easier and more efficient to set up your lighting, but it also creates a better consistency between shots and so to the look and feel of your movie. This atmosphere is something you don’t want to miss.
The final common mistake is poor shot composition.
Cinematography is a very important part of your film. You will need to eliminate a poor shot composition for a perfect framing. Strong composition is a major reason why some films or videos are more outstanding than others. It's important to remember this at all times when creating your movie. Strong composition doesn't mean overdoing it. Professional shot composition requires a perfect framing for each shot. Cinematography is so important, and for a strong cinematography simplicity is the key. Remember to find a way to focus the most visual attention on the center of interest in your pictures. The best way to do this is to choose uncomplicated backgrounds that do not steal attention from your subject.
As we said before, the best way to get good at anything is by doing it. The experience of making short films is one of the most effective ways of growing out of these mistakes. It's cheaper and more immediate than going on courses, and you get instant feedback on your work. Sign up for 48 FILM Project's 2015 short film competition.
Improve your filmmaking skills for a professional result that hooks your audience.