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*** Last update: October 2015 ***
Anyone can make a movie with modern technology, but most people get stuck in the process because it can be very complicated and overwhelming. There is a lot of work to creating a high-quality short movie and lack of knowledge about the process can make that work insurmountable. This course aims to overcome that challenge by providing mentorship and a clear 10-Step process to get you from beginning (desire) to end (finished movie).
Produce Your First Movie With Ease Using Fun Yet Methodical Step-by-Step Process
Self-Empowerment in the Entertainment Industry Starts with Making Your Own Movies
This course puts YOU in control of what type of productions you give your time and energy. This course is geared toward anyone who has ever wanted to make a movie, and is especially important to those that want to work in the entertainment industry and need reel to do so (ESPECIALLY ACTORS).
Writers, Director, Cinematographers and Actors all need to show their abilities through a reel in order to get jobs, but often they need to get jobs before they can create a reel.
IT'S A CATCH 22!
This course will not only teach you to produce movies, it will give you the opportunity to pick the material that will be perfect for your reel, open you to the world of film festivals (fun, supportive and great for networking), give you a prestigious PRODUCER title, get IMDB credit and make you better at your current craft by understanding a producer's point of view, typically the person that does the hiring on productions.
How long have you been waiting for your movie career to happen? Now is time to make it happen!
All future updates to this course are free - you are "locked-in" at the current low price of $49 - but you will never pay more if you enroll today at the introductory low price.
And there's a 30 day absolutely no questions asked full money back guarantee - my personal promise of your happiness and satisfaction! You really cannot lose!
Not for you? No problem.
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Certificate of completion
|Section 1: The First Steps Toward Your Short Film|
This video discusses the value of being a producer to non-producers, including actors, directors and writers. In this course you will learn how to make a movie and by doing so, you will gain a number of benefits, including an IMDB credit, film festival access and credit, a producer credit next to your name, footage for your reel, a greater understanding of what it takes to put together all of the elements of a movie production, footage to show to agents and managers, and the opportunity to network with a lot of people in the entertainment industry that you might not have access to as an actor or non-producer. Plus, producing movies is fun. So why not take this short film making course and learn how to make your own movie, for fun or to bump your movie career to the next level?
When you take an online filmmaking course like this one, it is easy to get overwhelmed by the details. Rather than get stuck in the process of filmmaking, I recommend that you watch the entire course once to get an understanding of the filmmaking process, and then start again with the first lecture and work your way through my ten step filmmaking process as you take action on the steps.
Also, do your best to do the steps in order. Often you will find something you need for your film well before or after you are consciously working on that step, so try not to be too rigid. The steps are there to help you break down the work into manageable pieces as well as to give you a framework that reminds you of all the aspects of filmmaking that you need.
In the midst of producing, it can be easy to miss an element because you are sometimes juggling 50 little details about the movie. The steps are there to make sure you don’t miss anything in the midst of your ‘juggling’.
|Lecture 3||3 pages|
In this lesson, we compare the cost of producing a short film to the cost of running an acting business, including all of the unseen costs that goes into an acting career like reproducing headshots and postcards, taking acting classes, membership fees, workshops and paid meet and greets, transportation to acting auditions, and personal upkeep.
On a personal level, I found that I was spending a heap of money on my acting business that was resulting in mixed results. Sometimes the rolls I got were wonderful - large rolls that were exactly what I wanted and great footage for my reel afterward with a responsible producer that made sure I received a copy of the movie.
However, most of the time I was spending MORE on my acting career than on making short films and not getting much benefit from it.
And I have found that there isn’t much competition as an actor/producer. Sure, other actors have figured this out, but it’s not like acting schools and acting colleges advise actors to be proactive in their careers and learn to produce. I was given three semesters of Shakespeare acting training in acting school, and no training whatsoever in producing movies, videos or theater.
So save money, minimize the competition, have more fun and have more control over your career by being an actor who learns how to also be a film producer.
The main idea of this video is to talk about a contingency fund in relation to movie producing, how much should be allocated for this contingency fund and how it has come to be used.
You will be thankful when you are in the middle of shooting your movie and realize you need to buy or rent of piece of equipment at the last minute and have the money to do so because you have set that up in your budget beforehand.
This one aspect of filmmaking has the potential to completely shut down your movie making efforts and I will show you how to leap this hurdle that trips up so many potentially successful producers.
I mentioned a contingency fund earlier and now we are going to talk about that in terms of time and planning your movie (pre-production).
If it takes 1/3 more time to build a business than what is usually expected, then that 1/3 extra time should be planned for, regardless of whether you know what that time will be used for.
What this means in terms of movie producing is planning a deadline a day or two before an aspect of your movie is absolutely needed.
Need the final draft of the script for the actor auditions on Friday? Then make the deadline for the final draft on Wednesday or Thursday, so that any hold-ups will not mess up the next step in the process.
Also, deciding how much time to allocate for pre-production can be confusing if you have never produced a movie before.
A good rule-of-thumb is to have a month of pre-production for a one to two day shoot. This will keep you moving through the movie-making steps fast enough so that you feel urgency, don’t get distracted with unimportant aspects from other areas of your life and don’t get stuck in any fear that might come up.
At the same time, one month of pre-production for your short movie allows you to schedule vital life activities (like driving your kids to school and feeding the dog) while the rest of your free time is devoted to planning your movie, rather than watching television or going to the mall for a sale, which are activities that you can resume after your movie is finished.
If you cannot be self-motivated to stay focused on your movie and finish it, an external deadline can often be very helpful. Try to find an event or deadline to aim for that requires that your movie be complete.
Perhaps you could read up on film festivals (see Without A Box for film festival descriptions) and choose one that looks awesome to you and that would be perfect for screening your movie.
Look for the application deadline for that film festival (which is also on Without a Box). That date will be your ultimate deadline, but then give yourself a week or two before that film festival deadline to actually have the movie finished because you don’t want to have to rush through editing, while thinking about the best route to take to the post office in order to get there before they close.
Going full circle, giving yourself a couple of weeks before your dream film festival deadline also gives you that 1/3 extra time you need that I mentioned earlier, in case anything slows you down on the way to preparing your DVD for the festival.
There are a few important aspects of filmmaking that are important to note about this online filmmaking course.
First of all, I have not gotten into the details and procedures of making a SAG-AFTRA movie. The instructions for doing so are on the SAG-AFTRA website and they do a great job of explaining it and it’s free, so there is no need for me to cover it again.
Second, this course assumes you already have your money for your short movie. There are a number of ways to raise money for a movie, from crowdfunding to self-funding and everything in between. I have always self funded my movies, except in one instance, or have produced for others that brought the money to the production.
Finally, it must be emphasized that nothing in this course is legal advice. Here is the official ‘legalese’ regarding that matter:
This document was created using a Contractology template available at http://www.freenetlaw.com.
This video course contains general information about legal matters. The information is not advice, and should not be treated as such.
Limitation of warranties
The legal information in this course is provided “as is” without any representations or warranties, express or implied. Leslie Lello makes no representations or warranties in relation to the legal information on this website.
Without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing paragraph, Leslie Lello does not warrant that:
You must not rely on the information on this website as an alternative to legal advice from your attorney or other professional legal services provider.
If you have any specific questions about any legal matter you should consult your attorney or other professional legal services provider.
You should never delay seeking legal advice, disregard legal advice, or commence or discontinue any legal action because of information on this website.
Nothing in this legal disclaimer will limit any of our liabilities in any way that is not permitted under applicable law, or exclude any of our liabilities that may not be excluded under applicable law.
|Section 2: Step 1: Mindset|
This lecture is an overview of what we will be discussing in the section on Mindset, which is Step 1 of this producing course.
Future lectures will talk about what your intentions are for this course and for your future movie. Why do you want to make a movie? Just having this awareness will help you make decisions during the filmmaking process.
This section discusses how to “get it all done”. In other words, if you have given yourself a month to finish pre-production, there will most likely be aspects of your life that will pull you off course until you realize you have taken you focus away from your movie. This section talks about techniques to get over these hurdles of distraction, fear, perceived time shortage, etc, to help you stay focused and action oriented.
This section also covers what it means to be a producer, what a producer does and the difference and interplay of leadership and power. It is important to recognize this distinction because the aspects of leadership and power on a film production work together but are not the same.
If you do not know what a movie producer is or does, you are not alone.
Many actors arrive in Los Angeles and New York and do not know what a producer does.
In this lecture we talk about the similarities of planning a movie to planning a party in order to clarify the roll of the producer in movie-making.
By using more mundane and familiar terms (like those related to a party) you get an overview of the producing process and understand that you have probably done something very similar already in your own life, even if your efforts didn’t directly relate to film or making movies.
How to make a movie? You would think that it starts with cameras, lights, scheduling, actors, a script, etc.
But before you get into any of that, you should know why you are making this movie.
You could just be making a movie because filmmaking is fun and interesting.
If that is so, then that is your intention, and that is a fine one to have!
However, perhaps in addition to that you are seeking something more.
Are you already an entertainment industry professional or on your way to becoming one? Do you want to build your reel? Show off your acting skills? Go to festivals? Network with other professionals?
By setting intentions before doing anything else you get clear on the “whys”. By getting clear on “whys”, they will inform the “hows”.
If you are just wanting to get together with a few friends to put something together for you tube, the decisions you make along the way are going to be different than if you were an actress interested in producing to make a reel.
So before you go anywhere or do anything, write down the reason(s) you are making a movie. This will make decision making easier as you go through the process.
Oh, and if you have never made a movie before, then consider that your first couple movies are more about getting the process down. Yes, you want it to look awesome for your reel and for your audience, but you also want to get it done.
Here is a lesson from Julia Cameron’s The Artist Way: take care of the quantity right now, not the quality. The quality will take care of itself, especially as you get better at the filmmaking process. Right now, just get your movie done.
In a previous lecture we spoke about focusing on the quantity rather than the quality.
That is because when it comes to filmmaking or art in general, fretting about the quality is what stops a lot of people from moving toward their dream.
What happens then is that people talk a lot about a project, but take very little action on that project.
I want you to take action.
There are going to be hurdles to jump over in the process of making your movie. In this video I share an arsenal of tricks that I use to overcome the challenges I sometimes experience during the filmmaking process.
Some of these ideas may sound silly, but you are about to embark on a new experience involving the creativity of a lot of people (including yourself) and investing money into that experience.
You need to be able to keep going even when you don’t feel like it.
These tricks are meant to shift where you are mentally so that you get back on track.
Oh, and don’t forget to reread your intentions during the entire filmmaking process, especially when you are frustrated.
They will inspire you to continue on and remind you why you chose to make this movie in the first place.
This video discusses the element of power in relation to being a producer on set.
With leadership comes responsibility, and if a choice should come up that is challenging, there are three parameters for basing your decision: wellness of cast and crew, financial wellness of the production, and ultimately, the wellbeing of the production and the movie itself.
This video contains a few final tips on how to have the right mindset so that you have a solid foundation to launch yourself into the position of movie producer.
This lecture briefly summarizes the key concepts in this section as well as highlights the filmmaking to do list at the end of the section.
|Section 3: Step 2: Picking A Date to Shoot Your Project|
There are several elements to consider when deciding when you are going to shoot your movie. You usually can’t just do it tomorrow because you need to plan everything and get all of the elements together before any shooting begins.
In this lecture we will talk about specific scheduling issues to be aware of when scheduling your movie. A strong emphasis will be placed on picking a date that allows you to balance a sense of urgency with keeping a relaxed and even pace that allows you do pull everything together in a relaxed and happy fashion.
This is your checklist for the section on scheduling the actual shoot dates of your production.
|Section 4: Step 3: Your Movie Script|
This overview video introduces the concept of being strategic when selecting your script, and outlines some ways we will be selecting the best script for you, considering aspects such as who will write the script, the production budget of the script, sources of good script material, ways of securing stories for your script and a detailed pattern of discussing rewrites with your screenwriter (or to get feedback if you are the writer).
This video discusses strategies to keep your movie script inexpensive to shoot. Details like special effects, stunts, cast size, the best genres to choose and other important details.
When you have finished a few rewrites of your script, assuming you are choosing to be the screenwriter, it is definitely a good idea to get feedback.
This video contains ideas on how to get the best feedback from people, who to ask for feedback, how to ask specific questions that lead to useful and constructive criticism and how to choose what input to use and what advice to ignore.
Would you prefer having someone else write your movie script?
There are many alternatives to writing your own script.
In this video, I help you brainstorm some of the sources for scripts that involve someone other than you being the screenwriter.
If you are still stuck on figuring out what your movie should be about, this video explores more sources of story ideas.
Stories are all around you if you listen carefully. If you keep your mind focused on thinking, "What would be a good script for my short film?" you will soon start to see source material everywhere.
Be sure to watch the video on Optioning/Buying Your Movie Script, which should not be taken as legal advice, but is definitely a good thing to think about when seeking your screenplay.
This video should not be taken as legal advice, but optioning is definitely a good thing to think about when seeking a screenplay for your movie.
This prevents two producers from working on the same script, which is helpful. Imagine doing a year's worth of work on a feature film and then finding out a movie with the same story is being released just as you are going into production?
Here is the Wikipedia definition of Option (filmmaking):
In the film industry, an option is a contractual agreement between a potential film producer such as a movie studio, a production company or an individual, and a writer or third party who holds ownership of a screenplay. The agreement details the exclusive rights including the specified time period and financial obligations. The producer has to advance the essential elements, such as financing and/or talent, towards the creation of a film based on thescreenplay.
Similarly, producers can also option books, articles, video games, songs or any other conceivable works of intellectual property. A separate deal would be made with a screenwriter to write the screenplay. This is not an option.
Financially, the contract qualifies as an option and may be assessed using real options analysis.
The term is often used as a verb in Hollywood. For example, "Paramount optioned the short story by Philip K. Dick."
Are you ready to pull out your calendar? It's time to get a solid schedule for writing (or having someone else write) your script.
This video concludes this section on finalizing your screenplay for your short movie.
Additional details about rewrites, revisions, script feedback and deadlines are contained in this video which will help you move through this step, lock down a quality final draft and move on to the next steps in producing your movie.
This section reiterates the conclusion video for the section on creating your script, with step-by-step instructions to walk you through creating a writing schedule, getting the script complete and polished and ready for your next step in the movie producing process.
|Section 5: Step 4: Casting Your Project|
Are you ready to cast your script?
You might already have the actors you need, or you may need to seek them out through a casting call.
In this video we talk about the upside and downside of casting friends. We talk about human nature and how that can effect the reliability of friends you choose to cast.
This section of the course will discuss the process of the casting session and audition process.
There is a nuance to seeking actors for your movie.
This video talks about elements that should be considered when you start to ponder how you want to set up your casting session including number of rolls, unique special abilities that may be hard to find, how long to give each actor, whether or not to take breaks, etc...
Also, details you need about the production before you post anything about the rolls or production.
There are several websites that will help you cast your movie.
It is especially easy if you are in a major city, but if you are not, it can seem challenging to find actors.
There are additional strategies in this video for you to use if you are in a rural area that will make finding the actors you need much easier.
This video also highlights details of your production you need to have ready when you are filling out casting information on the various casting websites.
Let's get specific on what you need to bring to the casting session. You may want to add to this list, but this is a good place to start and there may be several items on the list you have not considered.
Also, a reminder on slating your actors and organizing the casting procedure so that you can review actors after the casting session is complete.
You have now held your casting session and it is time to pick your cast from all of the actors you saw during the casting session.
Sometimes choosing your actors is based on gut instinct, which works really well for me.
But if I am not sure about which actor to cast, I have a step-by-step process upon which I base my choice for actors for my movies that has worked successfully for me most of the time.
I share my process in this lecture.
This lecture is for actors who want to get better at auditioning.
Being on the casting director's side of the table during an audition can be an eye opening experience.
This lecture explains that observation thoroughly, by using an example of a project I directed where the actor did everything wrong but still got the roll because he had unique characteristics to his audition process that caught the eye of the producer (not me), which overrode the choice of the director (me).
He was a mess on set but he got the job. From an actor's point of view, there was a great amount of learning in the process of casting a movie.
You can learn the right things to do in an audition by being part of the process from the casting director's point of view, and then incorporate that point of view into your own acting auditions.
This lecture explains the importance of reading opposite your lead actor IF YOU ARE ACTING IN YOUR MOVIE.
If you are not acting as a lead in your movie, you can skip this lecture and continue to have your casting assistant read with the actors (if you have a casting assistant, which I explain in the section on The Casting Session).
If you are playing a main roll in your movie, you should do an on camera read with the auditioners who will be playing opposite you.
This lecture explains why and how.
This lecture outlines the to-do steps for the section on Casting Your Movie, as presented in an upcoming lecture, which is the to-do list in written form.
This lecture outlines the to-do steps for the section on Casting Your Movie, as presented in a previous video lecture.
This is the to-do list in written form.
|Section 6: Step 5: Finding a Location to Shoot Your Movie|
Introduction to Finding Locations (Step 5)
Knowing what issues could completely mess up your shoot will put you ahead of the game and ensure a smooth shooting day. In this video get some tips on what to look for and check in a location that you would not think to check.
Leveraging What You've Got
Cost of Locations - Creative Solutions
Concluding Thoughts About Getting All Of Your Movie Locations
Location Lockdown - The Key to Making Sure That Location Is Yours!
Action Steps for FInding Locations for Your Movie
|Section 7: Step 6: Your Film Production Crew|
Introduction: What You Need to Know About Finding Your Crew (Step 6)
Director of Photography (AKA Cinematographer or "D.P.") and Camera Department
Assistant Director (AKA "A.D.")
Production Assistant (AKA "P.A.")
Film Editor / Video Editor
Finding Your Film Crew - Build a Great Team with These Strategies
Concluding Thoughts Regarding Your Film Crew
Action Steps for for Finding and Organizing Your Crew
|Section 8: Step 7: Equipment|
Understanding Equipment as an Actor / Producer
Camera, Accessories and LIghts
Why is a Clapboard is a Very Necessary Tool for EVERY Production?
Concluding Thoughts for Locking In Equipment
Action Steps for Getting The Equipment You Need for Your Movie
|Section 9: Step 8: One Week Before the Shoot|
Introduction to Your Last Week of Pre-Production (Step 8)
A great CRAFT SEVICE table is an excellent way to build good rapport!
Three Square Meals
Wardrobe and Props
Numbering Shots and Scenes
Two Days Before the Shoot
The Logistics Email - VERY IMPORTANT - Confirming the Details with Cast and CrewPreview
Food Preferences & Allergies/Safety on Set - The Secret to Great Work Conditions
One Day Before The Shoot
To-Do List for the Final Week of Pre-Production
|Section 10: Step 9: Principal Photography and the Day of the Shoot|
Introduction: "On The Day" - Principal Photography and The Day of Your Shoot
Juggling Producing & Acting On Set - They Fit Together if You Did Your Homework
Morning Tasks Before People Arrive
Shooting The Movie - What to Do When Cast and Crew Arrive and Start to Work
Clean-up and Striking the Set
Principal Photography: The Second Day and So on...
Principal Photography: Concluding Thoughts to Get You Through The Process
|Section 11: Step 10: Post-Production|
Post-Production Introduction: The Diverse Activities After Your Movie Is Shot
Editing Your Movie
Promoting Your Movie on the Web and Elsewhere - How to Leverage What You Made
Distributing The Finished Project to Cast and Crew
To-Do List for Post Production
|Section 12: Conclusion|
The Conclusion Of This Course - An Overview (Congratulations for making it!)
Where to go from here?
You Help Yourself and You Help Others: The Altruistic Aspects of Movie Producing
So Now You Want To Be A Producer - Here are Some Ways to Continue on the Path
Staying Focused on an Acting Career - Using Producing as a Tool
Concluding the Conclusion: Check out the Extras an Bonus Materials Below!
|Section 13: BONUS MATERIAL|
My Craft Service List
Logistics Email Template
How to Deal with Petty Cash On Set so That it Doesn't Get Lost
Sample Movie Budget Explained - A Review of a $1000 movie costs and oversights
Leslie Lello is a New York native and an award-winning Producer/Director.
She has been bi-coastal and working in various capacities in the film, media and the entertainment industry for over 15 years.
She started her career as an actress, but quickly found herself behind the camera as a Chandra Wilson’s (ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy) personal assistant.
Since then, Leslie has directed and produced a number of movies, several of which have appeared at film festivals across the country.
Most recently, she has been freelancing as a photojournalist and videographer, and produced and directed the documentary "New Jersey 350" which has screened at several festivals and won several awards.
Hours of video content