I have taken so many courses over the years in so many areas of the entertainment industry that it took me a week to sit down and write this article because I was a bit overwhelmed with the prospect of having to pick one or just a few courses. In each course I have taken, I have usually walked away with at least a few new tidbits to improve my abilities, even at the advanced level that I am at.
I am going to assume that you have reached this website because you want to make a movie and you are not sure how to do it. There are many aspects to making a movie and one could easily do a deep dive into several of these aspects (like post-production or cinematography), but for now the focus is going from zero filmmaking knowledge to knowing how to produce a short film and then where to go once you have the planning aspects down and you want to make bigger projects.
If you are a beginner filmmaker, I recommend taking my course “How to Make A Short Film in 30 Days” to learn the basics how to produce movies.
Learn Indie Filmmaking
When I think about who would most benefit from my course “How to Make A Short Film in 30 Days”, I envision a few different people. One is someone who was in the situation I was in over 10 years ago, having participated in numerous movies as an actor, worked on-set at ABC as an assistant and also with a strong theater background but no behind-the-camera experience but very much wanting that.
I also think about the crew members I have met that have wanted to do their own projects but have never stepped into the realm of producing aside from perhaps some self-shot solo projects that become a section of their reel or a little piece to add to YouTube or their blog. They are looking to do a REAL project and make the leap and understand the producing process.
On the other end of this, I am thinking about people nowhere near the entertainment industry of all various ages, ranging from the high school student who is seriously considering producing as a profession, perhaps taking some related courses in high school to the senior citizen who has always dreamed of making a movie or who has written a script and has a passion project in mind but doesn’t know where to start.
My class has been designed for all of these beginning indie filmmakers.
It is basic enough so that you won’t get bogged down in things like paperwork (which is plentiful on a professional feature film movie set), fundraising and the legal ramifications that go with that, and other aspects of making a movie that can make a fun idea suddenly feel cumbersome.
At the same time, it is comprehensive enough to give you all of the steps you need (and detailed sub-steps) so that you can go from the beginning (pre-production) to the end (post-production and film festivals) knowing exactly what to do so that you can eventually make the leap into more complicated projects.
It covers all of the steps required to make a movie, even if you do not have an idea in mind and you are just inspired to make a movie, and walks you through topics such as brainstorming ideas for a movie, writing the script, casting the movie, finding equipment and your crew and even the very specifics of what to do the day before you start shooting your movie.
I also do my best to give you a sense of what being on a set will feel like if you have never been on one.
I was thrown onto a professional sitcom set at ABC having only done a one-day lead acted gig on an indie movie and some extra work for Comedy Central. It was overwhelming and a bit stressful because I was trying to pretend like I understood everything going on around me, which I did not.
Remembering that experience, I try to foster beginning producers sense of confidence by giving them the knowledge to handle situations they may or may be anticipated in the movie producing process and to overcome the stress and fear originating from the newness and “unknowingness” of the filmmaking process by giving detailed information for each step as well as having a Q&A and Facebook group that allows direct access to me to answer questions.
FYI, I have been teaching this class for years and my students rarely have that many questions because the lessons are so through.