Everyone loves watching a movie. From the early days of the silent film to the modern-day box-office blockbuster, Hollywood has made a business of meeting the needs of theatergoers. As a result, many up-and-coming filmmakers move to places like Hollywood and New York to enroll in film school in the hopes that their films will become the next big hits. The success or failure of a movie depends of a number of factors. It takes careful planning and execution to make a successful movie.
Write a compelling script. It is the foundation of every successful movie. There would be no movie without it. The script is the blueprint that everyone else involved in the production will follow. Film is a visual medium. The script must tell the story visually. Write what the audience will see and hear. Show -- don't tell -- the audience the story. The story should include characters that the audience will want to watch for the length of your movie. The audience does not necessarily have to like all of your characters. Some of the most entertaining characters are villains who make the audience cringe when they appear on screen. Be sure that your story has plenty of conflict. Your movie will not be interesting to watch if your characters do not have any obstacles to overcome. Your audience will not want to watch a movie in which everyone is happy for 90 minutes.
Develop a reasonable budget and follow it. Producing a film is a very costly endeavor. Make sure your budget includes funds for all aspects of production, including locations, talent, wardrobe, props, crew, food, editing and any other miscellaneous expenses that may come up during shooting or post production. Once you have your budget, stick to it. Overspending in one category will cause a deficit in another. This will cause the quality of that area of the production to suffer. If possible, plan to spend more than you think you will need so each aspect of production will have more than enough funds designated to it. Once your budget is in place, stay within the confines of the allotted amount of money. This is easier said than done, but it will pay off in the long run should an unexpected emergency arise during production.
Cast talented actors. If possible, cast recognizable faces. Stars draw audiences to the box office. If your movie is an independent or short film, cast actors that fit your characters and have the talent to adequately convey your story. Either way, casting is a crucial part of a movie's success.
Hire a professional crew. Film-making is a team effort. Hire people who believe in your vision and are competent enough to carry it out. Everyone from the grips, lighting people, make-up artists and production assistants must all work together to effectively bring your movie to life. The director is a key person on your team -- the person who interprets the blueprint presented in the script. Choose your director wisely. At the end of the day, it is the director's vision and leadership that will make your movie a success.
Promote your movie. Once your film is complete, marketing and promotion are essential. No matter how compelling the story is, how good the actors are or how respected the director is, your movie will not be successful if no one knows about it. Create a buzz about your movie long before you plan to release it. Cut a trailer, take promotional pictures and build a website for your movie. Spread the word about your movie through social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter.
Based in Los Angeles, Bridgett Michele Lawrence began working as a freelance writer in 2008. She is an accomplished screenwriter, teacher and blogger. Her articles appear on the Sixth Wall and other websites. Lawrence holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in screenwriting from New York University and a Master of Science in childhood education from Brooklyn College.