How to start making movies even if you have no experience

Sean gives his tips for making great films.

Written by Sean Thomas


I was 7 years old when I began to take an interest in filmmaking. My parent’s had one of those Nokia “Brick Phones” with a camera on it. Throughout the years, I developed on my interest in filmmaking and eventually, started participating in various summer camps that specified in film, including the Digital Film School .

So as you can imagine, when I heard about the Fresh Film Festival (also known as just ‘Fresh’), I was very excited. Having my films screened in the cinema was a big deal for me. The entire experience of Fresh was amazing! I got to meet some really amazing people and watch some really interesting films! Fresh is a great experience for filmmakers of all ages.

Having your film screened at a film festival is an awesome experience. Seeing it on the big screen and knowing that dozens of other people are watching it with you feels fantastic. Personally, I think that showing people your film is the best part of the filmmaking experience.
For anyone who has a camera, I’d recommend getting out there and making a movie. It’s such a rewarding experience, and it’s a great way to tell a story. Even if you’re not happy with your film – you’ll learn a lot from the experience, and your next film will be even better!

For anyone who hasn’t made a film before, here are some helpful tips;

Make use of what you have 

A common mistake that a lot of young filmmakers make is writing scripts for scenes that they’re not able to shoot. Don’t write a scene about a high-paced car chase scene if you don’t have a car. Find something unique that you have access to, and make a film about it!

Learn something new

Every time you make a new film, you should try to learn something new. You’ll find yourself improving with every film you make. Try to achieve something new, whether it beaneweffectoranewtypeofcameraangle. WatchsometutorialsonYouTubeor read some online articles to try and learn new skills!

Quality is better than quantity

It’s better to make a 2 minute film that keeps the audience interested, rather than a 10 minute film that doesn’t need to be 10 minutes. Don’t try to extend the length of your film if the story doesn’t need to be extended.

Get feedback

Ask your friends and family to watch your film and give feedback – you’ll be surprised how much you’ll learn from your mistakes. Remember, criticism is a good things. You’ll improve on your skills and it will help to make your next film even better!

Your story is important

The story is the most interesting part of your film. The majority of your audience will pay more attention to the story than they will to the technical aspects of your film. Spend plenty of time writing your script, and make sure that you’ll be able to shoot it when you’re out on the set. For example; if your audio quality is poor, you can always try to make films without dialogue.

Don’t give up

As Beckett once said, “fail better” next time. Every time you make a mistake, you’ll learn from it and become a better filmmaker. If you don’t make mistakes, you’re probably not being ambitious enough.

Your movies

Make movies that you want to make, not what you think others will want you to make. Don’t limit yourself. Filmmaking is about creativity, and your creativity should never be limited. Use your own abilities and craft your own unique style. Maybe one day you’ll be the next Quentin Tarantino or Stanley Kubrick.

Filmmaking is a really fun process and although it might seem like a lot of work, its a really rewarding experience! If you’re really interested in filmmaking and are 18 years or younger, I highly recommend the Fresh Film Festival. I can’t stress enough how much of a great experience it is for young filmmakers. Also, if you’re just starting out, take a look at some film courses to help you learn the basics and to meet new people, such as the Digital Film School  or Young Irish Film Makers.
Here are some helpful resources for young filmmakers;

  • Film Riot  Film Riot provide loads of awesome tutorials and tips for indie filmmakers. They even have a YouTube channel with hundreds of useful tutorials.
  • Indy Mogul  
Even though they’re no longer making videos, Indy Mogul still have loads of amazing tutorials on their YouTube channel that can teach you all of the basics about filmmaking.
  • Moby Gratis  
Moby has created a selection of over 150 tracks that are available for use in non-profit videos. All you have to do is fill out a simple application form.
  • Incompetech  Another great resource for royalty-free music! Kevin MacLeod provides hundreds of awesome tracks to use in your films for free!
  • Luke Neumann  Luke Neumann provides loads of really helpful tutorials that show how he makes his films with small crews of 2-3 people. He also sells albums of royalty-free music, and releases a few free tracks from time to time.

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