A mentor of mine once said, “the best way to learn something in-depth is to teach it.”
We here at Sideline Pictures made our first feature film in 2016. We self-released to independent theaters and online.
The experience of producing our first feature film has taught us a massive amount about the process. Now it’s time to move onto movie number two. This time we’re going bigger and better; to do that I made this guide.
Originally the guide was for my own personal use to make sure I never missed a step learned during the first movie. A lot of these steps were things we didn’t do for our first movie, but maybe we should have.
Our mission is to find a balance between making movies on our own terms and making movies that can support a living as a creator.
Sideline Movie Maker will put a spotlight on every step we go through. Over time, the series will grow into a full guide that can help you make your own movies.
We love independent film and independent movies. If you use any of the advice on this blog, podcast, or videos please let us know! We’d love to hear from you and learn about what you’re working on.
Here is a complete guide to the topics the Sideline Movie Maker Guide will cover:
As an independent filmmaker, I've often found myself on set in a zombified state, running on Mt. Dew fumes, freezing cold, and directing... myself... with a script that I wrote... at a location that I booked... and then rebooked... for free.
Now if you've ever been in this situation, you are certainly familiar with that curious twinge in the back of your exhausted, creative mind (and you also know that "free" means "paying for pizza and gas out of your own pocket to get people to agree to be there"). We ask ourselves,"Why the hell are we doing this?" Yes, we are talking to ourselves, but we are not crazy. It's a valid question. Tonight's freezing, caffeine-induced coma of a shoot probably shaved two years off of your life, and for what? Countless hours of staring at render bars? Fourteen likes on Facebook? There's no Oscar for Most Pieces of Hawaiian Pizza Consumed By A Guy You Whom Just Taught How To Adjust The Light Stand. The answer, we soon realize as we barely stay on our feet, is that we love to do it. And then we're on to the next take.
It is way easier to just tell your friends about a movie idea and then go on with your life than it is to give that idea a life of its own. Last year, my producing partner Craig Inzana, whom I am currently producing our first feature length film Blood On The Leaves with, and I embarked on a 4-month production of a 70 minute web series. It is titled Blue Card - a crime drama in 7 parts about a hitman. You can watch it here. In the end, our series premiered to a packed audience and went on to be picked up for online distribution; but as they say, it's all about the journey.
Here are the top ten things that I learned from the trenches of true independent filmmaking. This will be helpful if you plan to deal with volunteers with limited experience and working with little to no budget at all.