So Dan, you ‘ve decided to


So Dan, you 've decided to take the Red Pill… πŸ™‚


I used to work in television news and had done so for many years, so I knew my way around a camera, editing, audio and other basic production skills pretty well. I was (and still am) a rabid movie buff and actor. I was the guy who actually watched all those behind the scenes making of extra features.


So, my wife and I developed a script for a featur length film, started a production company and ran headlong into producing it. In the end we lost tens of thousands and never did finish that film due to situations beyond our control. (One of which was a main actor joining the military three quarters of the way through the project.)


I don't tell you this to scare you away from your project, but you should really take an honest look at whether you're ready to leap down that rabbit hole head first…


If you aren't already making commercials, music videos or short films I would encourage you stop and seriously assess whether or not you're prepared to jump into one of the most complex time and money consuming projects I can think of.


With all due respect, if you are on Videomaker's forum asking us which camera you should use, you may not be ready to shoot a feature film.


Now, I know you're going to do this anyway. πŸ™‚ So, here's my advice to help you succeed…


Make friends with other professional and amateur video producers in your community. Work on a couple of their projects… and they'll work on yours. Pick people that KNOW their positions. Blow one thing and the whole movie can be ruined.


Find yourself a GOOD, somewhat experienced director of photography and/or director before you drop a dime on a camera. (They may even have the gear already.) Decide what exactly you want to put on screen and what it will look like – then pick out your camera.


Make sure you have someone who can properly light your shots. It's not as easy as a little three point lighting.


Use really solid actors who are made for the part. Bad acting will ruin your movie as easy as anything else. Releases for actors, locations, etc. Make sure you keep it all legal – otherwise you've got a very expensive home video sitting on your shelf that you can't do anything with.


Speaking of legal, study up on copyright law. This is especially important for music. Music plays such a major role in mood and tone, don't neglect it. And don't violate copyright laws.


I double what everyone said about audio. Here's the catch – recording audio seperately adds time and complicaiton in post production. It WILL give you better audio, though. Minimum, get a solid wireless lav for one channel and a good boom mic/boom for the other channel. (Your editor will make sense of the two channels in post.) Make it one person's job to due nothing but give you the sweetest audio possible. Check out a Zoom recorder – it may do the job with XLR inputs and get good room sound. Make sure you slate properly, keep good records and practice good data management – especially with seperate audio.


Editor – this is a tough and under-appreciated gig. Editors craft your film every bit as much as directors, DPs and actors. Make sure you get one with experience and shares your vision for crafting the story.


Craft services – volunteers volunteer a whole lot better when their stomachs are full, their bladders are empty and they're neither too hot nor too cold.


I could go on and on, seriously. There's so much to think about when it comes to making a feature that it boggles the mind. Consider making yourself a producer and finding skilled people to do the production heavy lifting. Believe me, you can keep your hands plenty full just being a producer. Producers are, after all, the owners of the finished product responsible for making it happen.


Good luck – I don't want to scare you too badly but making a feature is a LOT of work. Just make sure you're ready for it.

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