Our friend Simon Cade, whose YouTube channel and blog are quickly becoming favorites of mine, recently put together the above video in an attempt to boil down the filmmaking process to its core elements, and to explain that process to people who are just getting started on their own filmmaking journeys. In doing so, he revealed a few key points that even more experienced filmmakers ought to revisit from time to time.
First and foremost is the idea that we often try to do too much with our early films. We constantly watch films and shows, and we analyze them and get inspired by them. Ultimately, we end up adding those themes and techniques and shot choices to our own mental libraries of cool filmmaking ideas. When the opportunity arises to work on a project, all of those ideas come spilling out, and we try to incorporate as many of them as possible into that project because they're all just so badass. Unfortunately, that rarely leads to a good or coherent film (unless that film is House). The truth is that the best films are often some of the simplest in terms of their style.
Another great point from Simon's video has to do with editing. Chances are that if you're editing a film that you've also written and directed, your edit will follow along the same lines as the script. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but part of the magic of editing is that stories can be reborn into something much stronger and more compelling than they were on the page simply through an imaginative restructuring or through subtle manipulations in timing and rhythm. Being open to those possibilities will almost certainly take your creative editing skills to another level.
If you're interested in learning about how Simon pulled off this neat little project, he wrote a quick BTS post about it on his site. If you've got any questions about it, or if you've got any key pieces of filmmaking advice for beginners, leave them down in the comments!