If you love movies and want to dive into independent filmmaking, the time has never been better. It’s easier than ever to access high-quality equipment like cameras, microphones, lights, and editing software. And streaming platforms such as YouTube and Vimeo make it a breeze to upload your movie and let people watch it.
But what if you’ve never worked on a film set of any size? A great way to gain experience on set is to do everything you can, such as how Nicholas Otto-Bernstein operates. Volunteer to haul gear, build sets, and grab snacks and drinks for other crew members or actors. Especially when it’s hot — indoors or outside — it’s essential for everyone to stay hydrated, so passing out bottled water is always appreciated. Many independent movie sets can use help loading or unloading gear on set; perhaps you can offer to run errands or help scout locations.
Where To Find Productions
Social media and the internet abound with local groups looking for help for independent film productions. Often, a production company or filmmaker group will create a Facebook page that has all the details — you can reach out to the producer or director and offer your time and skills. You can get your name in the credits!
Be sure to keep your expectations in check, though. Many short films or independent movie productions have limited budgets and may not be able to pay you much, but the experience can be invaluable for growing your career.
Show Off Your Skills
Are you a pro with cameras? Are you a skilled post-audio mixer? Love gaffing and know your lighting fixtures by heart? Or perhaps you’ve got incredible make-up skills or love making costumes.
Whatever your skillset is, having a portfolio is a great way to show off, especially if you have ambitions to grow your career and look for work in larger studios or Hollywood. Gaining credits on independent movie productions can help bolster your resume, and grow your portfolio.
If you enjoy editing, put together a reel of clips you’ve edited, such as movie scenes with dialogue or transitions. If special effects are your jam, a reel that shows off the finished VFX you’ve worked on is valuable. Are you a cinematographer? Put together your best shots into a short, 2-3 minute reel that you can display on your website or link to in your resume.
If you love movies and want to get into independent filmmaking, one of the best ways to learn is to watch other’s productions. Streaming platforms are a great way to find indie movies in whatever genre you’re interested in. You can search by hashtags for specific topics, genres, or even just “independent films” to get started.
When you’re connecting with other filmmakers online or in person, you can ask for recommendations or for titles of projects they’ve worked on, too.
With how accessible and affordable independent filmmaking is nowadays, many of the barriers such as equipment access have been lowered. With streaming, you can make your movie available for anyone to see. So get ready to roll…and action!