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The indie-film guide

KATHMANDU, DEC 11 - Prioritising visuals

Some filmmakers try out that shaky filming technique with their films (read: The Blair Witch Project) to create special (and eerie) effects, but you’ll do well to rely on the sturdy-old tripod for most of your shots. Seek out unusual, aesthetically appealing or intriguing spots in the city—giving a new face to the same old locations can also help add charm to the film. Let natural light pour into your set whenever possible and if shooting indoors, choose the kind of light you want rather than making use of whatever you have when you switch on the light. These will undoubtedly characterise the ambience of your film to a large extent.

Keep filming until you get it right

While filming, and there will be those moments when you’ll never get the shot you’re looking for, don’t leave things to improve during the editing process. If you’re not happy, keep repeating the shoot until you’re satisfied with the raw footage. You’ll already have spent a lot of money to get to this stage, but if you don’t persevere (and this may include being pushy with the rest of your team, which will inevitably draw some nasty looks your way), then you may end up regretting it later on, plus end up with a bad-looking final film that you can do little about, something that could have easily been remedied had you intervened during filming.

Getting to the core of sound

The least apparent things can often make a big difference in the overall feel and quality of your film. Paying attention to sound can often make that difference. Spend that extra money on a good microphone that will capture quality sound. Also make sure to record a few minutes of ‘room tone’ or atmospheric sounds that you can incorporate into the background of dialogues to give scenes a realistic feel. Don’t forget to get a good soundtrack either. A great soundtrack is something viewers will remember even after they’ve forgotten everything else about the film.

Work with constructive


Share your ideas with people who you think will most likely give you honest and constructive feedback. Begin right at the beginning, or even earlier, when you’re still fleshing out your ideas, and continue this through the various stages of filmmaking. Remember that in sharing your project with others, you are getting a glimpse into the mindset of your potential audience, and even though the seemingly harsh sounding comments may pinch a little initially, in the long run,

they will only help you make a better film.


Making films—from hiring actors, scouting for the ideal location, acquiring equipments and managing flawless editing—is a costly business. And if you are an amateur filmmaker still experimenting with the medium, you’re not likely to have your pockets full to fund your own film. Where are you going to get that money from? Maybe you can get private companies to fund your film. It is also possible, if you are working on an issue of some social importance—say HIV AIDS, human trafficking, gender issues or climate change—at the moment, to look into getting funding from organisations that already work on it. Otherwise, you’ve also got websites like kickstarter.com that are fund-sourcing platforms where individuals visiting the website can opt to partially or fully fund your project. Remember Highway? Yep, the makers of that film were successfully able to complete their project with the funds they raised from this website.


Filmmaking is not something possible for a lone man living on an island. Because there are so many aspects to it, you require a good team with a set of diverse skills—a good script and vision need to be accompanied by good acting, good sounds and visuals, as well as good editing. So work towards finding a team with whom you will gel well and who, collectively, have all the skills you require.

Posted on: 2012-12-12 08:42

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