Shooting My First Feature Film And What We’ve Been Working On For Months

I decided to something different today. This post is not about the latest 4K gear, handheld gimbal or the persistent overheating issues currently plaguing the Sony A7R II, or even my reasons for abandoning Panasonic, that’s all for a different time… This post is a first in a serious of posts about something big we’ve been working hard on for the past few months. I kind felt that as of lately I’ve been falling into the “gear obsession” trap way too often… I wanted to write this post about sometime a whole lot more important. It’s a simple story I’d like to share with you from a recent discussion with a close friend of mine, a filmmaker down in the trenches, like me and most of you, who read our blog (for which we’re eternally grateful).

I recently met up with an old friend of mine, an enthusiast filmmaker, who’s been trying to get his debut feature film off the ground for quite some time. More than three years now! So naturally, I asked him – What’s the one thing stopping you from shooting it in 3 months?

He said – well… “I am trying to raise money with a private investor, but I am getting nowhere as I haven’t got big awards with my name from festivals or anything like that…. Oh, and plus I am thinking about shooting it on the new Blackmagic URSA Mini 4.6K” And I hear this way too often, filmmakers who constantly obsess over the gear they will use in their next short film or first feature, that it becomes an obsession, which actually does only one thing – prevents you from making your film!

…his answer didn’t surprise me. But I am no saint, I can relate totally – I was trapped too. Two and a half years ago I was in the same boat – trying to raise money and waiting for the next big thing in camera technology to come and save the day for me… I spent countless months trying to figure out what’s the best camera that I could afford to shoot my movie with… first it was Super 16mm (glad that never happened or I would have probably gone bankrupt) then the Panasonic AF101 with a Nanoflash, then I become obsessed with shooting on Canon 5D Mark III…. blah, blah, blah, it’s was a never ending cycle of procrastination and gear fetishising.

Beza slate Day 5

My 1st AC and AD Beza – doing his thing on the set of my debut feature “Bandit” (Oh yes, the slate is in pink on purpose, it was their running joke on me that day…

Then one day, I finally said – ENOUGH! This is not getting me anywhere. It’s an endless loop of frustration and self-doubt. I gave up on raising money from strangers with deep pockets, who looked down on me for having the audacity to ask them for money. I put together a plan, sold some kit I didn’t really use, depleted my “rainy day” savings, broke all my piggy banks, decided on what I was going to shoot my film with and never looked back!

To this day, I never regretted it. Looking back now, my only regret is not doing it sooner…

Me and Vlady have been working hard for the last few months on something really cool – our first filmmaking guide based on our experience during the two features we shot. We believe this is going to help you make that giant step towards success and give you a reality check on what it takes to make not one but two debut feature films with little to no money and a handful of crew members…

The guide will be available in the next few weeks and feature comprehensive gear lists, tutorial videos, an audio version of our experience all compiled in an extensive PDF and much more. We’re super stoked to get this out in the world and hopefully help out fellow filmmakers in the process.

Those on the mailing list will know more details about it first – so I suggest getting on the mailing list if aren’t already subscribed. You can do so by claiming your free gear report on the link at the end of this post or sign up here.

To give you a taste of learn more about some of the gear we used to make not one, but two feature films GET OUR SPECIAL FREE REPORT HERE

to be continued…

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  • marklondon

    Congrats! Finishing a film is the greatest feeling. And format doesn’t matter.
    /16mm rules by the way.