When it comes to making a movie, it’s always easier to simply not make one. Making a film of any length and of any genre takes collaboration, passion, and an extreme amount of effort from everyone involved, from top to bottom.
Not only that, it has to look and sound convincing while at the same time suspending disbelief while providing entertainment. Let’s be honest, making a movie at all is a miracle of sorts. Making a great movie is an act of divinity.
Although COVID-19 has ravaged the film industry, independent voices are beginning to emerge once again.
Indie filmmakers across the globe have their work cutout for them having to compete at the box office in many instances with large scale remakes, special effect-heavy franchise efforts, as well as high-priced and high-concept creations crafted from the minds of Hollywood’s best and most recognizable voices.
Below, we go over a few mistakes and pitfalls that many indie filmmakers make… so you don’t have to.
Your Script Has a Ton of Holes
You have the money and you have a working draft, but you haven’t taken the time to fully refine the product… and maybe the shoot is coming up quick.
This is a situation you will want to avoid. Before you even get anyone else involved, your script should be air-tight, make logical sense, be visual, and have dialogue that sings.
Make sure that you revise, revise, and revise your script until it reaches as close to a point of perfection as possible. Have friends who you trust read your script and accept any feedback that comes your way. If you hear about the same problem from more than one person, chances are you should address it… before it comes time to shoot your movie.
Your Lighting and Sound Sucks
In order to create a convincing illusion — which is essentially whatever successful film is — you have to have a powerful moving image combined with amazing sound. Sound and lighting are two crucial elements of film composition that perhaps the amateur filmmaker is less enthused about. However, if you invest properly in lighting and sound, your indie film will look great. If you skimp in the lighting and sound department, it’s going to show.
You Lost Control of the Budget
Let’s say you found an investor for your passion project and you landed the money you think you need to successfully navigate pre production, the production itself, as well as post production. It might seem like you have some money to spare, but don’t kid yourself. Make sure that you have a line producer who is worth their paycheck to go over the script and come up with a reliable estimate for how much your movie is going to cost to shoot. Make sure that you plan to have at least 10%-20% more than your projected budget — just in case you have unexpected expenses or delays during the shoot.
If you end up needing quick cash to get your movie shot or if your editor is holding your masterpiece hostage for that last payment, there are more than a few options to get that cash you need in hand… and fast. Pawn shops and blood banks are your friend as a budding indie film maker. Title loans are another option for those who own a vehicle or a spare car — which will more often than not be a more frugal move than racking up credit card debt.
If you avoid a few of these common indie filmmaker mistakes, you’ll be on your way to creating a stunning, entertaining, and profitable indie film. Good luck!
Barry is a technologist who helps start-ups build successful products. His love for movies and production has led him to write his well-received film explanation and analysis articles to help everyone appreciate the films better. He’s regularly available for a chat conversation on his website and consults on storyboarding from time to time.
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