directing a movie

5 Must-Read Film Making Tips When Directing a Movie for the First Time

Are you sick of watching the same old blockbusters at the movie theater with basic plots and boring performances? Then why not do something about it and make your own film?

Unleash your creativity, and even change the course of film history by injecting your artistic vision into the mix. The story that you want to tell could be just what the world needs right now.

If you’re interested in learning how to direct a movie but unsure of where to start, don’t stress. From advice about how to behave on set to the inside scoop on fundraising, we have all the directing tips you need right here.

Keep reading for five must-read tips for directing a movie. Let’s get started!

1. Start with a Storyboard

Although it’s time-consuming, creating a detailed storyboard for your film is vital. In this process, you will plan out every single shot needed, which will help familiarize you even further with the deeper details of the narrative.

In order to create the best storyboard possible, you will first need a fully fleshed-out shot list. Again, this is time-consuming. But you can’t make a movie without it!

So sit down with a large coffee, make a master list of each shot you need, and then get started on your storyboard. And don’t worry, you don’t need to have an art degree to create a good one.

Drawing a storyboard is less about the quality of the drawings and more about the information you’re providing. Plus, you can always hire a better artist to redo your drawings later on if needed.

2. Trust Your Actors when Directing a Movie

Once you have a specific vision, it can be difficult to relinquish control in any way. But when it comes to working with actors, you will need to do just that.

Remember that you chose these artists because of their talent and because they are highly trained and talented individuals. Trust that they know what they’re doing!

Once you relax and let them take the reins, you will be shocked at the magic that occurs. As a director, you are there to guide everyone in the right direction for each shot and scene, not dictate your team members’ every move. Over-directing is a dead giveaway that a person doesn’t know how to direct a film properly.

And when it comes to directing techniques that will set you and your film up for success, allowing actors to do their jobs takes the cake!

3. Focus on a Collaborative Mindset

When you’re assembling the crew for your movie, be sure to surround yourself with people who can wear many hats. A team full of collaborative-minded folks will bring a new life and energy to your project.

Discover their strengths and empower them. Allow them to contribute outside of their given job if they want to. Reward them for their hard work.

In the same vein, make sure these people are also honest. Although praise feels nice, it’s not helpful in the long run. You want a crew full of individuals who will be able to give you genuine feedback and insight throughout the whole filmmaking process.

When you focus on surrounding yourself with a crew of collaborators, you will find that you’ll receive new ideas and materials every step of the way. Every bit is helpful, whether that means having even more creative shots, interesting script changes, or a larger music library to choose from for your soundtrack.

4. Foster a Positive Environment

As the captain of the ship, you are the one that sets the tone on set. If you bring stress and negativity with you to set each day, your cast and crew’s attitudes will follow suit. And if the tone of your film is a naturally somber one, like a movie about drug addiction, you may need to work even harder to keep your cast and crew feeling cheerful.

Focus on fostering an atmosphere where each person on your team can flourish. Make a conscious decision when you show up in the morning to bring enthusiasm, creativity, and energy with you.

And at the end of the day, take the time to thank each cast and crew member for their work. The more appreciated people feel, the harder they will work in return.

5. Crowdfund Wisely

So, you know the ins and outs of directing a film. But how do you fund one?

Crowdfunding is a modern-day phenomenon brought to us by the miracle of the internet. Simply put, it’s when you ask friends, family, and strangers to help fund your project for rewards and prizes in return.

Does it work? Yes! As long as you don’t overuse it.

Think about it. If a member of your family made a passionate plea for financial assistance to make their dream a reality, you would help, right?

Of course, you would! But if they continued to ask you for money for various projects over and over again… you might get a little tired of reaching into your wallet.

In short, don’t take advantage of people’s kindness and generosity here. If you need help funding your first ever project, by all means, crowdfund away. Just know that it should be the last time.

And when you do use crowdfunding for financial help, make sure the rewards you offer are well thought-out and generous. An invitation to the premiere, a producer credit, or involvement in a creative decision for the film are great examples. Make higher donations tempting by providing awesome prizes in return!

You Can Do This

Directing a movie is a little bit like parenthood. You can read tons of manuals and get all the advice in the world, but you’ll never know exactly what you’re in for until you dive in!

So stop making excuses for why you’re not ready, and trust that you have an important message to share. And as long as you follow the five tips above, you’ll be great.

Just remember to surround yourself with a team of collaborators and to focus on fostering a sense of positivity and appreciation on set every day. Always start with a storyboard, trust your actors, and try to keep crowdfunding to a minimum. And don’t forget to have fun, too!

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to contact us anytime. We’re here to help.