If you’re a creative genius, this one’s for you. Making professional documentaries or Indie documentaries can be a challenge as an independent filmmaker. You want to create quality content and ensure that it makes it in front of people. But how do you pull it all together? A great place to start putting your skills to use and getting discovered is YouTube.
There are plenty of tips and tricks to becoming a successful independent filmmaker on YouTube. In this guide, we share some simple steps to help you get organized and start creating your masterpiece for YouTube.
Plan Your Script First
The first thing you need to do is plan your script. This is going to be the most important element of planning your film. While you don’t necessarily have to get every detail figured out, you need a basic plan of how things will go. Creating a script means organizing the details of the film into sequence and outlining what you want to put into the film.
This step is all about planning and preparing before you start filming and piecing things together. The script brings your focus to writing a story and makes it your own. In the case of any type of documentary, you’re going to likely have some filming paired with CGI and other technology, as well as some interview sequences where you bring in people involved to speak and share.
Fill in the Blanks
As you’re working on piecing together your film, you’re likely going to include a variety of graphics, film, visual effects, and more. You need to be able to piece all of this together in a way that flows and makes sense. Adobe After Effects is a great tool for this. The After Effects templates offer a wide variety of pre-made videos and graphics that you can then customize to fit your film.
This is a great way to integrate snippets or transitions from scene to scene even. You can choose the After Effect template that works or even use multiple ones. These are often best used to fill in the blank spots or transition to different parts of your film. You might even use them for opening and closing credits.
Know Your Budget
Every film has a budget, and as an independent filmmaker, you need to keep a close eye on your budget. Know what your budget is beforehand and try to break it down so you know exactly what you can spend where.
The truth is you likely can’t afford a lot of surprises or extra costs, so you need to know where to try to pinch pennies and where to spend a little bit more. As you’re creating a budget, be sure to keep these things in mind.
- Effects or graphics
- Software requirements
- Crew members
- Cast members
- Needed equipment
- Location planning
- Required permits
- Staff hours
- Post-production needs
You may choose not to have any other actors in your film, but you probably will still need some crew to help with a few of the details. Choose wisely and pick support members that have some experience with filmmaking, as they can likely help you make the most of your investment.
Have Backup Plans
What if you have plans to film an outside shot, and suddenly, you have severe weather after days of no rain? Or maybe you had a great location that is perfect for one of your scenes, but the day you go there, it’s too busy. Little things like these can have a big impact on your schedule. Before you go anywhere for filming, be sure to create a backup plan. You can’t afford for things to go wrong, so make plans to prevent a lost day on the job.
You will undoubtedly run into challenges. Do your best to prepare yourself for possible challenges and know how you can react to still make the most of unexpected situations. This will help you tremendously.
Don’t Rush It
Finally, if your intention is for this film to be known and found on YouTube, you’ve got to make it great. You are on a budget, which means you are also likely on a strict timeline. However, you need to give yourself some grace with that timeline. When you rush through it, you run the risk of degrading the quality of your work. Don’t take that chance.
You want the film to be great so that it is successful. This comes from taking your time to get it right. Don’t rush the process, and be sure to promote the film even before it’s ready. This will help gather interest for the day you release it!