We’ve all seen it: we sit down to watch a film, and we begin to feel distracted by the elements that seem out of place or cheap. Perhaps we notice that an actor was not the best choice or that certain elements in the story are not serving their purpose. Those small details build on top of each other until the film is weighed down by those mistakes. 

These mistakes are common issues that filmmakers experience when starting. An idea that sounds cool on paper just doesn’t translate to film, or there are certain elements to the filmmaking process that aren’t prioritized.

Everyone has to start somewhere, and a lot of people don’t have the luxury of realizing they are making common errors until after they’ve put the entire film together. Shane Stanley breaks down with Film Courage the common mistakes that young filmmakers make that make their low-budget films look low budget. Check out the full interview here:

Don’t spend a good chunk of the budget on the wrap party.

A lot of filmmakers focus on the ending at the beginning. When crafting a budget, many young filmmakers reserve a solid chunk of change for a big wrap party. Instead of spending three to five thousand dollars on a wrap party, think about parts of your film that could use a little more money.

If you need to hire an editor, find one and pull some of the funds for the wrap party. Be mindful about where money is being distributed, and find creative ways to bring your vision to life in the best way possible. 

Your friends and loved ones aren't always the right choice.

We love your friends, we really do, but ask yourself if your friends are good actors when casting for your film. If your friends are fantastic actors, then cast them if they are right for a role and find creative ways to utilize their skills. If they are not the best fit, there are so many places to look for good actors that will elevate and breathe life into your story. 

When looking to cast for your film, go to the acting classes at the local film school or university and ask people to come and audition for your film. Make sure to hold auditions so you can find the best fit for the role. Don’t be afraid that someone outside of your circle will not like your work, because the truth is that you’re making something you’re passionate about, and people will notice and respect that. Be open about sharing your work with others who are also looking for work. 

Try to not cast someone who isn’t right for the role.

Sometimes, you won’t be able to find the person you need for a role. Don’t sweat it, because there is probably a real person in the world who does exactly what you need them to do.

If you need a cashier who has a few lines, go to that location and ask if the owner or cashier could read a few lines. Finding the right person could be as easy as walking into a store. Chances are that they could become recognizable characters in your film and you could change the course of their lives. 

Stop wasting the location.

Your job as a filmmaker is to take the audience to a place they are not able to go. We can all go to a house in suburbia or the grocery store, but what makes the house or car or park so special in your film?

Think about it like this: Why do so many people visit the locations of places they see in movies? It’s because they want to interact with a world that they want to be a part of. The viewer wants to transport themselves into a world that the filmmaker has created, and isn’t that the overarching goal of making a film? 

Remember, you are trying to make a name for yourself. You have to do what is going to benefit you and your filmmaking skills. Making a film is hard, but it could be an easier process if you work hard for what you want and put yourself out there. Making friends in the industry is important, but don’t let those friendships dictate your filmmaking. Filmmaking can be selfish. Don’t be afraid to do the things you want to do. Just focus and don’t make the common mistakes a lot of filmmakers make when they are starting out. 

What are some helpful tips you have for young filmmakers? Let us know in the comments below!

Source: Film Courage