Our 7 Recommended Must Dos Before You Make Your First Feature Film. Filmmaking in nature.



When you’re making a film it will take just about everything in you to see it all the way through. Therefore, don’t start your film unless you’re absolutely sure that you’re going to give it your all.


Now, 1) if you’re at a point where your confident you’ll see your film all the way through, and 2) you have the 6 Intangible Essentials To Become A Successful Filmmaker then you’re ready for principal photography, right? Right! But before you start principal photography, here’s Our 7 Recommended Must Dos Before You Make Your First Feature Film.

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7) STUDY GREAT FILMS: Do not just watch these films, study them. Study the camera angles, the blocking, the script writing, the acting and so on.
We recommend that you even watch the same film multiple times. It’s not about the quantity of films you watch, but the quality in the films you watch. It’ll surprise you how much you’ll learn from watching the same film a few times or more. New things that you didn’t catch before will just keep showing up and you’ll keep learning.


We highly recommend watching and studying of silent films as well. A few of the many we recommend are The Passion Of Joan Of Arc, City Lights, Battleship Potemkin and Sunrise. These films can be seen online by simply googling their titles.


Check out 3 Must See Films For All (Aspiring) Filmmakers with film director, AJ Rash.

6) STUDY GREAT DIRECTORS: Find some of the most influential directors in film history, not just contemporary ones, and study them as well. Study them until you recognize there filmic style. Study there films to the point that you know what shot precedes another. Find out what films and directors have influenced them most and become familiar with them and their works as well. Studying film directors is one of our 5 Must Knows If Your Going To Be A Film Director.


Some film directors we highly recommend you study are Alfred Hitchcock, John Ford, Martin Scorcese, Quentin Tarantino, Spike Lee, François Truffaut and Ingmar Bergen among others.


5) READ BOOKS ON FILMMAKING: This cannot be emphasized enough. As a filmmaker you need to be constantly learning and reading is an essential learning mechanism. Read books on the technical aspects of filmmaking, read books on filmmakers, actors, etc. If it deals with filmmaking, read it!


Some books we recommend are Rebel Without A Crew, Kazan On Directing and Making Movies. If they’re not available at your local library you can click on the title to get them on Amazon.


4) GET PRODUCTION ASSISTANT GIGS: Being a production assistant (PA) you’ll be able to dabble in the various aspects of filmmaking. That is because as a PA you’ll be asked to do everything on set, for all filmmaking departments. From getting coffee, to sweeping, to helping out in electrical to assisting the producer.


And you don’t have to be a PA on a big budget film or an independent film. It can be on a short film or a student film. The experiences differ, but you’ll learn from both.


And don’t underestimate how much you can learn about the production and backend of filmmaking by being an office PA. It’s certainly worth the time.


3) BECOME FAMILIAR WITH RENTAL HOUSES AND EQUIPMENT RENTAL COSTS: You must become familiar with rental houses. You must know where they’re located, how many are there in your area, there prices, do they have the equipment you need, etc.


2) or BUY YOUR OWN EQUIPMENT: Given the excessive costs or renting equipment, they can be in the hundreds of dollars an hour, you may consider buying your own equipment. If you’re considering this option, check out 6 Essential Must Have Equipment For The Independent Filmmaker.


1) MAKE SHORT FILMS: Short films are indispensible in learning filmmaking for various reasons. Of those reasons, you can experiment more confidently in short films because the cost and time is less. For the same reason you can make mistakes that most likely won’t keep you from making another short film. Not so true when you’re making a feature film. We elaborate further on this subject on Why Your First Films Need To Be Short Films.



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  1. Good list, but everyone’s got a different process. I’m not a big fan of shorts at all unless they are done for $0 and not a penny more. Fundraising is too difficult to burn any capital on practice and I’ve yet to find a cadre of investors who funds for return (not passion) based on a short film.

    1. I wrote a good script.
    2. Secured proper pre, principal, post and SGA funding.
    3. Rigorously screened for the absolute best talent I could get.
    4. Gave that talent ample time to develop into the characters I needed.
    5. Put together studied great films, put together a high quality senior team (DP, 1AD, AP)
    6. Made my movie.

    I’ll check back in and let you know how the distro goes!

    1. Hey Ryan! Thank you so much for your take on the list, we appreciate you and what you’re doing. Congratulations on the film. Do keep us updated on how distribution goes. We’re rooting for you.

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