How To Make Your First Feature Without Going Bonkers

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.

Your goal as a filmmaker should always be features. You can get stuck in the world of shorts, and, while you’ll still get experience and gain more abilities, you’ll never get to the next level in your career if there’s not a jump to a feature film.

But you don’t want to go crazy! So here are some tips.

first feature

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 2 or more 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? But here’s another tip… read some of the best scripts FIRST. You must know what works before you know what doesn’t work. Check out IMSdb.com for screenplays to the best movies.

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. Here’s a tip on “first drafts.”

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 at a charity event. My buddy Jason Brubaker met his first millionaire at a local car dealership. 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!

Here’s another tip to throw out there… hire the RIGHT crew people! I made a video that gives you some info:

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Tom Malloy is a film producer, actor, and writer. Over the course of his career, he has raised over twenty-five million dollars to produce, and distribute multiple feature films. If you're ready to "level up" your film producing, make sure to check out Movie Plan Pro. The video training and downloadable film business plan template will provide you with the same tools Malloy uses when approaching prospective film investors.