You’ve caught the bug, and you’ve decided to make a movie. But where do you start? The good news is today there are fewer barriers to overcome in order to produce a film. Thanks to digital filmmaking, the costs have dropped dramatically. In reality, practically anybody can become a filmmaker. No one article can answer all of your questions or take you through the entire process; however, I want to offer you 20 key steps that will at least steer you in the right direction. Think of these steps as the big picture or the 30,000 foot view.
Step 14. The Look
One of the areas in your budget that often gets short-changed is the “look of the film”. The truth is without a well-dressed set and characters; you cannot convince your audience that they are watching a real and legitimate movie. The visual design of your movie is just as important as the type of equipment you use to shoot your film. What exactly is the look? It includes art, props, wardrobe, and make-up. It also involves all design work, construction of sets, and set dressing. All of this stuff costs money, so your production designer, will need to be creative. Have you ever read all the titles at the end of an independent feature? You’re going to notice that the producers thank a lot of people. Without that help they would never have been able to get their film produced. You don’t have to buy everything for the movie, especially in the area of props. There are many people who would be more than glad to loan you the things that you need as long as you return it in the original condition.
The first place to start with your script breakdown is to create a comprehensive list of everything you need for your movie, how long you need it, and where do you need it. Post the list on your website and ask your friends, family, church community and the general public for their help. If your film calls for classic cars or antiques, check for collectors in your area and see if they would be willing to loan it to you for promotional consideration. Call construction companies, contractors, hardware stores and building suppliers to see if they would be willing to donate materials to build your sets. Again become a deal maker and offer them a piece of your movie. It might mean rewriting a scene to take place at a hardware store.
Another place to look for props and wardrobe is at thrift stores and second hand shops. I suggest that you call the local colleges to see if you can recruit interns to help you with art design, which includes drawings, sketches, posters, and all other kinds of signage. And, finally, don’t forget about makeup. A good place to check is your local TV stations. You may find somebody who is interested in working in a feature film for the experience. All you will have to pay for is the actual supplies, creams, lotions, pads, etc.