How To Be a Filmmaker (and How the Answer is Under Your Nose)
You are sitting in class, but your mind is a million miles away. You can hear the teacher speaking, but all you can see are scenes you want to bring to life: sci-fi battles, the modern day dilemmas of youth, old school slapstick shenanigans, and more. Filmmaking is in your blood, and possibly costing you some marks in class. So how do you go about harnessing that energy and passion in a positive way?
The first part of that answer may very well be in your pocket. Smartphones offer a myriad of uses, and although filming scenes with the same device you use to text your friends may not feel very professional, it is actually closer to a “proper” camera than you might think. Modern smartphones can record up to 1080p videos at 60 frames per second, or 2160p videos at 30fps. With a few peripherals, such as a lens kit or microphone, you can put together impressive looking and sounding movies at a low cost.
Even if the director or main stars of a blockbuster get the accolades, all movies are a team effort. You can turn to your friends, or make like-minded friends in classes or after school programs. They do not have to necessarily be people wanting to get into film. Your tech-savvy friend can operate the camera. Your pal who is mastering English class can write the script. An artistic student can draw the storyboards. As a team, it will not only be easier, but the combination of different skills will make your final product even better.
Most important of all, you need to be prepared to fail. No film or story in its final form is exactly as you pictured it in your head. Not everything you make will be gold. By treating filmmaking as a process, as something you make a habit of, you can produce a body of work. You can upload your videos online and experience the marvelous horror of having an audience. All feedback, from your ever-praising mother to vicious online reviewers, is invaluable. You need to learn to accept feedback from both ends of the spectrum- this is how you grow and learn.
Looking ahead, research film programs in the post-secondary institutions you want to attend. These programs provide you a very unique environment to learn in, where you will be working alongside others who share your passion and receiving honest and constructive feedback from peers and experienced professionals. The post-secondary environment allows you to meet people from all walks of life. The things you learn from them will inspire your storytelling, just as you will inspire theirs. As you go forward, networking will be invaluable in finding opportunities to turn your passion into a career.
Yet all of that starts with what you do now. So pull out your phone and get filming!
Rogerson, James. How to shoot a Hollywood movie on your phone.
Walters, Ryan E. Should You Go to Film School? A Conversation with Ryan E. Walters.
Wikihow. How to Be a Filmmaker.