How to Make a Movie

By Contributor ; Updated September 15, 2017
Make a Movie

How to Make a Movie. Even Scorcese and Tarantino had to start somewhere. And a group of independent filmmakers turned the low-budget "Blair Witch Project" into one of the biggest surprise hits ever. So to all aspiring filmmakers: you too can make your own movie without a huge Hollywood budget. It may be your first step toward Cannes--or at least your own personal treasure to keep with you forever.

Production

Assemble a production crew. If you run out of friends or people you can get to work for screen credit, offer people "points," which is a percentage of the movie profits.

Get a director of photography. You need someone who knows a lot about film and cameras to make the movie come out right. Local film schools are the best place to find them.

Get the film. The director of photography should know the best type of film for your movie.

Assemble the cast. Hold auditions for actors by inquiring at talent agencies. If you have any friends who were decent actors in school, give them a call.

Assemble the props and costumes. Costume shops and local theater groups can definitely help you here. But you can also borrow from friends and family or check out thrift stores for bargains.

Choose filming locations. Make sure you have permission from the owners of the property you choose to film on.

Hold rehearsals and then film the movie. You want to make sure everything is set and memorized before you begin filming. Know how much time filming will take and try to complete it as quickly as possible.

Postproduction

Get the film processed. Find the right processor with the help of your director of photography. You may need to send the film to Los Angeles for this.

Edit the film. You need to find someone who can transfer your film to video and arrange the completed scenes in the right order. You can likely find one in the same place as your director of photography.

Present your movie at film festivals. Enter a festival by sending them a video copy along with their entry fee and any publicity you can generate about the movie. Sell your film as much as you can.

Hold screenings of your movie. Rent a small theater or screening room and invite studios and distributors to view the movie and appraise it. If it all works, they'll start bidding for the distribution rights.

Tip

Even the lowest-budget movies will require substantial cash. Don't expect to make a movie for less than $15,000. Make sure you protect your investment by trademarking the script or film. This can be done by the U.S. Copyright Office, a script registration service or a notary public.

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