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Get Creative With DIY Filmmaking

by Stephen Mandel Joseph.

The first film I ever shot was with a Canon Hi 8mm camcorder. It was the summer of 1997 and the inspiration to do a short film hit me after a film student friend of mine directed her first film on Super 8. I spent over three thousand to produce my own short, going in with blind enthusiasm rather than general knowledge.

To make a long story short, my efforts to shoot my first short soured. I didn’t have a clue about directing not to mention video camcorders. I shot the short, nonetheless, using actors and my low-end camera. It took three weekends to complete, but I finished it. Postproduction became the next headache. I knew zero about nonlinear editing and could not afford to have a pro edit it for me.

Therefore, the project sat in my closet for weeks until a friend, who performed in the project, wanted to see it. Reluctant at first, I finally made a VHS copy (remember those) and sent it to him. He loved it. His unexpected approval encouraged me to show it to others. And you know what…? They all loved it.

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  • filmmaking resources August 15, 2011, 2:33 PM

    I am really glad to hear that you eventually finished your initial project. I personally shot my first project on a cheap $100 Canon video camera. I never ended up finishing it because I had no way to edit it. Thankfully, I eventually ended up taking a filmmaking class in High School where I learned the basic behind filmmaking from shooting to editing. Unfortunately, I was unable to find my first project to try and finally edit it. I really hope that more and more schools will provide classes to teach people the basics of filmmaking because you never the great directors who never were discovered because they never had an outlet to cultivate their skills.