How To: Become a Filmmaker

By Ryan Koss

Everyone has to start somewhere. Steven Spielberg, George Lucas and even Walt Disney weren’t always the Hollywood successes we know today. Everyone has to start somewhere – now it’s your turn to start following your dreams. With this quick guide, you’ll learn how to become a filmmaker.

Three-Act-Structure
The three-act structure is the standard for Hollywood screenwriters and filmmakers.

Write a Story
Since pre-production is arguably the most important step in the production process, you can never be too prepared. As you begin your journey to Hollywood, start with a simple story so that you can focus on production skills.

The three-act structure has been used as a model for screenwriters since the dawn of the filmmaking. By dividing the story into parts called the setup, confrontation and resolution, filmmakers are given a clear format for their work.

Successful production studios often develop storytelling techniques of their own. Pixar developed 22 rules of storytelling that is referenced internally during the creation of modern classics, like Toy Story, Up and Inside Out.

Grab a Video Camera
These days, almost everyone has a video camera. Does your smartphone have a camera? Perfect! Got an old video camera that your family hasn’t used in years? That can work, too…

Grab-a-Camera
The quality of smartphone cameras can offer some great shots; use whatever equipment you have available.

Today, most cameras and smartphones come equipped with very capable automatic settings perfect for first-time filmmakers. If you plan to shoot with manual settings enabled, be sure to brush up on fundamental camera functions, like aperture and shutter speed.

Although you can make an Academy-Award-winning film using your iPhone, Digital Media Academy recommends Canon cameras and camcorders to help aspiring filmmakers capture the shots they have always dreamed of. Be sure to visit Canon’s website to find the camera that’s right for you.

Assemble a Crew
Filmmaking is truly a team sport. With all of the roles that need to be filled on set, creating a film by yourself can be extremely difficult. Grab some friends and #CreateTheNext summer blockbuster!

Filmmakers
Every great film has an even greater crew that helped make it happen.

In their most basic form, film crews consist of a director, camera operator and actors. As the complexity of your films (and your budget) continue to grow, additional roles (such as assistant camera operators, gaffers, set designers and script supervisors) become increasingly important.

The best way to become a skilled filmmaker is to be a filmmaker. Like any discipline, patience and precision is required to develop the skills of an advanced filmmaker.

Hit the Editing Room
Thats a wrap! Now that you have captured your shots and filled your memory cards, it’s time to piece your film together the way you always wanted.

Focus
Final Cut Pro X is used to edit Hollywood films like Focus (2014), starring Will Smith.

There are a number of options when it comes to post-production software. Apple’s Final Cut Pro X provides users with an advanced and cost-effective video-editing solution, perfect for both Hollywood hotshots and first-time filmmakers.

Looking for some inspiration? Check out some of our favorite Hollywood films edited using Final Cut Pro and start editing today!

Create a Buzz
Now that you have started editing, it’s time to get people excited about the release of your latest film, by creating a web presence.

Promo
Promote and showcase your projects using social media like Facebook.

Websites such as Facebook, YouTube and even Instagram, provide filmmakers with a platform to promote and showcase their latest projects. Utilize these platforms and other popular outlets like Vimeo, Twitter and Tumblr to expose your work to as wide a viewership as possible.

Lights, Camera, Action!
Filmmaking is a great way to tell the story you have always wanted to express. Now that you know how to become a filmmaker, it’s time to put these tips and tricks into action. With a little bit of effort, patience and passion, it won’t be long before your film is playing on the big screen.