If you’re making short films, sooner or later you’re gonna start brainstorming ways to make your first feature film. This makes sense. As an ambitious filmmaker, it’s normal if you want to continually challenge yourself. At the same time, it’s important to leverage the resources you have right now so you don’t waste time waiting for everything to be perfect.
How To Make Your First Feature Without Going Bonkers
Consider the following tips before making your first feature film:
1. Practice your craft: Spend the next months making short films. (If you don’t have equipment, use your phone!) This exercise will grant you valuable filmmaking experience. This is your time to experiment. Play around with different camera angles, locations and edits. Honing your filmmaking skills through shorts will be valuable when you begin filming your first feature film.
2. Read EVERY screenplay you can: This will teach you pacing and get you well accustomed to the standard three act structure. Scripts can also increase your film knowledge. When reading a script, envision how you would shoot each shot. How would you set up the camera? How would light the scene… How would you create the mood and tone?
3. Write a crappy first draft: When it comes to writing, done is better than none! Allow the script for your first feature film to evolve. Real writing begins with rewriting. And as long as you set a deadline for yourself, it’s okay to refine and rewrite your feature film script until you get it right. Then when you hit your deadline, stop writing and start planning your film.
4. Relationships accelerate your career: Go out of your way to create relationships with rich and successful people. You never know. The first millionaire I met was a local car dealer. My buddy Tom Malloy met his first film investor at a poker table. Expanding your network never hurts. But you must be willing to put yourself out there.
5. Stay away from negative people: You become the people you spend the most time with. So you need to avoid anyone in your life who sucks your filmmaking energy. This is YOUR passion and YOUR vision! Do not allow anybody to get in the way of your vision or bring you down. Work to spend time with people who support you.
If you follow the above steps for six months, you’ll gain a new sense of confidence and this will put you on the path of producing your first feature film. When it comes to making films, anything is possible. But nothing is possible without action. Go out there and create your first feature film!