November 30, 2015

When It Comes to Filmmaking, What Do You Struggle With the Most?

What's holding you back from making the film of your dreams?

I've been writing for this site for several years, and in that time, I've penned close to 700 articles. Some of them have been good. Others have been questionable. But the thing that ties them together is that I've largely written them for myself. They're born out of my curiosity about a particular topic, or they're a result of me sharing content that I like.

But here's the thing, this site isn't about me. Nor is it about any other writer. It's about you, the hundreds of thousands of filmmakers who come to this site to learn, to grow, to be inspired.

And that brings us back to the point of this article, which is to find out what you struggle with most when it comes to filmmaking. By having an understanding of your frustrations and roadblocks, we can begin tailoring our content to help you move forward. 

So with that out of the way, here are a few questions for everybody. 

  1. What's your biggest psychological barrier when it comes to filmmaking? This could be something like, "I'm not sure I'm skilled enough to make films that live up to my high standards," or "I'm scared that I'll waste people's time and money on a bad film."
  2. What's your biggest technical challenge in filmmaking? Do you struggle with making your lighting or camera moves look good? Are you daunted by the complexity of some digital post-production workflows?
  3. What's your biggest logistical challenge? Do you have trouble finding talented cast and crew in an area that isn't a filmmaking hotspot (LA, NYC, Atlanta)? Is it finding and securing the locations that you actually want?
  4. What's one piece of content that you would like to see on No Film School in the future?

It'd be incredibly helpful if you could take a few minutes to answer those questions down in the comments. We'll be reading all of them, and working hard to steer our content in a direction that helps you get the most out of this site.     

Your Comment

79 Comments

1. "I'm scared that I'll waste people's time and money on a bad film."
2. Main technical issue is acting.
3. I don't have any.
4. More about working with actors & preproduction.

November 30, 2015 at 8:10AM

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Andy Tokarski
Director, Editor, Colorist
1098

1. I feel suffocated by working full time and being a full-time student and it makes me feel creatively stifled because I don't have the free time to sit down on a weekend and write all day or go out and do things that inspire me. I know there's ways around it but in my head it's just not adding up.
2. I don't feel technically challenged so much, as I love working with the tools that I have, but I do think my lighting can improve. I would like to see more affordable lighting solutions, as I don't have the budget to buy one light that cost as much as my camera.
3. I definitely have trouble finding talented cast and crew where I live. There is a slight hotspot (South Florida) two hours south of me which makes it not as bad as rural, isolated areas, but scheduling people to drive up or getting crew to travel down south is a logistical problem but can be done.
4. No Film School is one of my favorite websites so I'm not sure what else I could suggest adding. My answer can be subjective since some people on here work on bigger productions and prefer to see things more useful to them, where as I'm a more DIY, run and gun kind of guy due to my circumstances. So just keep up the great work, haha!

November 30, 2015 at 8:25AM

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1. There are so many talented filmmakers out there. Why even bother trying?
2. Lighting, lighting and lighting. I think it's incredibly hard to do a good job in this area, and we know how important it is.
3. None
4. Lighting, lighting and lighting. Have I mentioned lighting ?

November 30, 2015 at 8:32AM

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The trick with lighting is to just use some. Stick a cheap 800 watt soft box at an angle to someones face. Hit the space behind with a fresnal light and gobo. Re-light in post. For most amateur stuff this is enough.

December 6, 2015 at 6:02AM

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2. A steadycam type of rig where I can still shoot in low light and use narrow depth of field. Doesn't help that I'm a one-man band, so probably involves some crazy wireless follow-focus setup that I can't imagine or afford. Plus it can't make any noise. Ideas?

November 30, 2015 at 8:32AM

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I would suggest you work on blocking until you get the timing down. Keep the exact same distance from the talent and move in sync with them. And get cutaway that can be used in case of bad movement or focus.

November 30, 2015 at 11:36AM

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John Kivell
director/cinematographer
88

Second this. Dual ISO AF technology like in the Canon C(XXX) range though excites me. Not a complete solution but looks like it could solve a lot of situations.

December 1, 2015 at 7:15AM

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J.Eiffel
Director/DOP/Editor @ Eiffel
102

You can get cheaper (but still usable) rigs like Flycam, or Glidecam and get great results without a full Steadicam. Wide angle lenses make everything easier and more forgiving on focus. For a shallow DOF with tighter lenses, keep the same framing on your shot: same distance away=same focus distance. Also remember, the tighter the lens, the more shake appears in the shot.

December 1, 2015 at 11:01PM

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Craig Douglas
Writer/ Director/ Editor/ Videographer
1724

Please don't ever try to do shallow depth of field with steadicam if both you and your focus puller are professionals with professional gear. It will annoy anyone and everyone watching it...not just us picky perfectionist filmmakers.

December 10, 2015 at 5:56PM

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Daniel Mimura
DP, cam op, steadicam op
2120

1. I, like many, have ambitious screenplays I wish to bring to the screen however I understand that your early foray into making films isn't going to be as perfect as it can be. One psychological barrier for me is letting go of the fact that it won't be perfect first time (or that they are likely never to be perfect). I have had opportunities to develop short films in the past but shied away from them as I haven't been convinced the script, or the available crew/ actors are going to be perfect. I also see short films by some other first time directors and immediately see all of the errors they have made (usually bad sound and poor colour grading) and don't want people to think about my work in the way I have thought about others work.

2. Being entirely self taught and mainly working on promotional films, I see my biggest technical challenge is lighting a scene effectively for the story. Everyone can do the basic 3-point or 4-point lighting needed for corporate films etc. But creating a dynamic look with lighting to compliment the mood of the scene is slightly daunting as it is an area I have never really delved into.

3. My biggest logistical challenge is definitely finding crew, being entirely self taught, I have always failed to let go of control over areas of the production process. I very much like to be the one planning, directing, shooting, editing, grading etc. This has meant I have a relatively small network of specialist crew to call on. So finding a crew that I know are good at their job is a logistical challenge for me.

4. For me, the largest worry I have is blocking a scene, knowing its right and that on the day I will be able to think on my feet. So for me any resources on blocking scenes effectively and for the edit would be a massive help.

November 30, 2015 at 8:37AM, Edited November 30, 8:42AM

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Samuel Willis
Director/ DP/ Editor
81

1) What's your biggest psychological barrier when it comes to filmmaking?
I never feel like I manage to express what I feel inside with any art form. That's annoying. I always feel I hugely underperform and the results are never what I'd like them to be. For this matter, I tend to be a bit shy in involving people in my projects.

2) What's your biggest technical challenge in filmmaking?
Lighting is currently the aspect I struggle the most. I'd like to have a DP for that, but NOT FOR FRAMING THE SHOTS. That, *I* do.

3) What's your biggest logistical challenge?
Both actors and locations, being (at the moment) in a medium-small town in Italy.

4) What's one piece of content that you would like to see on No Film School in the future?
Some accomplished professionals watching shorts and stuff made by the users of Nofilmschool and giving advices in what to improve, what works, what doesn't work, and so on. In other words, the same exact thing Scott Kelby and other photographers do with photos in "The Grid" and shows like those. It is a very helpful thing to do, especially for beginners.

November 30, 2015 at 8:38AM, Edited November 30, 9:10AM

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David R. Falzarano
Director / Writer / Editor
1320

Zacuto made a few great web series that critiqued Indie films and the process of making films. I don't think anything is still in production, but old episodes are still worth watching. ( I loved the "Critics" series with Steve Weiss and Philip Bloom )

http://goo.gl/qha5Go

November 30, 2015 at 3:36PM, Edited November 30, 3:37PM

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Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer
30003

Just noticed that you can download episodes from the Zacuto Vimeo channel : https://goo.gl/WdKKIE

November 30, 2015 at 5:51PM, Edited November 30, 5:52PM

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Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer
30003

Thanks again, that is really interesting. Watching this I would like even more something similar done on a regular basis, with the chance to submit your work and have it critiqued by professionals inside the community. I think it would help a lot inexperienced people (and not only them, to be fair...).

December 3, 2015 at 5:55PM

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David R. Falzarano
Director / Writer / Editor
1320

Per #1.

This is an interesting one. I have always struggled with it in film but not with music. I started out in music and it just flows, I don't have to try. Film is much more tedious and difficult (in nature). It doesn't lend itself to "jamming". It's long and grueling, so I think the writing phase is where you can really put yourself into the work. After that, it's all so technical that there isn't a ton of time to express yourself on the spot while in production. Then in post you're back to it and you can take some time and make it personal (as much as possible through music and stuff like that)

December 1, 2015 at 12:48AM

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Luke Neumann
Cinematographer/Composer/Editor
2724

Now that I think about it, something like that occurs to me when, every once in a while, I play bass. Every time I do that, without even wanting it, I create on the spot many nice bass lines... they just come to me at the speed of light without no effort at all. If I listen to the bass of any song, 3 or 4 alternative bass lines almost immediately form in my mind... It's ironic if you think I actually am a mediocre and very occasional bass player, and I have no interest at all in writing bass music :)

December 3, 2015 at 6:05PM, Edited December 3, 6:07PM

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David R. Falzarano
Director / Writer / Editor
1320

1. 3rd World problems. I'm not sure if I could make a living out of filmmaking. But yes I'd love to make it happen.
2. File formats confuse me haha especially ProRes and all lol my biggest frustration is After Effects
3. It's hard to look for film grants in Bacolod City, PH.
4. Film grant, film school scholarship overseas, get to meet the pros worldwide.

November 30, 2015 at 8:59AM

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Aldrich Rosano
Director, Director of Photography, Editor
74

I am not sure if my story or my subject would be accepted by the audience :(

November 30, 2015 at 9:02AM

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Dikshya Sinha
STUDENT OF FILMMAKING/FILM & VIDEO EDITOR
74

I don't worry about audience that much. If I like it then someone in the world will also like it. When I make movies I focus on me liking them, not audience. I think it's a better, less stress oriented attitude.

November 30, 2015 at 9:09AM

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Andy Tokarski
Director, Editor, Colorist
1098

I'd love to know how to find funding sources for short films.

I'd also love articles that list camera movement motivations and reasons for choosing a slider shot vs a dolly shot, etc.

I prefer written articles over links to videos, because it's much easier to get away with reading an article than watching a video in a waiting room or in public.

November 30, 2015 at 9:29AM

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Alex Vietinghoff
Cinematographer, Editor
168

How to convert all my great film research into a great script. I have over a year and a half put into research and want to shape it. HOW?

November 30, 2015 at 9:42AM

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What's your biggest psychological barrier when it comes to filmmaking?
Gathering enthusiasm and motivation to fabricate an idea is easy, but I find it is harder to motivate myself to start a project, and often I stop at the first roadblock I find. Most of the times, weather it may be true for some, I figure if I havent got the motivation to surpass the roadblock is because the project isnt worth it.

What's your biggest technical challenge in filmmaking?
Moving shots - any kind of movement requires special equipment, and depending on the camera it can be quite costly and difficult. I have a Blackmagic Cinema Camera, such a bulky and oddly shaped camera requires special gear, gear that often I cant afford. I often find myself changing the script around in order to avoid specific kinds of shots because I know I lack the technical equipment to perform them correctly.

What's your biggest logistical challenge?
People - most people will accept working for, lets say a non profit just "fun" short film. But none have the same goals or motivations as me. Most people I know that are working in the industry are very competitive and often dont really want to cooperate on projects.

What's one piece of content that you would like to see on No Film School in the future?
Technical production tutorials from experienced people. Not just reviews or very specific tutorials for crazy expensive gear, but people showing how they do certain shots, how they setup their gear, how they plan their next investment. There needs to be technical content for all the "stages of filmmaking" , this means either people starting out, or people with a few years experience, or people that are really experienced but want to keep updated with the industry.
I suggest you invite more writers from all sorts of experience levels, they all have valuable input that could serve to specific demographics.

November 30, 2015 at 9:45AM, Edited November 30, 9:45AM

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Miguel Pinto Ferreira
Creative Director
146

I just want to say I love No Film School! You guys are awesome and I owe so much of what I have learned to this site, it's writers, and all those who work to give us this content. Thank you so much!

1) I'm lazy. I can start a project but I cannot for the life of me finish one.
I'm afraid that I cannot communicate effectively with my crews.
I'm afraid to collaborate because I have pride issues (I'm working on that one).

2) Color Correction/Grading is a challenge for me. I saw the article on working with log footage. I haven't read it yet, but that's exactly what I'm looking for.

3) Time/Time management

4) Behind the scenes of smaller projects. I think seeing how small(er) crews work would benefit the community greatly. Besides that I think it's been great. Focusing on the process of filmmaking (directing, lighting, sound, editing, etc.) with a few gear posts sprinkled in here in there is great!

Keep up the great work!

November 30, 2015 at 10:07AM

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Jerald Roberts II
Filmmaker
363

1. Biggest psychological barrier is perfectionism. Although sometimes a very good trait, several projects, which could have been finished by now, are still in pre-production.
2. I am anxious when directing somthing that is going to have VFX done later in the process - am I shooting it right? Will the VFX blend in?
3. Not really an issue.
4. I want to follow a director on-set doing his thing. How does he adress the actors? How does he cope with all the challenges?

November 30, 2015 at 10:16AM

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Thomas Meldgaard
Director
81

I would love to see some articles on production design. Sometimes that's my downfall, yet it's so important. Things look placed where an environment should look real.

November 30, 2015 at 10:18AM

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"What's your biggest psychological barrier when it comes to filmmaking?"

I've written and directed three short films but I can't seem to make the jump into the feature film world. I have a hard time committing to one idea - as soon as I begin outlining my screenplay, I start doubting whether its the right idea so I'll stop writing.

"What's your biggest logistical challenge?"

Finding a true "producer" is challenging, the brunt of finding and securing locations falls on me most of the time, which is my least favorite part of filmmaking.

"What's one piece of content that you would like to see on No Film School in the future?"

I love No Film School and it has helped me immensely over the years and I greatly appreciate everything you do to help filmmakers. One thing that I would love to see more of would be content specific to directing actors. Films can have great cinematography and a great story but if you don't have the tools to direct actors or have the confidence to speak to them in their own language, performances will be flat and generic, and therefore, the film will inevitably fail.

November 30, 2015 at 10:36AM, Edited November 30, 10:36AM

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Moses Flores
Writer and Director
74

1. I'm afraid that I don't know enough about what I'm doing. That I might bring a whole crew out, and be totally unprepared.

2. My biggest technical challenge is lighting.

3. Biggest logistical challenge would be locations.

4. I would like to see more information on preproduction.

November 30, 2015 at 10:45AM, Edited November 30, 10:45AM

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Ian Cessna
Videographer
206

I particularly enjoy reading articles about lighting techniques. I believe that's one of the most important technical things a filmmaker can learn. Another thing that is often overlooked is art direction and production design. Would love to see more on those subjects!

November 30, 2015 at 10:48AM

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Eric Thayne
Director | DP | Filmmaker
160

As amateur film maker as usual like everyone else technical knowledge in different departments in film making is where i lack & especially Managing People in every department and get the work done perfectly (Its hard when you are inexperienced, working on small projects & people around you don't trust and respect your work & talent).
I am so thankful to No Film School for the knowledge and the updates about the technology and Industry. And i believe No Film School is helping lot of people like me who cant afford to learn new techniques by joining courses to buy new gears so easily. I hope No Film School will notice this comment of mine & help artists like by giving sensible and simple knowledge where we are lacking and of course with belief and hope which every film maker must have in life. Thank you

November 30, 2015 at 11:08AM

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Arjun
Freelance Film maker
81

I have trouble finding people in my experience level. I don't want to team up with beginners because I'm afraid of overwhelming them or scaring them off. I don't want to team up with professionals (if they were willing to team up with me) because I'm afraid of slowing them down or giving them a bad impression of myself. Also, being a one-person band is always hard no matter how well-equipped you are. Also day job and school. The struggle is real.

November 30, 2015 at 11:26AM, Edited November 30, 11:29AM

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Alexandra
Videographer / Documentary Filmmaker
314

1. Ambition, about all of my physical obstacles to making a film really boil down to how much do I want to draw out of my life/work balance to tell this story. Even writing this makes me want to leave my desk at my day job and just shoot something, but unemployment wouldnt work for me right now.
2. Crew, I can get actors fairly easy enough but affording the crew that would make my story better is not so easy. I can get images that tell my story from a crew. So perhaps money is a technical obstacle.
3. Cost, I can tell and have read some great stories that I would love to make into a piece. But even doing a rendition of a script is costly. I can find locations, crew, actors and I can produce a good piece of work that will entertain someone, many someones hopefully.
4. Keep on keepin on, I draw alot from this site. The almost quarterly updates on grants have led me down some interesting paths and the gear updates keep my tech head in check. Dont fall to click bait titles if the story doesnt compel one in a direction. Keep giving us beautiful images and reshared articles from some awesome sites I keep in regular rotation, I miss some things so its nice to catch up. More of the same, just more of the same.

November 30, 2015 at 11:58AM

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Chris Hackett
Director, Director of Photography, Writer
1057

1. "I'm not sure I'm skilled enough to make films that live up to my high standards," "On a project,when am I ready enough to go shoot ?" "How do I know it's going to work ?"
2. Juggling between production issues and directing actors ,on set ,when on budget
3. Finding Talented Cast
4. Preproduction details, how Copyrights works and different ways of directing actors.
Thank you sooooo much for this site,truly awesome work.
++

November 30, 2015 at 11:59AM

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Jacob Taieb
Screenwriter,Director,Editor
74

Love the site but I'm really getting tired of the tech posts. It is sad that one of the most popular posts recently is about the new sigma 20mm. We are here to learn how to tell stories and to learn how others are telling their stories, not to learn about the latest gizmo. That's my two cents anyway.

November 30, 2015 at 12:15PM

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Tom McKenna
Jack of all trades
81

Getting a good group together is always hard. Or at least that one other person who has a suggestion when you have none; someone who has ideas of how to get things done, how to go about them without the hesitation and eventual fade out when you're stuck without a way forward or an idea of how to proceed. Someone who knows how to work within the confines of the limited money you have and still make it the best project they can. Someone who doesn't give up when that's all you feel like you can do.

November 30, 2015 at 12:46PM, Edited November 30, 12:47PM

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Raj Jawa
Director / Producer / Actor
76

Money

November 30, 2015 at 12:58PM

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Edgar More
All
1185

Ha!!

December 1, 2015 at 12:54AM

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Luke Neumann
Cinematographer/Composer/Editor
2724

Oh thank you, thank you. I have been saving that comment for a dozen years now.
Perhaps it would be easier to leave filmmaking and start my own witch hunt company.

AHA! you get it? No, anyone? ...OK

I feel so lonely.

December 1, 2015 at 8:55PM

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Edgar More
All
1185

1. My biggest psychological barrier is determining how to best tell the story. How does this story feel on film? How do I make sure the audience is able to connect with these characters?
2. Biggest technical challenge for me is lighting. I just don't know enough or care to know enough about it. I'd much rather use natural light, but sometimes that is very limiting aesthetically.
3. Biggest logistical challenge: FUNDING. Hands down. How am I going to pay for this?
4. I'd like to see No Film School feature more independent filmmakers. People who don't get the chance to have their work seen by their peers.

November 30, 2015 at 1:06PM

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1. My biggest psychological barrier is that I feel like I have to try twice as hard to achieve the same things as other people. I constantly ask myself if it's worth it to even try if they're just gonna make something better than me with the same amount of time/money.

2. I suck at lighting. I have accepted this. There are virtually no gaffers to speak of where I'm from. Plent of folks that have cameras and a dream. My fellow filmmaker and myself are trying to learn how to do this. Limited budget for lighting doesn't help. This is something we are actively trying to resolve.

3. Locations. Good locations are hard to find locally. On top of that, when you find a location, people want a substantial amount of money to use it. Not easy on an indie filmmaker trying to make use of their surroundings.

4. I would love to see a production breakdown. From conception to print. I always see the little pieces, but never the big "picture". When you're doing indie work, it's like you're constantly stabbing in the dark and hoping to nail it. This could be a series.

November 30, 2015 at 1:10PM

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RJ Ortiz
Cinematographer
237

First off, just want to say how grateful I am for the work you all put into this site. It’s been an invaluable resource.

1. My biggest psychological barrier in most cases is the willingness to make the changes necessary to get to the next level - growing a video company beyond a single filmmaker takes a different skill set than being a freelancer, for instance.

2. My biggest technical challenge at the moment is lighting - my skill set here is passable, but it's an area I've got to grow in.

3. My biggest logistical challenge is finding & securing good locations, which, let’s be honest, is a problem more networking on my part can do a lot to solve. Where NFS could probably help is in helping us hear from people who actually do location scouting and know the proper procedures/etiquette to help those of who don't scout for a living avoid burning bridges for other filmmakers.

4. The best learning I’ve experienced has come in the form of being on set with people who knew more than I did - content that in some ways replicates this sort of approach (BTS videos, lighting breakdowns, etc) tends to resonate most with me.

November 30, 2015 at 2:05PM

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Mauricio Tinoco
Videographer / TV Producer
147

4. More original articles like these, written by the person making the post. Well done Robert.

The worst articles are the copy paste ones from popular youtube channels. We get it, we saw the video 3 days earlier.

November 30, 2015 at 2:13PM

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1. What's your biggest psychological barrier when it comes to filmmaking?
Making time to do my own projects, given client and family demands.

2. What's your biggest technical challenge in filmmaking? Do you struggle with making your lighting or camera moves look good? Are you daunted by the complexity of some digital post-production workflows?
Not at all. I love learning new stuff. NFS helps with that, oftentimes.

3. What's your biggest logistical challenge? Do you have trouble finding talented cast and crew in an area that isn't a filmmaking hotspot (LA, NYC, Atlanta)? Is it finding and securing the locations that you actually want?
Locations are always a bitch, if you're in LA or NY. Logistical I'd say is creating and keeping crews cohesive. We're all gypsies, here, you know?

4. What's one piece of content that you would like to see on No Film School in the future?
Keep on keeping on. NFS has gotten much better since it was opened to your variety of views and writers. I still care about the geeky shit, but I'm glad to see you're really taking time to talk about "how was this done?" whether it's lighting or movement, or even how to work with actors. I do think NFS is weakest with the screenwriting stuff, but hey- there's many other places online to get that fix. And there's only so many articles to write saying "WRITE, DAMN YOU! SIT YOUR ASS DOWN AND F'N WRITE!!!!!!!"
Love you guys. Happy Merry.

November 30, 2015 at 2:50PM

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Patrick Ortman
I tell stories. Sometimes for money. Sometimes, not.

Time is my biggest issue and motivation after a whole day of creative work, 2 kids and a wife that works eves/nights and weekends is a killer. I have a FT job as a creative manager of a video dept so i do a lot of what I like during the day but real films it takes a long time. I am currently posting a short i filmed over a year ago.
I think everyone can use encouragement.
KEEP PUSHING EVERYONE!!! THE MORE WE PUSH THE CLOSER WE GET!

November 30, 2015 at 3:00PM, Edited November 30, 3:00PM

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Paolo Mugnaini
Director/DP/Editor
154

I have one answer for several of these questions: MONEY!

I've found several articles about film financing, and I did find them helpful. I still need to figure it all out.

Honestly, I wish there was an article about finding sponsors or advertisers to help finance your projects; how to talk to companies about product placement, or anything along those lines.

November 30, 2015 at 3:13PM

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Rachel RC Scott
Writer/Director/Producer/Editor
234

I also echo anything said about lighting, locations, color correcting, and after effects

November 30, 2015 at 3:16PM

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Rachel RC Scott
Writer/Director/Producer/Editor
234

Psychological Barrier
- I have a small social circle of film-making friends, so trying to get things done on a limited budget can be challenging.

Technical Challenge
- Wireless focus pulling on a flying gimbaled camera. Something I hope to fix next year.

Logistical Challenge
- Finding affordable cinematic locations.

Content I Would Like to See
- Easy VFX that can upgrade the quality of your finished film.

November 30, 2015 at 3:27PM, Edited November 30, 3:59PM

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Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer
30003

I feel confident in writing an emotional roller coaster and crowd-pleaser, but as I transition from being a writer to a filmmaker, I'm scared to death of the camera. I'm scared to death most of how to use the lens on this camera I bought (which I researched well before I purchased it) so much so that I haven't even turned it on.

I want to know how do I use data to prove that there are buyers for a film before I shoot one frame. Like, how can we create a minimum viable product-version of a film to prove that there aren't just potential viewers but actual buyers.

How do I create a crowd-sourcing plan that will actually work to raise funding for a film?
How do I edit creatively in terms of choosing the right angles that were shot to best tell the story, where to begin/end the scene etc.? (not just technical editing)
How do you guarantee distribution (besides VOD) before you shoot one frame?
How do you create viral videos that take off like crazy? How do you increase your chances of turning the film you shot into something that's viral?
How do you attract A-list talent when you have a small budget film? How do you know what A-list talent that distributors, including foreign would scoff at and which ones they'd salivate over?
How do you find an Academy Award campaign consultant who will work with a small budget and guide you in going for a shot of a nomination in one of the categories? How do you create your own DYI campaign?
How do you shoot and get a series on Amazon, Hulu or Netflix (not just a feature film)?
What new technology is out that will make it easier to do previz that looks realistic and yet is affordable and easy to use?
Besides crowd-sourcing, how do you raise your first $50-500k for a small budget film? Who do you approach? How do you convince them to work with you?
How do you set up a LLC and handle financing of the film, the monies received, taxes, etc.?
How do you use the first film you shot to attract bigger/better talent for your next film?

November 30, 2015 at 3:56PM

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Jeff Rivera
Filmmaker | Storyteller
975

Editing. And I'm not talking about a "how to use a specific software" tutorial type of thing. I'm talking about the actual art of visual story telling. why you cut there and how do you put together certain sorts of sequences. How do you get organized for an edit and not just a big budget. How about those guys just starting out on their first project. Getting that first one right can mean the difference between continuing on or throwing in the towel after the first hurdle. There are a couple of places doing this but it's expensive. How about something affordable.

November 30, 2015 at 4:12PM

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John Stockton
Filmmaker, Editor.
442

Thanks for asking! I hope these answers are interesting.

What's your biggest psychological barrier when it comes to filmmaking?
The sense that there are thousands of better, bigger, smarter films out there, so why am I wasting my time trying to compete? And that first part won't change; in fact I suspect until you're Spielberg or Fincher or Scorcese you'll always be seeing peers playing in bigger pools. So the key is to ignore the second part - the competing part - and just reconcile yourself with thinking 'fuck it - I'll make what I want to the best of my ability and be content with it.' It's hard though. I know people are pretty hostile about the whole Mumblecore thing, but for me that's a great example of filmmakers getting over that hurdle, getting past the stage of worrying how their movie will stack up against Force Awakens and instead just being proud that they're making the films they want to make.

What's your biggest technical challenge in filmmaking?
Lighting, maybe. But I kind of feel I know enough to get by until I can convince better DPs to work with me rather than being a self-shooter. People who are brilliant DPs, sound guys, composers, editors etc spend a lifetime honing their craft, so there's no point me trying. As someone that wants to focus on writing/directing I'm happy to be 'good enough to get by' in all other technical fields.

What's your biggest logistical challenge?
Getting volunteers to actually turn up. When you're making films on zero money you have to rely on people doing it for the love, and I'm grateful for any help I get. But when people - especially students/entry-level folks - beg to be involved then email to cry off ten minutes before you're due to start...

What's one piece of content that you would like to see on No Film School in the future?
Well, I'd love to see more about the actual process of filmmaking - casting, producing, contracts, insurance, catering, rehearsing, blocking, directing. But judging by the pages that get the most traffic nobody seems to give a toss about any of that; they'd rather an article on the new 9K RED Hardon. But given the name of the site and given that most film schools *do* cover those topics, it'd be cool to see a few more of them here.

All the best,

Jon

November 30, 2015 at 4:54PM

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Jon Mills
Filmmaker
616

1. Actually starting a project. For every project that I produce and direct, there are at least 2 or 3 that never got off the ground. I've had projects blow up in my face from pre-production to post-production. I try to keep a calm and stern demeanor on set as a director even though I'm panicking on the inside.
2. Directing actors. I feel the most distant towards them.
3. Locations. They've either turn out to be way below my expectations or an issue arises where we're not allowed to shoot on the only location for our film anymore.
4. Anything on actor-director relationships. Anything on lighting is also great.

November 30, 2015 at 5:07PM, Edited November 30, 5:07PM

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Daniel Cho
DP, Gaffer, Grip
142

1. I'm looking at leaping the chasm between video and film and it's that first jump. I'm an independent contractor just making it through my first year solo and I've got a "build your wings on the way down" philosophy I adopted from the last guy I worked for, but film isn't meant to be solo. It feels like most of my effort this year will be trying to break up the one man band and joining or forming a team. That is all quite daunting.

2. I really appreciate how many scripts have been popping up lately. I can bump lighting up one ring from the bottom and officially declare writing as my primary area to nurture, and with this site putting extra emphasis on it, I have days worth of resources to prop up my efforts. Seriously I'd be in the dark and not even know it.

3. I just need twice as much time in a day or an over the counter drug that makes it seem as such.

4. It would be cool if someone could make like a one hour a day workout video for different film roles. Like actual exercises to improve camera work to brainstorming and writing shorts for those of us trying to go through our own boot camp.

This site is bangin'. I check in everyday to see what I can absorb. The fact that content comes at us from all areas of film making coupled with community who have a lifetime of experience who chime in to support, discuss, or dispute every aspect of the topic makes it invaluable. I don't have to interact to get what I need or more.
The general tone of the community is unreal. It's almost as if we aren't on the internet.

November 30, 2015 at 6:25PM

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Gordon Byrd
Owner, Byrd Pictures
368

1) Believing in my own ideas and skill enough to convince others to back my projects.
2) Always lighting, especially achieving consistent lighting through a scene.
3) Casting
4) I'll echo others, preproduction: especially lighting prepro.

November 30, 2015 at 6:41PM

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Geoff C. Bassett
Director of Photography
150

1. I think my psychological barriers (and maybe all of us) can be boiled down to one simple thing: fear of failure. I've wanted to be a filmmaker for as long as I can remember and I'm now in my 30s, and only feel like I'm shaking off the shackles of "my script has to be perfect after the first draft, I need the perfect actors, locations, camera, lenses," etc.

What never sunk in until recently is that failure is inevitable. Not perpetually, but it's part of the process. I blame Orson Welles. He came out of the gate making one of the greatest films of all time at 25 so everyone (certainly me) thinks they have to be that good as early as possible. But it's worth it to make a crap feature with friends just to make a feature.

So the thing I've learned is to embrace your freedom to fail. Because you'll learn more from failing to make future successes better.

The best bit of director wisdom I've read/seen/heard recently is Ava Duvernay saying something about shaking off desperation as an emerging filmmaker: "If you spend more time worrying about what you don't have than working with what you do have, you're acting in a desperate manner." That seriously changed my life.

2. My biggest technical challenge is having a hard time being my own DP. I find myself needing to be most of the time for now but I don't want to do it anymore. It's too much for me and detracts from my ability to work with actors… for now.

3. My biggest logistical challenge is being a producer in general. I'm very disorganized in the sense that I can't figure out how to run a production AND focus on the actors and camera. I'm working on that but I'm terrible at it. So overall, I think my biggest challenge is finding and letting other people do things they're good at to help me make a movie. I was in film school when Robert Rodriguez was setting the world on fire with El Mariachi and Desperado, so there's this thing in my head that I have to do everything, but I personally can't… for now.

4. I really enjoy the content (original and aggregated) on NFS but I'd love to see more in general from filmmakers talking about their own process, especially with shorts and microbudget features. NFS has really done a lot to make me realize how possible it is to make a film these days but I haven't really seen you guys go deep with the process from soup to nuts, script to finished edit to festivals, etc.

Correct me if I'm wrong and that you have done this already, but I'd love to see a guest filmmaker write a series of pieces on their journey from first idea to the first festival premiere.

November 30, 2015 at 7:03PM

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Alex Chancey
Editor, Filmmaker
154

Wow, so many replies.

November 30, 2015 at 9:14PM

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Thanks for the great site, first of all. I probably come here twice a day and I'm always learning something.

I could write a novel about #1. A big one. Like, The Stand...

1. For me, this isn't self-doubt. Self-doubt is like "Gee, maybe I'm not good enough." What I have is more like "anti-confidence", in that I am CERTAIN I'm not good enough. Incompetent? Check. Ignorant? Yup. Too old? Definitely. Too inexperienced? Totally. Lazy? Yes.

So yeah, starting from there, and then trying to reach out to other people, collaborate, start something, finish something... it's a constant struggle, and by "struggle" I mean "hiding under my bed whimpering."

And, ironically, I do video production full-time for my corporate day job, and I'm actually pretty good at that. But that never seems to translate into any sort of confidence in my creative endeavors.

2. Technically, pretty much every aspect of actual production. I've been writing screenplays for years, one of which I managed to option, and in my current corporate gig, I work with Premiere Pro and After Effects every day. But on an actual set, with an actual camera, and actual actors, I'm like a deer in the headlights of an oncoming 747.

3. I'm not sure if this is a "logistical" challenge -- some people here have said that it's hard to find a cast and crew, but for me, it's more like finding my "people," y'know? I've worked with some people on small projects locally, and they went pretty well, but I never really feel like I'm on the same wavelength.

4. I love the idea others have mentioned, of a "soup-to-nuts" view of other projects, especially small, indie projects. Also, more stuff about comedy, because I am hilarious.

Also also, maybe creating some sort of collaborative space, or feature? It seems like there are enough people here with a diverse enough skill set that you could basically seed little projects for people to collaborate on. Like a mini online Project Greenlight. Or something. I've had some wine. I dunno.

November 30, 2015 at 11:37PM, Edited November 30, 11:40PM

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Bryan Howell
Screenwriter, corporate videographer, and indie filmmaker
413

Shouldn't this be in the boards?

December 1, 2015 at 12:04AM

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Paul B
303

1. I constantly struggle with the idea that I won't get work when I leave school - especially work that I enjoy and want to be doing (I do NOT want to be a PA for the rest of my life)
2. I'm often weary that my camera movements and shots in general won't sync up with each other. I want to convey emotion with my shot choices, but I'm also afraid I don't know enough of how each individual movement will affect my audience.
3. Being able to find actors is generally a big issue.
4. I would really like to see more technical articles. I enjoy learning about the intricacies of how the gear I use every day works so that I can make the most of it. I feel like understanding how sensors work and other things like that can make its way into my sets and I can use them more creatively if I understand how pieces fit together.

December 1, 2015 at 12:20AM

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Here's a list of thing I need to learn :
1. Cinematic camera movements, if there was a list like 10 most commonly used movements, with examples in movies and with bts footage on how to do it, it'd be great. Haven't found any video on this.

2. Composition, I try to keep my eyes open all the time when watching movies & shows, I can picture it in my mind perfectly but doesn't translate well to reality. I'm thinking of using more standard/popular compositions and freestyle less.

3. Use of natural light to make your video more artistic (you probably know what I mean), ... here's the thing, I don't know whether those videos use natural light or add sunflares in post?

4. Color grading is still huge! Except #1, I've watched multiple tutorials for 2-4, but no amount of tutorial watching would make me a color grading pro, so here's what I propose, maybe have a pro color grader write a guest blog (actually make a guest video) and upload the raw footage and end result for us to exercise or something like that.

December 1, 2015 at 12:25AM

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Dave
108

1 - Sacrificing your story for the harsh reality of "logistics". If you write and shoot your own stuff you have experienced this. No one writes with a budget in mind. So you just write what comes to you. Then when it comes time to shoot you experience the logistics of your writing choices. Like, going through what is needed to get 100 extras in costume and to a location is grueling stuff. Stuff I usually just end up going "well that's not worth it" because ultimately...it's a frill.

So when it's on me and it's my money that's going into it...I have to sacrifice. I hate it, I really do. Stripping the frills from your original idea is both helpful and taxing.

December 1, 2015 at 1:04AM, Edited December 1, 1:17AM

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Luke Neumann
Cinematographer/Composer/Editor
2724

1. I'm broke af
2. I hate asking for money (crowdfunding, investors, ex)
3. I'm broke
4. I hate working shitty corporate service industry jobs for 7.50 full time or part time it's not enough especially after bills
5. I'm really fucking broke
6. I have all the ideas I just have no money or resources. I'm not afraid to shoot a feature length and utterly fail the fact that I tried would be a success to me
7. I could care less about scholarships or going to a film school even a cheap one. If I had the money I'd just make the movie/s
8. I'm so god damn broke
9. I believe a great film could be made anywhere on limited resources and budget I'm just at 0 when it comes to all of that.
10. Fuck it I'm broke right an article about how to succesful rob a bank because I'm tired of them robbing me

December 1, 2015 at 2:12AM

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Daniel Duerto
Everything is me
150

1: psychological barrier
I'm not a very social creature so networking is something that is necessary for new jobs, but can be very difficult for me. Doesn't mean I don't do it of course.

2: technical challenge
When shooting documentary work for video I always find it a challenge to decide whether to preserve highlights or go for optimal exposure on the target area. Sometimes it's an easy decision but for some shots it can suddenly become a 'bit' of a gamble when you only have one shot.

3: logistical challenge
How do I get from here to LA...

4: Content
I'd like to see more interviews with professionals, going in-depth on how they made something.

December 1, 2015 at 4:57AM, Edited December 1, 4:57AM

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Filmdudezero
Director
243

1. It's the fear of putting all the effort in and no one truly appreciating what went into it, or even caring at all for that matter.

2. My main technical issue is lighting, i own 2 piss weak LED's and 2 $5 Work lights and a Bed sheet, that is my setup, if you want to see how i utilised those look at my Profile here on No Film School and the vid is embedded, honestly it's not that bad, but still my weak point.

3. I live out rural, in the sticks, bushland, it's me and my A7s, so yeah being a one man show is a hard knock life.

4. I would love to see more stuff on lighting and articles on the A7s, but that would be unfair to those who do not have one, so yeah, maybe more stuff on shot compositions and audio?

December 1, 2015 at 6:20AM

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Ben Thompson
DoP / Indie Film maker / Editor
74

1. The confidence to guide a bigger crew. Part of me feels that doing everything by myself means I learn everything, I walk before I run, and I can get what I'm trying to achieve exactly right.

But I know other people in specialised roles could create a better project. I'm just scared that I will lose control of the direction its going in if I get more people involved.

2. Currently I'm trying to work with a lot of (literal) darkness in my work. The technicalities of bringing out subtle lighting in a dark room without it being grainy is of course my biggest challenge. DR is my version of beauty. But I'd like to learn more actual techniques.

3. Finding people to work on my film with (and being able to pay them!) & finding indoor locations to use.

4. Behind the scene stuff. Lighting stuff. Director Tips stuff. Stuff stuff. You guys have good stuff. That's why I'm writing this.

December 1, 2015 at 6:21AM

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J.Eiffel
Director/DOP/Editor @ Eiffel
102

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