Getting Started Making Videos Professionally
Many of my readers here at Video Production Tips tell me they have ambitions to become an independent video maker and enter their works in film festivals.
Great plan. Not only are you guaranteed tons of fun but you have the opportunity to nourish your artistic and emotional passions while leaving an enduring mark of influence upon the world.
Don’t expect to get rich though. And DO expect to work very hard.
DRIVEN BY PASSION
Not that you can’t make good money if you become successful with independent film making, it’s just that wealth is fairly rare for this genre and survival often means you must be driven by passion, not the desire for elusive riches.
Competition is fierce and resources are scarce. But the rewards are more than fantastic. The creative possibilities of independent film making entice the creative spirit and motivate the lover of satire, irony, truth, and nuance. To me, creating video and engaging in visual storytelling is a passion that often overflows into obsession.
There is no other endeavor as all encompassing and complete as high-quality video making. It combines all aspects of visual storytelling, from developing characters to eliciting a particular emotional response through music or lighting. Taken as a whole, the process of making a high quality original independent film involves so many different tasks as to be a unique and positively invigorating experience.
To perfect your skills and grow as a competent film maker, first study some of the basics, and then just get out there and DO IT! Don’t get bogged down in rules. Experiment. Don’t expect perfection off the bat. Expect to make mistakes and learn from them. Video and film production at this level can be complex and intricate. Becoming a master doesn’t happen over night. It requires the ability to manage multiple processes and tasks. Each needs to be learned independently before it can be applied collectively.
STUDY OTHER FILMS AND VIDEOS
In addition to learning video production out in the field, learn by evaluating the work of others. Give yourself permission to watch as many videos as you can. STUDY them, don’t just mindlessly watch. What style did they use to tell their story? What elements did they combine and how did they create those elements? Evaluate everything you watch and analyze it completely. Watch multiple times if it is good. What did they do that worked? What didn’t work? Why was it good or bad? How could it have been different? You could always enjoy an online film school like Friends in Flim to give you some alternative perspectives on how to create videos. Many have already learned a lot and made some amazing industry connections through similar courses.
My mind races a million miles an hour when I am watching a TV show, always thinking about how they put it together and why they might have done it that way. Of course I am just lying there like a spud on a sofa, but my creative juices are flowing. Yawn. Pass the chips.
The best way to learn how to make videos is to become a critical and passionate observer of other videos. You can learn a lot in a small amount of time this way. Watch and decide what you want to emulate and what you want to avoid. Evaluating the work of others takes ego out of it. It is very hard for most novice filmmakers to hear a critique of their work. Usually they are so passionate and in love with their own video that any criticism seems stingingly personal. It’s not.
To truly grow as an artist and filmmaker, you have to be able to evaluate your own work with the cool objectivity that you view the work of others. Ego can really get in the way of all that. So if possible, detach your emotions from your video making and learn objective principles by which to judge quality and effectiveness. That ability is best honed evaluating films you had nothing to do with.
IS THIS A CAREER PATH FOR YOU?
By virtue of my career in TV and video, I have had the opportunity to meet an unbelievable variety of people and become privy to their deepest emotions and experiences. When you travel the world carrying a video camera and microphone everywhere you go, it becomes a ticket into the lives of those willing to share. An amazing number of people will do so if you only bother to ask.
I always considered my job as a video producer a privilege, not just a job. Speaking from the warmth of that experience, if you chose the path of the documentary maker or indy film producer, congratulations. Now, hang on tight.
There’s no other job like it and that’s a promise!
Thanks for reading VPT