Student filmmakers that want to work in the film industry need two things.
They need people to like working with them, because most of the time it is about who you know and whether or not they enjoy being around you. Is that enough to stay working in the industry? Maybe, but not if you want to be a part of the creative process and have an above-the-line position.
Students need to hone in on their craft. Filmmakers like to surround themselves with people they like and feel comfortable working with, but they also must be able to trust their crew to get the job done well. That means students not only need to learn the language of filmmaking, but actually perform what they spend so much time studying. Study, but then get out there and start shooting, writing, producing, directing, editing etc.
Do people enjoy being around you? Do you work hard? Can you actually do the work? Do you know your craft? Make sure the answer is yes to all of these questions.
Here are 20 websites (In no specific order) that will help you learn the language of filmmakers, get you future work, and put you on the path to making your films the best that they can be.
1. nofilmschool.com - “No Film School is a resource for all things filmmaking. We post the latest tutorials, interviews, short films, and gear news to help all of us become better filmmakers — “no film school” required.”
2. philipbloom.net - “Philip Bloom is a world-renowned filmmaker who, for the past 7 years of his 24-year career has specialised in creating incredible film-like images with low budget video. His most iconic work is created with Canon DSLRs. As one of the biggest evangelists for their use in productions his website became the place to go to for budding filmmakers as well as experienced ones keen to embrace the new technology. His site now regularly has over 1,000,000 visitors a month.”
3. indiewire.com - “The leading news, information, and networking site for independent-minded filmmakers, the industry and moviegoers alike…”
4. johnaugust.com - “This site belongs to John August. I wrote everything here, unless it’s specifically credited to someone else.The site has been around since 2003, and now has more than 1,500 posts. (If you’re curious, you can see snapshots of what it’s looked like over the years.) I’m mostly known as a screenwriter. My credits include Go, Big Fish,Charlie’s Angels, Titan A.E., Charlie and Chocolate Factory, Corpse Bride and Frankenweenie.”
5. filmmaker.com – “Simply put, this site is intended as an online resource for filmmakers on a budget. Here we can exchange information helpful to the production and distribution of films and film-related projects. The site includes articles, a dynamic database of links to other sites and film and video related files for download. Other features include bulletin board style discussion areas, and the LOAFS (Library of Annotated Film Schools) and DUMPS (Directing Unsuccessful Motion Picture Shorts) archives.”
6. gointothestory.blcklst.com – “Awhile back the night before I started writing my next screenplay, on a whim I asked my three-year-old son if he had any advice. He looked at me with his huge blue eyes and without hesitation said, “Go into the story, and find the animals.” I laughed — pretty funny. Over time, however, I’ve discovered wisdom in my son’s words. As writers, we do, indeed, go into the stories we create. And the animals? How about characters, plot, theme, dialogue, subtext, and all those other mysterious, magical creatures prowling in the jungle of our imaginations? I’ve been an online instructor through UCLA Extension Writer’s Program since 2002. This blog is largely in response to students who wanted to continue our conversations about the creative process. I offer it as a resource to them and any other aspiring writer, especially those interested in screenwriting and the magic of movies.”
7. filmmakeriq.com – “We have reached a technological turning point in filmmaking. What was once expensive and time consuming is now a press of a button and a few mouse clicks. It’s easy to celebrate or shun this revolution as it is just as easy to forget the whole medium of filmmaking is just over a century old. But the mechanisms underlying our young medium- the emotional connection to story and imagination – are handed down to us from distant ancestors far into the past. From stories round a flickering campfire to mythic heroes battling on a flickering screen, the mechanism remains the same. That mechanism is what makes us human. No discussion on how to make films is truly complete without understanding why film works – no camera or special effects can save an uninteresting story. But those things do matter. Both are essential to filmmaking and both essential to our purpose at FilmmakerIQ. But they are not equal… the “how” is the slave to “why“. We love talking about cameras and the tools of making film. But Story is King and everything else is subject to it. You cannot make good film unless you pay tribute to Story first, last and every step inbetween.”
8. lightsfilmschool.com/blog/ – “Lights Film School is an online film education provider. We offer an intensive 4 month film program where our students gain practical and theoretical knowledge about the film creation and distribution process.”
9. fenchel-janisch.com – “Known on YouTube as FenchelJanisch is a team of two young professionals working actually mostly in the commercial film industry… The vision of Fenchel and Janisch is to become more international with their work in helping others to improve their skills in filmmaking as well as shooting and producing videos, commercials and documentary’s worldwide.”
10. thepostlab.com – “The Post Lab is the one and only post production and new technologies website created by and for the independent filmmaker. We’re here to educate about the post production process, connect you to trusted resources that will fit your budget, deliver quality work, and keep you informed of technological innovations that continue to change the way we make and watch movies.”
11. blog.vincentlaforet.com - “First of all, though I have a background in journalism, for the purposes of this blog, I am not a reporter. I am simply a professional filmmaker and photographer who enjoys discussing my craft and sharing as many tips and tricks I can. I tend to focus my writing on filmmaking, photography, technology, and gadgets, but occasionally I post bits of news, videos, and other links – all the views I write about in this blog are expressly my own.”
12. hopeforfilm.com – “In the early 90′s, American Independent Film burst on the media scene with the promise of new visions, new stories, and new approaches. Ted Hope was among the first producers to emerge from the pack and remains one of the few consistently delivering vital and exciting new work. As times, platforms, and tastes change, Ted’s work continues to break new ground, reach new audiences, and define the term “Independent.” “
13. revision3.com/filmriot – “Film Riot is a how-to trip through filmmaking from the mind of Ryan Connolly. From how to make great effects to following Triune Films through production, Film Riot explores the art of filmmaking in a way you’ve never seen.”
14. shootingpeople.org/blog/ – “Founded by filmmakers Jess Search and Cath Le Couteur, for 60 filmmaker friends, Shooting People started in the belief that the best way to get independent films made and out into the world was to learn from others doing it themselves.”
15. indyfilmgear.com - “DIY and Cheap Gear For Independent Filmmakers”
16. hurlbutvisuals.com/blog/ – “The Hurlbut Visuals Blog was created to be a trusted source in the learning journey for filmmakers globally. To be a great storyteller, it is essential that you understand filmmaking fundamentals, critical decisions for lighting and camera, on-set challenges and solutions, innovative techniques, new technologies, how to prioritize and improve efficiency, how to generate creative solutions and DIY options if the budget is just not there. I continue to devote time and energy to this blog because it is the resource I always wished existed when I was just learning. It has grown exponentially over the last 4 years covering a wide range of topics. This resource has remained free because of our wonderful sponsor and advertising support.”
17. screenwritingsuccess.com - “I love words. Words on paper, words coming out of the mouths of characters on the small screen, the big screen, the stage. The only thing better than reading or hearing them is writing them.”
18. aaronwilliams.tv – “The majority of my experience is in Non-Linear Editing (which I’ve been doing for the past 10 years) and color grading; I’m also a motion graphics artist and a VFX artist. As a colorist, I interned at EFILM Digital Laboratories as a color assistant, where I assisted and learned from colorists like Mike Hatzerand Steve Scott. I’ve also received certification from The International Colorist Academy in their colorist strategies class. In 2008, I interned at Zoic Studios as a VFX intern. I’ve worked on numerous award-winning student films, music videos, and documentaries as a colorist, editor, title designer, motion graphics artist, and VFX artist.”
19. learningdslrvideo.com – “This site is about me learning as I go, and sharing my mistakes and my successes with everyone else. I’m somewhat of an advanced amateur learning how to shoot video with a DSLR (there’s a steep learning curve).”
20. lynda.com – (Monthly subscription, but if you use it, it is worth the cost.) – “lynda.com is an online learning company that helps anyone learn software, design, and business skills to achieve their personal and professional goals. With a lynda.com subscription, members receive unlimited access to a vast library of high quality, current, and engaging video tutorials. New courses and topics are added every week at no extra cost. We carefully select the world’s top experts who are the best in their field, passionate about their subject matter, and know how to teach. Members tell us that a lynda.com subscription instills self-confidence and unlocks a sense of accomplishment that they have not found anywhere else.”
Becoming a great filmmaker takes time and practice.
Take the time, and work your heart out.
- Student Filmmaker Awards