How to Make a Movie, Step 1.

How do you make a movie?

No, seriously, this is not a rhetorical question, I’m asking, “How does one make a movie?”

Up until two months ago, I really had no idea how to even get started.  I’d written screenplays before, but never knew how to get to the next step.  This is why working with Brandon has been key, without him, the story would still be in two places.  Two dimensionally on the pages I wrote, and three dimensionally in the ongoing, running – mocking and teasing – reel in my head.

And, believe me, it’s crowded in there.  Making some room, and quieting some of the voices, really is a relief.  I’m not joking.  Blue Tooth technology was the best invention for writers.  Ever.  Now, I can totally talk to myself in my car and no one thinks I’m mad anymore.  Well, mostly, anyway.  Dialogue?  Yeah, the car is the best place for me to go over dialogue.  Stop lights and stop signs used to be the bane of my dialogue writing existence.  Ever get caught in a full blown conversation with yourself at a stop sign?  With the windows down?  Only to realize there’s a mom, with kids, on the corner next to you?  Yeah, mortifying before Blue Tooth and hands-free phones.  Now, I just put two fingers to my ear as if I’m trying to hear better and give it some gas.

Okay, maybe Blue Tooth is the second best.  Making a movie seems to be working out a little bit better for me.

So, how does someone make a movie?

Well, from what I’ve learned from Brandon so far, this is Step One.

By. Sheer. Force. Of. Will. (Will Who?)

Once you have that, a lot of other things begin to fall into place. It’s always good to start with a script, too, but even with one, a movie doesn’t always get made.  Once you’ve got your script, after all the rewrites and story-boarding, you’re going to need equipment.  Cameras, microphones, and lights are basic stuff.  Oh, and lots, and lots, of cable.  Generators are nice.  A camera jib is helpful.  Crane?  Sure, I’ll take one.  (Have you noticed, our grocery cart getting full?).  There’s a lot more gear too, and thankfully, Brandon knows it all, but you get the point.  Actors, yup, need some of them too.  You’ll wanna have auditions first, and don’t worry, we’ll cover that experience fully later on.  You’ll need permits, locations (and landowner permission), and community and industry contacts too.

Oh, and money.  You’ll need some of that too (ahem, noticed those “Help Build the Wall” buttons, anyone?  Bueller?)  It certainly isn’t Step One, but it does help.  Did I mention we want to hire a Director of Photography, and what they charge a day?  So, yeah, money.

But, even before any of those  other things, you need to want it.  I mean that.  You need to want to see your words, your vision, your characters, world, and your creation made real.  You need to desire to birth these people, beings, and events into life.  And, I’m not being hyperbolic here.  I’m serious, without that desire, you won’t succeed.  We wouldn’t have even gotten this far.  Maybe it’s ego.  Maybe vanity?  It’s certainly not sanity that drives you (I guess I can only speak for me) to take these personal stories and creations and launder them for everyone else to see.  No, certainly not sanity.

And, it’s not easy.  No, it’s not. I have to admit, being a slightly neurotic, introverted person, it’s also kinda frightening. Along with the will, it does take a small bit of courage to throw yourself out there for the world to see and judge.  Oh, come on, I can feel you judging me.  Did I mention neurotic?  Maybe slightly paranoid, too.

So, yes, back to my original topic.  Step One… is will. Without it, films, and art in general, would never come to being.  Or in this case…light.

We’ll talk cameras next, and maybe after that, if you’re lucky, a little action.

–Mark

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About thedragonwall

The Dragon is a independent short film being filmed in Northern Vermont.
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2 Responses to How to Make a Movie, Step 1.

  1. kim says:

    brave on mark! you have it in you i know!
    (and if you need help with your neuroses or paranoia i know a really good therapist! 🙂

  2. Pingback: How to Make a Movie: Step One. « Mark Freeman's Journal

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