HOW TO FINALLY SCRIPT, SHOOT & FILM YOUR FIRST FEATURE FILM BY YOURSELF
FIRIST AN ANSWER TO THE ENDLESS
DOES GEAR MATTER?EVERY PROFESSIONAL CREATIVE EVER
OF COURSE IT DOES
Ever tried to get someone to watch a movie you didn’t make because you simply didn’t have a camera because it was 1100? Well. obviously
GEAR DOES MATTER
To a certain extent. It’s just one variable amongst many others that ultimately determines whether something you make is good. There are others too:
- Time: no one talks about the fact you cannot shot a movie or picture if you don’t have any left. Because you are dead for example. Therefore we could come up with this catchy Youtube clickbait title: TIME VS. GEAR. What ultimately determines…
- Your Story, or rather the message of your video
- Whether you decide to shoot the movie or shoot the picture, to begin with,
- in short
OUTPUT = FUNCTION [INPUT LIKE: TIME, MONEY, GEAR…]
And gear is only a subset of money. You can buy or rent gear. With money. And money is only a subset of time, really. Because if you are able to work any job at all, you are able to convert your time into money. Therefore: if you got 25 years left to live and you would literally die for making your first feature film, but don*t have the money: Then, work until you got the money. And then start. And if that doesn’t work out, because the 25 years aren’t enough to cover your movie’s budget, well, then maybe
IT’S TIME TO TRY SOMETHING DIFFERENT
So the end the debate “GEAR vs: NO IDEA WHATEVER YOU COME UP WITH”: It’s almost never this or that thing ultimately determines whether you finish something. The real question is just: how important these things are. But we are humans. And we exaggerate. Therefore we don’t talk
ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF GEAR AMONGST MANY OTHER VARIABLES & THEIR COFACTORS
that ultimately determine the quality of something you made, but we just try to simplify it, break it down. Even if this process often leads to things left broken. But this isn’t intended to be about gear, it’s about something bigger
YOUR FIRST FEATURE FILM
is the one you make. And not the one you dream about for your whole live. And not the one you save 25 years for. And then maybe are not able to make it anymore. Because you may have ended up in a car accident. Or anything else you cannot predict. And since in general, you cannot predict much.
BETTER START NOW
The “GEAR VS” – debate of course is only possible due to this one thing. The fact: the average phone an average viewer or reader of these articles and videos has these days [you can watch something only on a screen, therefore the audience must have a screen, most often attached to phones these days. ] already features a camera better than everything produced
SINCE THE DAWN OF TIME
Till 2000. At least when it comes to shooting digitally. Also the simple fact we pay anywhere from 100-2000 bucks for a smartphone. Which is pretty damn expensive. The assumption now is this:
YOU ALREADY HAVE AT LEAST AN AVERAGE PHONE
in your pocket. A device for which the name phone is almost completely missing the main function. It’s a computer & camera hybrid. Compact. Small. And You also can call other people if you want to. Amongst thousands of other things, you could do.
NOT EVERYONE HAS A COMPUTER
But even in developing countries all around the world phones are on the rise. Hint: phones are computers. Also the top phones nowadays have more processing power than the average notebook 10 years ago. At least. But let’s now finally figure out
HOW TO SHOOT YOUR FIRST FEATURE FILM
because this is, what this here should have been about in the first place. The first thing we need to understand is:
WHAT DEFINES A FEATURE FILM
- a runtime of about 60-120 minutes on average [the thing that differentiates the feature from the short is: a runtime above 40 minutes]
- something in the video format, with video usually being a combination of the two primary recording formats picture [over time] and audio [vibrations over time]
- a public release somewhere
THE PUBLIC RELEASE SOMEWHERE
for”real movies” usually works like this: either it is a short film, which means the movie has a runtime of 40 minutes or less. Everything longer is considered a feature film. Usually, the proper release for an independent movie would be to first try to attend as many film festivals as possible. Paying thousands in attendance fees. And since Covid only for them to upload your film to the web. And then hope your film makes it somehow and someone believes in you and wants to make your movie big.
OR YOU COULD TRY TO PITCH TO STREAMING SERVICES
and hope someone Netflix picks you up. But Netflix usually doesn’t work with individuals or their companies but rather prefers something called
simply middleman or rather middlecompany that takes your movie and the ones of others and then pitches and distributes them streaming services and big media houses like Warner Brothers.
NOW THE VIDEO FORMAT
Of course, there are certain very specific requirements. Subtitles. Codecs. When it comes to shooting “for the big screen”. But here is something smarter than spending hours on distribution requirements: Don’t even bother things like this. Take your phone, record Full HD. And done.
NOW THE RUNTIME
here is how you do it. Just don’t press stop until you hit 41 minutes. And tada, your previous short is now a feature film.
WHEN IT COMES TO “WHAT YOUR MOVIE IS ABOUT”
There are two main categories. Something informational. Or something to entertain. And mixtures of these. Basically movies and documentaries, meaning: everything you could possibly record probably fits in somewhere on the spectrum between those two.
RELASE IT ONLINE
Why would you even consider shooting a whole movie, paying a few thousand bucks for the distribution alone, and then only to be reliant on multiple third parties like the distributors and the streaming services? If you also just could
UPLOAD IT YOURSELF?
And actually, get feedback right away? Without spending days, weeks, months, years figuring all of this out. Managing all of this.
ALL YOU NEED TO SHOOT A FEATURE
is your phone. The average quality these days is finally good enough. Thank goodness. I personally waited for years for this point in time.
YOU PRESS RECORED
You point it at something interesting for a certain amount of time. Maybe it’s under 60 seconds. Then that’s the new form of short content, let’s just call it SHORT. The one people actually watch. On Tiktok, Instagram Reels or YouTube shorts. Or over 60s. Then it’s LONG. Then, you open YouTube, upload it and it’s out for the world to judge.
SO HERE IS MY FIRST CRAPPY FEATURE FILM
a film of me: talking about cameras. For almost two hours. It’s video. It’s FHD. Everyone in the world with an internet connection and a phone can watch it. I didn’t pay thousands of dollars for the distribution. I can make money from it if enough people think it’s interesting. Of course, having a better phone increases your chances of success probably slightly. But spoiler: I only was able to shoot this, because I just took all these limitations. Just accepted them. And made something with them.
I WANTED TO MAKE A “REAL MOVIE” FOR YEARS
Spent hours researching what cameras I would get. Whether gear mattered. Spent hours figuring out how to get my phone audio quality to be at least somewhat acceptable [waiting and then buying the best phone on the market helped, it was and still is the Galaxy S10, very good audio]. How to maybe get my movie onto Netflix. But the truth is this: no one watches these Independent movies or real shorts. They often are uploaded onto Vimeo. Often pretty artsy, probably only accessible to a few dozen people worldwide, because they are so artsy. And often with almost no views. Just like my new feature film.
PEOPLE NOW CAN FINALLY STREAM ANYTHING
Even cinema. What if instead of all the hassle, you just took your phone and made your first feature.
I WANTED TO MAKE A REAL FILM FOR YEARS
And I just did.