November 24, 2016 at 7:51PM

0

The path of the "no film school" filmmaker, What's the best way to start it?

Because lack of resources or just because you don't want to go to a film school, a lot of people start their filmmaking careers with nothing. Some get equipment, some start acting, some started in still photography, others even start making music for a film which leads to direct a film in the future.
But, I ask, what do you think is the best path for a "no film school" filmmaker start their career?

4 Comments

The NFS Related Discussions box suggests http://nofilmschool.com/boards/discussions/how-i-went-canon-rebel-t1i-directing-1m-project

Here's my commentary on that suggestion. Since you mention the word "career" in your question, it tells me that you are interested in using your soon-to-be-great filmmaking skills for profit. Which means you will be focused on effectively and efficiently realizing visual products based on prompts from your client base. This is what Logan Bean (the author of the referenced thread) did as he went into doing lots of spec work.

There are indeed many sites that offer a creative prompt which filmmakers then attempt to realize within a specified amount of time, and/or with a specified set of very limited equipment, etc. Get really good at that, and, if you enjoy it enough to make a career of it, work will find you. There are many people out there who can appreciate (and will hire) the guy who takes second place in a contest using only 1/10th the equipment of the person who takes first place. And the only way to work your way up to 2nd place is to enter lots of contests, learning and improving with every one.

November 25, 2016 at 7:21AM, Edited November 25, 7:21AM

2
Reply

(The suggested topic has a decieving title: the writer directed a video about a 1M project some company was working on :-p)

Contests are indeed a way to learn fast and to get to know other people.

November 27, 2016 at 11:25AM, Edited November 27, 11:36AM

2
Reply
avatar
WalterBrokx
Director, DOP, Writer, Editor, Producer
8916

The most important thing IMO is to start small. WAY TOO MANY PEOPLE start with nothing, buy a bunch of cheap gear and call themselves "filmmakers" having no idea how to use it or even what a real film project is like. Get to know experienced professionals (most of whom have gotten out of the industry). Sit in on different jobs and see what you like. You can't be good at all of it, so specialize in one thing but have knowledge of everything else. I'm mostly an audio-post guy because few people understand it, but I shoot everyday, do lighting, gaff etc.

2nd most important is to remember that this is a dying industry. Television has become almost 100% automated. Hollywood is all about nepotism and personal connections, basing all projects on market research. Thousands of indie movies are made every year and 99.99% of them fall through the cracks without being noticed. Even wedding videography and commercials have become difficult because "cousin Earny" with his $800 DSLR will do it for free. You need to get into this business because you love it, not because you want to make money. I do this for a living but one of my proudest projects earned me nothing. It won all sorts of awards in various national competitions and while all I did was sound design, I firmly think I am part of the reason it did so well.

I noted that most of the real pros have gotten out of the industry because they have essentially been choked out of it by the cheap/untrained. I was lucky enough to come into the business as a lot of those guys were leaving so I could learn from them. So, just because somebody has a job doing video doesn't mean they know what they're doing. One guy who started at my company as a camera op managed to get a job as a commercial producer and is now making documentaries at a different company. He doesn't know what an iris is, how to set ISO on a camera, has never seen a light meter, broke a lot of equipment when he was here, thinks a $500 shotgun mic (plugged straight into a DSLR) needs to be 20CM away from people's mouths and then complains about how bad it is. I can continue but I'll just say that guys like him are becoming the norm. Speaking of which, no matter what job you want, you need a great personality and it helps to be young and good looking.

November 25, 2016 at 8:48AM, Edited November 25, 8:59AM

0
Reply

Start with what you have acces to. If you wait till you have an X amount of money to buy certain gear, you might never start. If you start with what you have or can borrow, you will have no excuse to not start. You'll have to be creative to make something with limited resources, but reality is: resources are always lmited in some way and you will always need to be creative.
Getting experience without big investments will prevent you from buying stuff you might never ever tough, because you discover too late that filmmaking is no fun or because you bought stuff you don't really need (yet).
Experiment, try things and have fun.

FYI, my first project was shot on a crappy webcam using Lego (in the year 2000). After that I made an animation with pencil and a scanner.
Last week I flew to Switserland for a job.

Create short things: they take less time to create, so you'll go through the whole proces faster than with a large project. This means you can learn faster.
'Fail fast, learn faster' is an important first stage.

November 27, 2016 at 11:34AM

4
Reply
avatar
WalterBrokx
Director, DOP, Writer, Editor, Producer
8916

Your Comment