Hey Gang! Holy cow am I seriously writing as a guest blogger for Scott Kelby?! I am honestly a little freaked out right now. When I started working for Scott and Kelby Media Group almost 5 years ago, I never would have imagined I would be asked to speak to such an amazing group of readers. Some of the brightest and most talented photographers on the planet have graced these pages and I am truly honored to share my time with you.
Some of you may know that I direct our on-location KelbyOne classes with our amazing line up of instructors. But I also teach classes on KelbyOne showing you how to edit video in Adobe Premiere Pro. As I sit here trying to figure what exactly a videographer can talk about with photographers, one big topic comes to mind; how can you, as photographers, start to become filmmakers? So I came up with these 5 tips:
TOP 5 WAYS TO GET STARTED IN FILMMAKING WITHOUT GOING TO FILM SCHOOL
1) Watch Behind The Scenes On Your Blu-Ray Movies
This is, for me, one of the most underrated and most valuable first ways to learn filmmaking. Most movies will come with some kind of behind the scenes footage on the disc or in download form. By watching these, you will get to see how the film’s set works, hear from the director and cinematographer, see all the fancy gear that’s being used, and you may even learn out how they pulled off an amazing shot in the movie.
I have two tips for you in regards to these BTS videos. First, if you buy the “Special Edition” version of the movie (like the Anniversary Edition, and even the 3D Blu-Ray combo packs), they tend to have much more BTS features than just the normal version of the film. Second, do not skip over watching the film with the commentary turned on, often times that will be the most detailed conversation on the film you will ever hear.
2) Make Short Films… Lots Of Them
Another great way to learn filmmaking is by telling simple short stories. They can be about your dog roaming the neighborhood, or your kids playing at the park, really any short story will work. Now, your first set of films are going to suck. And that’s okay. They are not supposed to look good. But rather it is supposed to help you start thinking like a filmmaker and help you gain valuable experience by making mistakes.
3) Be A PA (Production Assistant) On Someone Else’s Film Set
Not only will you see how things are done during filming and how people work on set, you will gain lots of experience and titles for yourself without spending any money. In fact, you might even get paid to learn by working on their set. Another benefit besides seeing how things work on set is that you will most likely see how things can go wrong on set as well. So you can learn valuable lessons from someone else’s mistakes and that can save you a ton of headaches in the future.
4) Use Your Smartphone Video Option
One of the cheapest, simplest, and most effective ways to practice filmmaking is by using your smartphone. You can practice camera angles, and test how your scenes will look before you actually film with more expensive gear. There is a phrase in photography that goes like this: “The best camera is the one you have on you,” and this applies to video as well.
5) Mute Your Films
This tip can truly be a game changer for people just getting into filmmaking. You need to watch films. Lots of films. From the summer blockbusters, to the less popular independents, to the “lovey dovey” romance films (yes, guys I said it) to comedies. All types of films. But, the one major thing you need to do when watching films for study is turn off the volume.
Yes you read that right. By muting the film, it actually takes you out of the illusion that is the film story, allowing you to really study the scenes in the movie. Pay attention to how shots are used and how scenes are edited together. Look at how often they cut back and forth, and how long they hold on shots. It’s much harder to do this with the volume up because the sound draws you in and you get lost following the story instead of studying the filmmaking process.
So there you go! Those are my 5 tips to help you get started in the world of filmmaking without going to film school. As you can see, you don’t need a fancy degree (although it helps) to learn to tell visual stories. After all, we ALL already do that with still images right? The major difference is instead of concentrating on just the one frame, as a filmmaker we are now concentrating on 24 frames every second.
I want to give a big shout out to Scott Kelby and Brad Moore for asking me to share some of my experience with you all here. I am truly honored and thankful for the opportunity!
You can check out Brandon’s classes on KelbyOne, and follow him on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.