Films are an essential part of our lives. We use films to express ourselves and tell our stories. But what few will tell you is that you will make a lot of mistakes. Filmmaking mistakes are common, learning and growing from them is the way forward!
There are many seen and unseen challenges that filmmakers go through, and you will soon find out as an inspiring filmmaker. Of course, some can be avoided while others, well, you just have to mitigate them.
Today we are going to delve into common mistakes you’ll make as a beginner filmmaker and how you can fix them. Fear not, filmmaking mistakes are there to be made, and it helps you to learn as a filmmaker.
I’ve made plenty, but I’ve learned a hell of a lot from these filmmaking mistakes. As long as you look to correct your mistakes, it’s all part of the process and allows you to grow as a filmmaker.
8 mistakes you will make as a beginner filmmaker
Before a film hits the screens, there will be many twists and turns which will test you as a filmmaker to your limits. Here are some of the most common filmmaking mistakes and how you can avoid them.
Poor lighting setup
Lighting is a fundamental part of film production. It tells a story, adds to the atmosphere, and most importantly brings out the depth in your story. However, this is one of the most common filmmaking mistakes, poor lighting setups.
Usually, some producers will use under light or over light a scene to lose its significance. It is essential to keep in mind that lighting is also a part of the setup and is vital in telling the story.
Thus, by not correctly aligning the light, you will most probably not bring out the intended attention to the story. Additionally, poor lighting will also separate the pros from the newbies in the industry. Have a look at different articles on lighting, and practise the setups.
You may have a very captivating story but miss out on the most crucial part, and that is showing it to your audience.
What to do about it
Well, when it comes to light, you need to get it right with the videographer and production crew. We understand that you might be trying to save, but hiring a professional videographer is critical to your film.
Take the photographers and videographers through the scene while underlying the importance of each.
The more they understand, the better they will be with the light setup.
Remember, light needs to be right!
Believe it or not, people show up on the scene without properly charged batteries. That’s right.
You get all the things ready but forget something so trivial that proves to be costly. You will have to cut the scene in the middle of the scene as batteries have run out of juice.
It shows how amateur-ish you are as a filmmaker and sucks the morale out of the camp.
Additionally, there can be missing equipment on-set, which is as demotivating as dry batteries. On paper, this sounds careless and lacks planning, but it is pretty common.
What to do about it
The best way to deal with missing equipment and uncharged batteries is to develop a plan. Put one specific crew or the entire department in charge of their equipment.
List every piece of equipment needed and go through it as you are packing to go on-site.
Usually, with the batteries, the charge becomes an issue after several days of shooting. Thus, put someone in order and let the batteries be charged after every shoot.
It would also be nice to have extra batteries.
When the rubber finally hits the road, and you have everything ready, you can be taken back by one simple thing, not having enough footage.
You see, when shooting, you need to have a plan that will cover every second of the film. Some filmmakers tend to only focus on the significant scenes only.
Hence in the end, when you are busy editing, you will find that you don’t have enough cuts. It is never a fun thing and shows how unprepared you are as a filmmaker. It’s better to have more footages than you need to have a few, and you have to recall the cast.
What to do about it
You need to work out every scene of the film carefully.
Know how much you need and how to collect all of it. Additionally, you can also go collecting more footage than required. This way, even if most of it goes wrong, you will have enough backing.
Go through the shoots each day and work with the directors and producers to ensure that the scene is well covered. This way, if you feel you are not satisfied with the film, you can correct that before it’s too late.
We understand that you are pressed on a budget, and you need to keep the costs low. But that is not an excuse to go for the substandard cast.
Most filmmakers assume that by having a cast that consists of family and friends, they are saving money. While on paper, this appears logical, it is also one of the most costly, filmmaking mistakes you may make, that will leave you wishing you had done more.
You learn this when the film hits theatres and online platforms, and the feedback is brutal.
There are no hiding places with a lousy cast, as even amateurs can tell a bad cast from a distance. In the end, your film will not pass its intended message and will not make as much.
What to do about it
With casting, there are no two ways about it. You either get it right or get it right. The cast is the heart and soul of your film.
As a beginner, you cannot afford the elite cast, and that’s understandable. But you cannot simply go for the absolute beginners who have no idea what being a cast is all about.
So, where is the compromise?
You should at least mix your cast among experienced and newbies. This way, you have people who have an idea about acting.
No Marketing Plan
Marketing is as essential as any other step in film production. Most people assume that it is the last step of filmmaking and thus do not show much effort until the latter stages.
This doesn’t seem right. Marketing plans should be developed as soon as the film production starts. This way, people will have enough time to internalise it.
Shoddy marketing plans are as fatal as no plans as well. If people don’t have an idea of what your film is all about, they will NOT be interested in it at all.
What you should about it
Develop a marketing plan from the on-set of film production. If you have the means, go for professional marketers and have a plan. If not, make one yourself.
Start marketing as early as possible. The more people know about the film, the more it will be anticipated. Take scenes from the footage and use them to create captivating marketing plans.
Arouse the curiosity of views and let them anticipate the release.
Develop a marketing plan as soon as you get the green light to make the film. The target audience will also influence particular aspects of film production, such as the selection of cast.
The marketing should be inclusive of all avenues available.
Dull starts or openings
Did you know that people’s attention span has gone down considerably in the past decade or so? Did you also know that you have very few minutes to grab the attention of views?
If you fully grasp the two points above, you know that the opening scenes need to be fascinating. Otherwise, you will lose the attention of viewers for the rest of the show.
It does not matter how good your story is; people will lose interest fast.
The first 5 minutes are what determines if people will keep on watching or they will keep scrolling. Choose wisely.
What to do about it;
It all starts with screenwriting. That’s what needs to be perfect.
You can have a good opening, but it lacks that cutting edge and attention-grabbing edge. It would help if you looked for ways to make it as captivating as possible.
Ask yourself, if you are the one watching, would you be interested? And remember, it is the little details that matter.
You have recently gotten your first assignment. This means the excitement and joy you are feeling. You have secured the funding, and everything seems to be going great.
What could go wrong? Well, sorry to burst your bubble, but your weak script could ruin your film.
The excitement of getting your film ready can force you to rush through your script. You miss the obvious and not-so-obvious points, and the endpoint just weak.
A weak script is just bad for business. It will not only ruin your current film but also your reputation as a filmmaker.
What to do about it
It does not matter if this is your first film or the 100; you need to develop a good script. Even if you are very excited about it and cannot wait to complete the project, the script needs to be top-notch.
Tune down the excitement and carefully work on the script. Work as if your reputation depends on it because it indeed does.
If you are finding it hard to work alone, involve some else. It could be your colleague or mentor; just have another set of eyes looks at your script.
Whatever you do, ensure that your script is solid. After all, people will only spend money on quality things.
Poor quality equipment
Your film is as good as the video camera and equipment used in production. That’s the truth.
Irrespective of how good your script is or how many good cast you have within your rank, but your equipment is what matters.
The quality of the video shoot from Fujifilm X-T4 is better than one shoot from a phone or low DSLR camera.
The quality of the equipment needs to be great from production to post-production. Filmmakers tend to concentrate more on the production equipment and forget all about post-production.
You have to keep in mind that good editing software can make all the difference in a film.
Most beginners tend to look at equipment as one area where it’s easier to cut the budget. But this is an area that can have grave repercussions on your film.
What to do about it
You may not have the funds to go for the absolute best in the market, but that does not mean you go for the lowest of the low. There are very many decent budget cameras and video equipment that can still offer quality services.
Remember to also set funds for the post-production equipment. As this is usually the last part of film production, people tend to compromise and spend post-production money on other areas.
Avoid that filmmaking mistake.
The equipment is as good as the people using it. So, ensure you hire professionals or people with extensive experience in high-level handling equipment.
The final cut
There you go, folks! Remember what we said in the beginning? Filmmaking is an intensive process, and making mistakes is so easy.
Check out those areas and ensure you document every process clearly to minimise the chances of mistakes.
We hope you liked today’s article on “Filmmaking mistakes, 8 mistakes you will make as a beginner filmmaker, and how to RESOLVE them!”. Let us know your thoughts down below in the comments, and scroll a little further to read more exciting filmmaking blogs!