STUDY FILMS. A lot of the mistakes that young filmmakers make could be avoided if teenagers actually just paid attention to their favourite films. Pick a movie you love and watch it with the sound down; look closely at the camera angles, the editing and the lighting. Watch short films on Youtube and see how an effective story can be told in five minutes. You won’t be able to match the production value of these films—and you don’t need to, anyway—but oftentimes the craft of good filmmaking doesn’t cost any money. You just have to actually watch films.
PUSH YOURSELF. Every film you make should teach you something you didn’t know before, and achieve something you didn’t know you were capable of. This doesn’t mean you have to go out every time and do something that you have no idea how to do. You should draw on the skills and techniques you’ve already learned—but if you’re not building on them, if you’re not pushing yourself further in some way, you’re playing it safe. It will show.
KEEP IT SHORT.
WORK WITH WHAT YOU’VE GOT. Don’t write that epic crowd scene unless you know there’s a festival happening next week that you can steal as a backdrop. Play to your strengths. There’s probably something unique that you or your family have access to that you can use in your movie. If your dad has a tractor, write a movie around that. If he doesn’t, don’t.
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