Tips For Young Filmmakers

by Peter D Marshall

1. Tips From a Young Filmmaker
2. Picking the Right Film School
3. Shaping Your Own Style
4. Hollywood vs Non-Hollywood Film Schools
5. Dealing with Difficult Professors
6. Working With a Non-Union Film Crew
7. It’s Not What You Know, But Who You Know. Truth?
8. Is This (Directing. For Me?
9. I’m Here. Now What?

(1) Tips from a Young Filmmaker

1. Where do you find the resources? (camera, editing, talent)

Quite often when I shoot a film, I do A LOT of borrowing. My school owns a Panasonic VHS Broadcast camera that is usually used for shooting school performances, etc. It’s the same for the editing equipment. My school just has some VERY simple Avid editing stations that they bought on a whim, so I use those. As for talent, it really boils down to whoever I can find. Friends, teachers, etc. The problem here is that these people usually have busy schedule’s, so you end up working on their time. When it comes to things like this, never get discouraged if something doesn’t work out in the way of equipment, talent, etc. If you don’t have the money to buy the equipment, find someone who has what you need and see if their willing to loan or rent it to you. Get it anyway you can, (legally of course..

2. How do you pick locations?

When it comes to locations and sets for films, the same technique as above applies. BORROW, BORROW, BORROW. First check if your living area is good for a shoot, or you or your family owns something that will work. That is the easiest. If you don’t have a location that will work, ask your neighbors, friends, etc. If they don’t, drive around and look for the right place. If you end up finding it, and you don’t know the people who own it, ask them for permission to use the area. More than likely they will with little or no money value attached. If you need a soundstage, you may want to ask the local music venue or performing arts theatre. These places are great, as they come with equipment too. The only problem is that they USUALLY won’t let you use it unless you rent it. And the costs for renting stages is not cheap. But it may be your only choice.

3. How to divide up the crew? (director, cameraman, AD.

This is an easy area for one main reason; you as the film artist will end up doing most or all of everything. On a shoot, you may only have two or three people who actually know what’s going on. The other people are actors, etc. This means that you need to be aware of what’s going on at all times. YOU need to be the lighting engineer, YOU need to be the cameraman, YOU need to be the director. Build up your skills in every aspect of the art.

4. Where do you find actors?

As stated before, use people you know. At this point, don’t worry about acting abilities. Teach your actors on the spot, show them what you know. Just keep going over and over the script if they can’t act out a certain part. They should get it eventually.

5. How much does it cost to produce a 5 or 10 minute video?

Cost all depends on what you want to do. First, check out what you have, and then look at what you need. My philosophy is that if you’re shooting a 5-10 minute video, your expenses should NOT go over $50. Use what you have. If you don’t have it, get creative. Remember, it just needs to look good on camera, it doesn’t matter what it looks like in real life. This applies to everything from wardrobe to props. BORROW, BORROW, BORROW!!

6. Where do you get the money to make your videos?

All the money you use should be out of pocket. Don’t take out a bank loan or anything like that. Like before, GET CREATIVE! Every so often, you may want to find a sponsor if you’re doing a BIG film. Somebody who will pay YOU for displaying or using their product. This may come in very handy, but sponsor contracts often have a lot strings attached. Just don’t spend more money than what you have to.

7. Where can you show your film/video?

Once you are done with your film/video, you want people to see it! This can be done in a few ways. The first and easiest idea is to show a bunch of your friends, and have them spread the word about it. Before you know it, more and more people will be wanting to see your piece of art. Another way to have it shown to the world is to enter it in a traditional media art exhibit, (like paintings, drawings, etc.. You may need to pull a few strings to get it in, but people love to see non-traditional media art mixed in with traditional. And this way, your art get exposed to a whole new range of people.

Another way to get your name out there is the internet. Capture your film on a computer and hand it out all over. is a great place to start. They are very stringent on their choices for films, but if you can get in there, you’re going to be exposed twice as fast. If your short film is REALLY good, you may want to look into getting the film on the Sci-Fi channel’s show, Exposure, ( This is VERY hard to get into, but if you do, your phone will be ringing off the hook with new contacts.

Remember, NEVER turn off that camera!

(2) Picking the Right Film School

If you are reading this article and you’re a budding filmmaker, chances are you want to go to school for it, if you’re not already there. If you’re not there yet, but want to get a great film education, there are a lot of choices to choose from, some better than others. I will give you my insight into what I found when searching for a Film School.

First and foremost, you must decide what realm of film you want to work in. If you’re a die-hard artist and want to work in the independent film scene, or just as a film artist, there are a lot of choices for you. In this situation, I’d start by looking in New York. They have the most developed art scene for film, and great schools to boot. Do some research into the schools, and see how they are rated against others in the field you’re looking at. Chicago and Milwaukee are also good choices if money is a large factor in your decision. But remember: a good film education will cost you, it’s just a fact of life.

Now, if you’re like me and want to direct your skills towards Hollywood, there’s really only one place to go if you really want to make it: Hollywood. Los Angeles and surrounding cities have hundreds of two-year film schools for you to take on. They don’t cost a lot, and you can get lots of hands on training and project work. However, usually you won’t get too far with a two year education, you often need a 4+ year education.

The two best schools that I know of in LA for this kind of in-depth film degree are offered at USC School of Cinema – Television, and Art Center College of Design, (of which I’m attending starting in fall 2002.. USC is easier to get into, but you don’t even get to touch a camera until your junior year,
while Art Center is VERY hard to get into, but you start film work right away. There is really only one problem with these schools too: they cost an arm and a leg. But they also have numerous contacts with LA based studios to help you get a job right out of school.

I hope this article gave you a little insight into choosing the right film school for you. Picking a film school can be a very hard decision, and since filmmaking is often very expensive, not a cheap decision either. If you have any further questions, you can e-mail me at

Keep those cameras rolling!

(3) Shaping Your Own Style

All filmmakers, whether it be Hollywood, Indie, or Art, all have a distinct feature that makes them different from every other film artist. Take, for example, the director Tim Burton. Anybody with eyes notices instantly that his style is different than anybody else’s. All directors and filmmakers have their own style, though some are harder to see. To be a successful filmmaker, you need to develop your own style and flairs. If not, you’ll be stuck copying other people’s ideas for the rest of your career.

When I first started off in film, I made a huge mistake. I KNEW the kind of style I wanted, and tried to go for it. The films I made were good, but I didn’t feel a connection with them. Finally, after a series of “failed” films, I decided to try something different: I just let myself “flow” behind the camera. I was amazed by the result. Not only had I made a film that I was truly happy with, but I felt a connection with this one. This is how I started to develop my STYLE.

And this is what you need to do. You, as the budding filmmaker, need to stop trying to copy all the styles that you see. When you’re behind the camera, just let your feelings flow. Know your scene, let it come from your gut, and shoot it. You’ll be amazed. I know that even after a good four years of trying to do this, I still haven’t cemented my style, but am well on my way. This process will take time, but it’s worth it’s weight in gold. When your audience says, “I’ve never seen anything like that before!” You’ll know you’ve got it.

(4) Hollywood VS. Non-Hollywood Film Schools

Some of you out there who are considering making the move to a larger or more well-known film school have already noticed that there are generally two kinds of schools: Hollywood and non-Hollywood. By definition, Hollywood schools are usually located in or around Hollywood itself, and usually train you for working in the Industry. Non-Hollywood schools are usually scattered across the US, with the best ones’ in New York. These schools usually teach you film as an art form, and are considered a medium for art rather than purely entertainment.

I’ve found many differences when it comes to these different kinds of schools, both in thought and in practice. A non-Hollywood school is usually cheaper and is stationed in a state university. They often don’t have the equipment resources at hand that a Hollywood school would, mostly because you’re not paying them enough. I’ve also found that these schools are very “clicky”, (people very “stuck on” themselves., and are just a pain to deal with. But there are also a lot of smart people who are willing to help you too.

Then there are the Hollywood films schools. These schools get you battle-hardened and ready for a life in the Industry. More often than not, these schools will cost a lot to attend. But with this cost, you’ll often get A+ equipment and A+ instructors. However, most schools only offer a two year program, but the better ones’ will offer a 4+ year degree. They teach you in much the same way that a non-Hollywood school would, but the course load is usually more rigorous and hard. These schools can be very “clicky” as well, but more often than not, people as a whole will be easier to deal with.

Keep those cameras rolling.

(5) Dealing with Difficult Film Professors

If you have ever attended a film school before, I’m sure you have noticed that, more often than not, the teaching staff are difficult to deal with. Either they grade to hard, aren’t personable, or are stuck in their own styles and modes of producing film. This can often be disheartening for young filmmakers as it brutally shows them what some aspects of filmmaking are like. I know I’ve had to deal with some difficult ones in the past, and I would like to share what I have learned about these dictators.

One thing that many people have had to deal with in film school is the fact that you as the filmmaker has one style, but your teacher wants another or even hates your own style. This can be hard because you may spend a lot of time on a film that you absolutely love, but your professor fails you. Trust me, it happens.

Here’s what I have found when it comes to this. I know it sounds odd, but conform to your teacher, don’t try and rebel because it’ll get you nowhere in most cases. Make what your teacher wants, but also inject your own flares and styles into it, making it stand out and still keeping your GPA high. Many teachers have many tastes, it’s best to learn how to mold your work to a specific teacher.

I have a professor this semester that I hope no one has to deal with in the future. He’s a great filmmaker, but he hates everybody else’s attempts at filmmaking. He doesn’t even offer constructive criticism, it’s just pure criticism. I got so mad at him once that after I screened a film, and he tore it apart, I threw the actual film at him. I don’t suggest that, but I felt better. When it comes to people like this, only listen half-heartedly to them and move on. Filter what they have to say, only taking the good chunks, then move on. And always remember, talk back! Some people like to have provoke confrontations with others, so play their game, fight back. This will, (often., lead to more respect giving to you than before.

I hope this helps at least a little.

(6) Working With a Non-Film Crew

If you’re a budding filmmaker, you’ve probably encountered the problem of finding people to help you with your new form of self-expression. Some people are lucky and have a sibling or a willing parent to help them on their quest. But for others, resorting to your friends and school-mates may be the best solution.

The problem here is that most people you ‘hire’ won’t feel the same way about film that you do. Surprisingly, many people love watching films, but very few want to put out the effort to create them, (I know I have this problem sometimes.. Because of this, motivating your new crew may be very difficult. Here’s what I suggest for getting your helpers in high gear and wanting to shoot.

First, if you can’t afford to pay them for their work, use their stomachs. I know it sounds a little odd, but food is the best way to keep people on your side throughout a shoot. Spend about fifteen bucks to get soda, chips, dip, and small treats for them to snack on during shooting. Why do you think Hollywood spends millions on craft services during a shoot?

Second, let them have a voice. Ask them what they think would work in a particular scene. Ask them how the scene looks visually. Ask them about the story, characters, plot, and setting. If they think that they’re contributing to the final product, they’ll want to do all they can to help.

Third, don’t be a slave driver. People hate being bossed around, especially when you’re not paying them. Treat them like humans, and become their equal. You may be the Director, but without your crew, you’re nothing. The best Directors are only a member of the crew, not an all-knowing presence on the set.

I hope this will help you out in your quest for finding help on your films. Filmmaking is a social art, there’s not way around it. Hundreds, if not thousands, of people work on Hollywood films. When you have as much creative energy flowing through a set, you can’t help but create a great film.

(7) It’s Not What You Know, But Who You Know. Truth?

I was once told by an entertainment artist that if you want to make it in Hollywood, it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. For many, many years, I held this motto close to my heart, and tried to make it a reality by making contacts with many well-known people in the Industry. Because I made all these contacts, I felt assure that I would get where I wanted to be in Hollywood.

Well, I got an e-mail the other day from writer/director Kevin Smith, (Clerks, Mallrats, Dogma, etc…., and he set me on the right path, and I want to set all you reading this on the right path as well. Mr. Smith told me that this philosophy of mine was completely backwards in thought. Many very successful people in Hollywood didn’t know a single person when they entered this Land of Unreality, but they knew their stuff and what they wanted from the industry. They had a fresh idea to bring to Tinsel Town, and they were noticed because of this.

What’s the moral to the story? Well, just because you know somebody who can get you in the door at your Hollywood dream job, don’t slack in the other, more important areas. Don’t just assume that they’ll help you or that they’ll get you a job. Work on your art and make it the best you can, then get it out there and see what happens. Persistence pays off in the long run. Work hard and keep at it. You won’t be successful all the time, because if you were, there would be nothing to succeed at. Period.

If he is reading this, thanks to Kevin for putting me on the right path.

(8) Is This (Directing. For Me?

Every filmmaker during his or her career has always asked themselves this question. And if they haven’t, something’s very wrong. No matter what dream we may have, we are always asking ourselves whether or not this is truly what we want to do with our lives. I know that for myself, I have always been asking myself this question, and here are some things that I have found.

One: Don’t corner yourself. Don’t be saying, “All I wanna do is direct.” There is nothing worse than doing this. No one can tell your future, all you can do is live your life one moment at a time and make the best decisions based on what knowledge you have. Let your life be like a river; ever-flowing in a forward direction.

Two: Don’t train yourself for one specific job or career. If you do this, you’re doing the same thing as above: Cornering yourself. Learn EVERYTHING you can, whether it has to deal with filmmaking or not. I myself learned this early in life, but I was one of the lucky ones. Most people get so solidified in their day to day passings, that they don’t learn anything new or gain any new skills. Don’t be one of these people. You won’t be a good filmmaker if you do.

And Finally: Don’t sweat the small stuff. If you make a film, and the audience hates it, don’t sweat it, learn from it. Ask people WHY the film was bad, and gain a general consensus on how it could be made better. Filmmaking is an evolutionary art form. You have to crawl before you can walk, plain and simple. And learning to walk, you’re going to make mistakes along the way. But once you learn to walk, the sky’s the limit.

Remember, YOU are the only person who can change your destiny. NEVER let anyone tell you otherwise. Life is a journey, not a destination.

(9) I’m Here. Now What?

If you’re anything like me, you want to make the Film Industry a large part of your life, both in work and lifestyle. Many young filmmakers start this progression by actually moving out to LA, and if not going to a film school, just start looking for jobs to get their foots in the door. But, a lot of them don’t know what to do when they get out here. They don’t know where to go, who to see, and how to start their career. I thought I might give some tips on how to start looking, and finding, your niche in a very competitive field.

First and foremost, you need to decide what area of filmmaking you want to specialize in. Don’t decide on something narrow, like SOLELY acting, but instead, be broad in you desicion. You can narrow it down later. You’ve made a huge step just by deciding this. But allow it to be fluid and allow it to change if you need to. If not, you could get stuck somewhere you hate.

Next, get a resume and pitch video together, (if appilcable.. The resume is NEEDED to show a studio what you can speicalize in, how well you work, and how much worth you’ll be to the filmmaking process. A pitch video is also VERY good to have, depending on what you want to go into. If you want to get into directing, for example, you NEED to have a portfolio of your work that you can show a perspective studio before they even think about hiring you. This will show them originality and passion for your work. Remember, people get paid a lot of money to deduce what they see from filmwork, so they know what they’re doing.

Once you have these things together, make some phone calls! Find the phone numbers of the studios you want to submit to, (numbers you need to find are for the PR or hiring centers of the studio.. Get an appointment with a hiring expert or just set up a time you can come in and pitch/drop off your resume/video. If you’re lucky, you may just get the job!

Now, what I’ve outlined here is a VERY simple path for finding your niche in Hollywood. There are many different ways to go about this, and many different paths to take. And the main rule is this: Don’t get discouraged. One studio may hate your work. They’d much rather have their eyes dug out with red-hot pokers than hire you. But another studio may LOVE your work and sign you on the spot. Hey, it’s happened before.

Remember, this is your dream. Live it.

Copyright (c) 2000-2013 Peter D. Marshall / All Rights Reserved

{ 50 comments… read them below or add one }

Sasha Wilkinson February 18, 2010 at 7:44 pm

Thanks for this great advice!! I’m a student in filmmaking in England. And am really passionate about what i do. Recently i have been getting quite stressed, as it’s very difficult trying to get a career in this and learn this in this part of the country. I have a lot of determination, but this article has been a great help. The part about creating your own style and the part about questioning if this career is for you, helped greatly! Thankyou very much. Sasha x

Humayon Kabir Bulu March 25, 2010 at 11:06 pm

i am a cameraman in my country . i am interested to make my won film.
as a director . so plis.. give me some tips

Joshua Predieri March 27, 2010 at 4:07 pm

Cody, like you I am very passionate about filmmaking and a very persistent individual. Your advice certainly has put the journey into better perspective, and for that I appreciate your post. Hopefully someday I will be able to craft my style and make many mis-“takes”. Again, thanks! – Joshua Predieri – Jacksonville Beach, FL

charlie April 10, 2010 at 12:56 pm

same here i`m a filmmaker from hebden bridge but the camera i use has a black and white viewfinder so i hav to get a colour monitor and a matte box 4 the lens and i`ll hav to buy a shotgun mic ive spent around £45 getting the camera so i need extras this il cost me another £35 and the camera`s a panasonic m10 vhs camcorder also so can i have some tip on filming and using the camera properly thanks! — charlie brannan – halifax west yorkshire
uk england

Taylor April 22, 2010 at 8:09 am

This was great. Although I am very young, my whole life I’ve been in love with movies and how they’re made. Recently I’ve been really thinking through my dream of becoming part of the movie making industry. Though I have doubted my abilities, you’re advice has given me some hope and confidence that I may be able to someday make my dream come true with my passion and prior knowledge. Thanks.

Peter D Marshall April 24, 2010 at 10:34 am

Hi Taylor,

Thank you for your comments. Keep moving forward. The first thing you must have is the passion.



ntokozo August 19, 2010 at 4:38 am

i wnt to produce my own short film what can i do to start

Ryan McDougall August 19, 2010 at 5:39 pm


I was starting to go off filmmaking after a rough year of lack of success, but you’ve reinspired me.



Peter D Marshall August 29, 2010 at 6:30 pm

Thank you for comments Ryan. Your words mean a lot to me. Keep the passion!

A.B.Sohel September 20, 2010 at 2:34 pm

How are you Peter ? I think you are well.I’m Also….I’m Bangladeshi.Now i doing director of Television Drama.I will making film.I want online study film can give me some study link ? I hope that you help me for good work in Film.

Thanks By
Filmmaker in Bangladesh

Afolabi Ahmed December 12, 2010 at 12:17 pm

I have been inspire by your word of encouragement. I have passion for been a Director/Film Editor, to be a great Editor/Director in my country Nigeria… Please tell me what i need to do and where to start from.. Thank you Sir

bharath February 1, 2011 at 5:49 am

sir, u had helping me in many ways to reach my goal.after i vist this website, i took a short film which is running very successfully in my college.thank you .

Morgan Osborne February 13, 2011 at 3:06 pm

Thanks, Peter. I just turned 16 and I want to make a short film with my friends…your tips on how to keep them, will help. Thank you again for your advice. God Bless!

Peter D Marshall February 13, 2011 at 3:42 pm

Good luck with your film Morgan. 🙂

Clayton Clemetson March 17, 2011 at 11:33 am

It’s funny hearing everyone say that they are passionate, determined filmmakers because that is also how I describe myself.
I am a young filmmaker and my problem is I love almost every part of filmmaking. I like filming, writing, acting, vfx, editing, and one of my biggest passions is film scoring. I like all the pieces but I also like being in charge of the whole process. I could never narrow myself down to one of those things and I was wondering if directing is the best direction. I was also wondering how realistic independent filmmaking was as a goal. Is there much business in it?

Peter D Marshall March 19, 2011 at 11:32 am

Clayton, only you can decide on what your true passion is in filmmaking. Keep in mind that as you get older and work in films, you may find your interests will change as you get more experience. I started on out wanting to be a DOP and ended up in production: Assistant Director and Director. If you keep at it, you will find your niche.

Sylvia NC April 3, 2011 at 6:42 pm

I loved the article, it really has a lot of good advice for aspiring filmmakers.

Actually I was in film school when I was 18 (am now 23), and it was a very disheartening experience. I encountered a lot of professors as the one described in the article, and since it was a very competitive school, taking several interviews and tests to admit students, (the only public school in my country that teaches filmmaking [here public university’s have a better academic standing than private ones], which only accepts about 20 people each year) my class instead of helping each other and working towards our common goals, were always engaging in rivalries and trampling all over one another given the chance, and what’s worst, some teachers actually encouraged this behaviour.

The only time I really felt comfortable was when we were on set, and working on a shoot, even if I wasn’t in the position that I had wished for.

I also was immature at the time and really didn’t learn how to navigate those adverse conditions and as such ended up dropping out, going into another degree, completely unrelated to film and actually being a bit traumatized with filmmaking on a whole, which prevented me from writing or engaging in any film related musing or discussions.

Of course, after so many years of it being stifled I can’t help but feel a desire that begs me to return to my original passion, as it has always been gnawing at me in the back of my brain. So, I’m seriously considering going back to school, as I still have the possibility of enrolling again.

What advice would you have for someone going back after so long away?

Whoa, sorry for writing so much, it’s just that reading about all the people that want to make it and pursue their passions so earnestly, stirrs me a lot, and actually makes me feel ashamed that I quit so easily!

Thank you so much for the article! I really enjoyed it.

bernard ouma wire April 12, 2011 at 9:50 am

it’s really inspiring! magnificent! and a thought provoking comment! i must give it a try men!!! i have a good story that is more good to watch than to tell,if only i could make the whole world to see it,how happy will i be! my problem is how to make a scrip or write it would you help me?

Jamie H Scrutton June 28, 2011 at 10:09 am

Hi there

I am a graduate Fine Artist, specializing in acting, directing and filming my own films, solo. I have such a passion for Film making after my tutors advised me to work in performance at the back end of my first year in Uni. Since then I have been directing and performing in some of my own wacky, eccentric films my tutors has ever come across at their time teaching at Uni, which was a compliment for me. I am bonkers when coming to writing my next short film as that’s how my mind operates with my creativity. I am looking for a scriptwriter/filmmaker/ to collaborate on future films if anyone is interested dropping me a line at my e-mail address. I am wanting to re-create my 2010 self directed project “Havisham” where i performed as the twisted, eccentric jilted bride from Dickens “Great Expectations.” I am very, very, very, very passionate about what I do and If anyone likes to produce forbidden/wacky films like mine, i would love to hear from you; I am looking to work with a collaborator and invest funding for our films.

facebook: Jamie Harry Scrutton


Jamie H Scrutton

Jamie H Scrutton June 28, 2011 at 10:17 am

I fogot to mention, I am from Batley, West Yorkshire

Maikel July 4, 2011 at 12:37 pm

Hey, great advice, I’m just not in the film business right now. But I just on the way, cause i’m just 13 years old now. I just have a camera and some gear. It’s very fun to do. Just again great advice,

Bye, Maikel

Matthew Bartolome July 25, 2011 at 4:34 pm

Aloha, Thank you for putting this out there on the web it really helps to have something or someone to give a little nudge in the right direction when no one else around you has the same passion in film making. Thanks to your article tips, and comments everyone i know i’m not alone and there’s people having the same trouble starting up as i am. I wish success to you all.

Peter D Marshall July 25, 2011 at 4:51 pm


Thank you for your comments.

All the best,


anup August 3, 2011 at 12:16 am

Sir , I’ll u just tell me how is new York film academy .. I wanna do directing course or ma in that academy .. Plz let me know..

Christopher Barbieri August 17, 2011 at 8:29 am

Hi Peter, I have always had a love for all types of films and just decided about six months ago that this industry is one i would deffinately like to persue. I live in New Jersey and am thinking about attending New York Film Academy in NYC. What are your thoughts, if any about this school. I would like to hear from someone more knowledgable than I on the subject of film making such as yourself. Thanks

Rexford Tetteh September 8, 2011 at 10:39 am

Hello famous Mr. Marshall, how are u doing and hope all is well with u? Anyway am Rexford by name and a dreamer of being a professional director with much skills, but where am from and where am starting this doesn’t help me at all. Pls, being a famous social media coach, i need all help from u to be able to reach my dream and be the most perfect, skillful and visualize director in my country Ghana. Hope am going to have all it takes to achieve my goal from u. Thank you and all the best.

ghanshyam karan September 9, 2011 at 11:37 am

thanks fo ur valuable advice

knzistr September 18, 2011 at 6:34 pm

Thank you so much!! This answered so many of my questions about flimmaking! I am young and this is exactly what I needed to jumstart my career.

amy September 27, 2011 at 2:37 pm

Brilliant help! Im glad I found you 🙂

Alkananda Mohapatra October 12, 2011 at 7:40 am

This is Alka. I live and work in London. I have done many semi classical and folk dance in London. I want to be involved in art, dance, culture and films.
I read about you in your website and would be interested to be involved in any film project that you will be doing in London.
Keep me updated about anything that I can participate in.
Thanks and Regards,

Sam October 20, 2011 at 2:09 pm

Last April, I went to the L.A. Comedy Shorts film festival and it was awesome! I saw a panel with Wayne Brady and Jeff Garland, hilarious. There was a lot of networking, met a ton of people, made great connections and I didn’t even have a film there. My friend was one of the screenplay finalists for the feature screenplay competition. She didn’t end up winning, but she said she felt like she won because she had such a good time and a couple of huge companies requested her script. Definitely on my future submit list. It was a really good experience!

Sophia d November 13, 2011 at 5:14 pm

I am a 15 year old aspiring film maker and I really enjoyed reading Cody’s advice! Thank you so much Cody for inspiring me and the many other readers of this website. Your advice helped me greatly. I will be sure to use it. I wish you and everyone else luck in the future!
Sophia (BC, Canada)

Peter D Marshall November 13, 2011 at 5:40 pm

Hi Sophia, thanks for your comment. Peter

Steven P. November 17, 2011 at 12:44 am

Hi! My name is Steven and I wanted to say Thank you! For putting out sound advice for all to read. I’ve been a working actor for 13 yrs and even though I truly love the craft, I became stifled and stagnant with my creativity and the industry. But I always enjoyed the directing/story telling side of things. As a matter of fact that’s what initially guided me to becoming an actor. As of late, I am in my 1st semester of Grad school ( LIU @ Brooklyn,NY campus) for Media Arts: Directing/Acting in TV & Film Production. What you said about “not cornering yourself” as only an actor or whatever in this Media Arts field is so true. You only do yourself a disservice if you choose that path. Once again thanks for the encouraging advice and belief that nothing is never too late to pursue in our competitive field.

Peter D Marshall November 17, 2011 at 10:22 am

Steven, thank you for comments on Cody’s information. Best of luck 🙂

Ericka February 2, 2012 at 1:19 pm

Hi i’m Ericka and i am a big fan of the acting Endrusty. I’m 12 and Im turning thirteen Feb. 19 And i want to become a young director. I want to write and direct my own movies. I see alot of insperation From other movies like Twilight etc. I know that i am young but i know what i am doing and i know what i want to do. It would be an honor if you would email me. ( Thanks.

Noel Herrera February 2, 2012 at 10:36 pm

My name is Noel Herrera and I am an eighth grader at Albany Middle School. I am beginning a two month research project on a topic of my choice. I chose filmmaking because since the day I watched Jurassic park I have been fascinated in the world of filmmaking and what it takes to make one. i have seen many movies and have also seen the special features of those movies. What I am interested in is how you begin production of a movie and the steps it takes make a good one.

Since by the looks of your web site and its information, I was hoping you could answer a few questions regarding filmmaking.

1. How did you start filmmaking?
2. How and where do ideas for movies come from?
3. How do you get a cast and crew?
4. How many people do you really need on your crew?
5. What equipment works best when working indoors and when working outdoors?
6. How do you get a production company to finance your movie?

I want to thank you in advance for your assistance. If you know anyone else who might be of assistance in helping me with my search in this area, I would appreciate it.


Noel Herrera

VINOD CHOWDHURY February 4, 2012 at 9:10 pm

sir if you have any other notes like this kindly send me in my email as i want to be a film maker and have already done few films so ur tips will be very helpful to me .
thanks vinod chowdhury

Ramky March 15, 2012 at 2:47 am

That was helpful. I’m so into Film making, but currently I’m doing MBA as a backup if at all i flunk in the film line. It’s not that I’m not passionate and determined, Its just like safe side option.
What you gotta say ? Am i walking in the right path ??

Peter D Marshall March 15, 2012 at 8:53 am

Having a work back up as you build your film career is a good thing. Keep up the passion.

Lucy April 18, 2012 at 8:39 pm

Is 13 too young to start filmmaking? I want to make a short film with my friends.

Peter D Marshall April 19, 2012 at 9:18 am

Lucy, You go girl! 13 is not to young. Good luck 🙂

Avrain April 23, 2012 at 9:04 pm

I’m Avrain Palma, 15 years old. An aspiring filmmaker in the Philippines.
I read your article and it motivated me so much regarding filmmaking. Would you look at my YouTube channel and tell me what you think about it? Because I’m not the confident about my works. Thanks!

Peter D Marshall April 24, 2012 at 7:49 am

Hi Avrain, I just watched a few of your videos. You are very talented 🙂 My best advice is to keep shooting your films. You are only going to get better.

My only production note for your short drama’s is to watch your eyeline’s (the 180 degree rule.) You are “crossing the axis” too much. You can read more about it here:

Best of luck.


Avrain April 25, 2012 at 9:02 pm

Thank you so much! Okay I’m gonna keep that in mind the next time I shoot some vids. 🙂 Thank you very much again. 🙂


Danyal Niazi May 7, 2012 at 9:00 am

Hey, great article!! Inspiring! :). Would you mind taking the time to give me some feed back on some work I have done? Im in highschool (16) and I did these two films for my english literature class. You probably won’t understand the story or many of the ideas that I am trying to convey in them but maybe you could give me some technical critisism :).

This one was for the book, To Kill A Mockingbird – a scene that was implyed but not described in the book: the death of tom robinson.

This was for the book, Wuthering Heights – I made it to illustrate the main characters conflicting emotions after his lovers death.

Thanks again!

tinsae May 31, 2012 at 1:06 pm

i want to thank you
i just copied your notes and translated to ‘Amharic’
and give to the Film school students and independent filmmakers
it help
inspire us a lot
thank you

sri harsha June 1, 2012 at 2:31 am

I am about to start my film carrier , I applied for a film school in my country(INDIA) for a course in cinematography but i wanted to be a director . But after reading this article i under stood to make films u should have grip on all aspects of film making THANKS a lot for your advise I wish I will grow up in my carrier by fallowing your tips .

Ivy June 4, 2012 at 7:39 am

Good tips for aspiring directors who are just starting out! However, I miss some insight on how the digital revolution is changing the way we make films – crowd funding, online distribution, outsourcing etc. I think that this is something filmmakers need to focus on these days, the industry is changing…

Afkar June 10, 2012 at 12:00 am

Hey I’m 20 years old. I am living in Connecticut but I plan on moving back to New York City. I am not an aspiring film maker anymore since I recently created my first short film, a 20 minute neo noir. I personally am not interested in making money, I just want to make movies. I know that film maker Derek Cianfrance had to pay to make Blue Valentine. And I would be over joyed if I ever made a film as beautiful and raw as Blue Valentine. I specifically want to get into making indie films, I love the art that goes into making movies and that’s what I want to focus on. The biggest problem for me is that I am not going to film school and I will do what the directors in the 90’s like Tarantino and Paul Thomas Anderson did. Not too sure about it but school is not an option at this point, any advice on how to approach a film making career without schooling? Thanks, Afkar

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