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7 easy ways to improve your filmmaking skills

Author: Cynthia Madison
by Cynthia Madison
Posted: Oct 17, 2019
own critic

The filmmaking industry can be quite rewarding for someone drawn to art. Finding your voice and actually building an audience is, however, not that easy, even if you believe in yourself and your talent. To actually produce work that benefits from exposure and popularity, your skills need to be perfected.

Whether you’re just starting out, have made a few home videos, or have already produced your own short film, you still have a lot to learn. Filmmaking excellence goes beyond practicing or simply watching a lot of videos and movies. Your skills can improve over time only if you adopt the right approach here.

But what exactly can you do? What will make a difference in your filmmaking abilities? Here are a few guidelines that you may find useful:

Become your own critic

One of the most important actions to take is becoming your own critic. When you are analysing your work, make a habit out of observing mistakes and errors, or simply think about how you could have done things better. Acknowledging the fact that there is always room for improvement is necessary if you want to become better at what you do.

Watch and re-watch your films, take notes of everything that could have been done differently, and look over those notes when you are working on a new project. Being a self-critic doesn’t mean you should undervalue yourself or not have confidence in your abilities, it’s simply a way of boosting your skills and accepting that failure or having faults is natural in your learning process.

Find a mentor

Find a talented artist whose work you admire, and ask them to be your mentor. Following in the footsteps of someone more experienced can broaden your horizons and provide you with the professional guidance you need to achieve success in this field of practice. Just by receiving their tips, watching them how they work, getting a better understanding of their vision, you can form your own voice.

A mentor doesn’t necessarily have to be some famous with films everyone has heard of, but simply an experienced filmmaker whose style resonates with yours, who creates art that triggers emotion, someone who seems to have a lot to share. You’ll certainly find an experienced freelance cinematographer willing to be your mentor.

Get your inspiration from other filmmakers’ work

Focusing too much on your own work, can limit your vision and can affect the quality of your films altogether. You have something to learn from every artist you come across. Even a filmmaker with less experience than you can teach you something useful. That is why you should be constantly on the lookout for new artists in cinematography and get inspired by others’ creations.

Make a bit of time to find cinematographers and to watch their videos or short films. Take notes of anything you find useful in their work, and use those observations to improve your own projects.

Learn your gear’s capabilities by heart

Equipment is obviously important in this domain. The more qualitative and expensive the gear, the more functions you have available. However, at the beginning of your career, you probably can’t afford spending a fortune on lenses and cameras. That doesn’t mean you can’t still produce quality work. It simply demands a bit more effort to maximize the capabilities of your equipment and understand what your gear can do.

From cameras and lenses to microphones, search and learn by heart all the specs of your equipment. You have videos that talk about different brands and products, and by doing your research you might discover new amazing functions. Your production process can reach an entirely new level if you know how to get the most out of your equipment.

Put yourself out there

Feedback plays an important role in self-improvement. Finding out what viewers think of your films can help you refine your style and make necessary adjustments. Criticism is, however, difficult to take, but it can often be the only way of achieving professional excellence.

Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. Even if you aren’t 100% confident in your work, share it with the world. Post your videos or films online, share them on social media, spread the word and see how others respond. While you may simply not like some opinions, constructive criticism will also be obtained.

Watch film editing tutorials

Giving that we live in the golden age of information, you have virtually endless informative resources at one mouse-click or screen-tap away. Whatever area you want to improve yourself in, you’ll find an impressive variety of tutorials, videos, articles, etc.

Film editing is essential for a successful and visually-appealing project. If you don’t know how to put your footage in the best light possible, you won’t be able to achieve the film quality you’re targeting. Learn how to master film editing by watching tutorials. You will find videos that show you from A to Z everything you need to know about edits. Cropping, adding filters, adding visual effects to your footage - you have so many possibilities of beautifying your films, some easier to understand and do than you have initially anticipated.

Explore different styles

Don’t just stick to a single type of film. Explore different styles and step out of your comfort zone. Perhaps you currently don’t like a certain type of short film, but once you produce it yourself, you may change your opinion and perspective. Until you actually find a single direction, experimenting can help you strengthen your abilities. Artistic maturation can be reached only if you let your creativity run freely and value experimentation.

These are the things you should try if you want to become better at cinematography, and develop your filmmaking skills further. Regardless of your unique vision and talent, hard work is still critical if you want to make it in the industry and improve the quality of your work. Each one of these tips, if taken into account, will contribute to your career cinematography.

About the Author

Cynthia Madison is a young blogger and economics and marketing graduate. She writes about home, lifestyle and family topics and is a senior contributor to popular niche publications.

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Author: Cynthia Madison
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Cynthia Madison

Member since: Jun 30, 2017
Published articles: 95

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