Here and there different friends have pitched me on a movie idea they have. Loosely quoting it usually starts with, “I have this great idea for a most spiritual film.” The same thing when I receive emails from aspiring screenwriters. Making movies is experience. You learn at every stage and with time you learn more. A trend I’ve noticed with most movie ideas I get is they’re not realistic for true grunt independent filmmakers to make. I have a friend who has a phenomenal idea for a heist movie set in the late 80’s.
I was glued to his pitch. After he was done I told him there was nothing I could do with his story. I already knew the movie idea was way too big for any budget I might be able to put together. What he said to me lead to this article. “Then what do I have to do? How come we can’t make it a movie?”
The following advice is directed towards aspiring filmmakers that want to go from movie idea to movie treatment to script they can shoot outside of Hollywood. This won’t help you if you want to write a blockbuster script to pitch to producers, studios, or agents. It’s for people who need to write a script based on the resources they have to get through an entire film shoot. Write down a dozen movie ideas you have, see what is realistic to shoot yourself within your budget and resources.
You’ve come up with a movie idea you really believe in. Now it’s time to flesh it out and see if it can be shot with the resources you have. When fleshing out your movie idea be honest with yourself about what type of story you can bring to life as a movie. When I flesh out a movie idea I start by making notes of creative elements I want to include in the story.
Next I note what locations and vehicles I know I will have access to during filming. These two elements lend a great deal to the overall style and look of a film. Don’t underestimate what locations and vehicles can add or detract from a movie. Problems are an absolute guarantee when you make a movie. I’ll share what I did to solve problems to finish a movie and get distributed to viewers. There are many moving pieces when making a movie, friction develops, and the entire production can break down quickly if you’re not prepared for what to expect. I’m here to share my real life experiences making movies.
The First Movie is the Toughest grew out of the tough lessons I’ve learned making independent movies with limited money, time and resources. It covers how to deal with making, selling, and promoting your movie using practical information that really works.
My approach is to share useful film making information with behind the scenes examples and stories you can only experience getting your hands dirty making movies.