Step 1: Pick your Fate- I mean Fandom: The first and probably the most important thing you need to do is pick your fandom. You can pick anything! You love that show? Use it! You like that band? Great! Your new favorite movie? There you go! Pick a fandom, any fandom, and use it!
Step 2: Premise is key: Now that you have your fandom, what do you want to make your film about? The backstory of one of the characters? An AU¹? Now is you time to pick!
Step 3: Research!: This may seem mundane, but you have to do research on your fandom so that the story seems authentic. Now, I’m not saying that you have to do this every time, but you should really know your fandom!
Step 4: SCRIPT IT!: Scripts. The bane of my filmmaking existence. I personally hate this part, but it has to be done! Scripts, if you didn’t know, are what filmmakers use as a thing I like to call “paper movie”. Scripts are films written out with character dialogue and scene descriptions. You WILL need a script for your movie, since you have your own people acting in it and making said film. The best place to write a script, in my opinion, is Google Docs. It’s collaborative, meaning that you can work with others on the document. You will need an add on, however, called Screenplay Formatter, but it will quickly become your screenwriting best friend.
Step 5: Casting the next Dean Winchester: Another major part of making a fandom film is casting someone that is similar to the actors who play the original character or that looks like that one band member. With books, you have a bit more leeway, but for the most part, you should have someone similar. Now, they don’t have to be a perfect match or anything- mainly because we still haven’t figured out cloning technology – but they need to be believable.
Step 6: Location, Loki, Location: Where you’re making this film is crucial! You can’t make it just anywhere! Locations are the settings for scenes, and you’ll need a believable! You can’t shoot a Star Trek film in the middle of a big city. Try a desert or empty lot to look like a different planet! You don’t want to have Sam and Dean living in a house. Maybe try a motel! Many places you can film in, you just have to do a little askin’.
Step 7: Dressing Miss Daisy: This step goes along with Step 5. Once you have your cast, you need to dress them! Costumes are a big part of films. Batman’s suit and Superman’s cape are some of the best examples! If you’re doing a Gatsby era film, you can check out local thrift stores to see if they have any pieces. If there’s a costume you can’t find, you can also make one! In some cases, that is actually cheaper.
Step 8: Lights, Camera, ACT-: Okay, this one may seem a little repetitive, but once you have all of these things, it’s time to film. By now, the hype is probably too much and you’re so ready to start making this film! This day in age, we’re very lucky because we all already have cameras in our pockets. That leaves lights and crew. Now, the best thing to use for light is this thing called the sun. It’s very powerful and will almost always give you the lighting you want! If you’re indoors, try filming in front of a window so you can harness the sun’s power! Now, the next part can be a little tough. You will undoubtedly need a crew to help on your film. The best way to get one is to get a bunch of your friends to help you for a day and offer them food. It always works. Always.
Step 9: The Cutting Room Blues: Now that your film is done, you have to get to work editing. This is probably the hardest part of making a film, but it’s also the most rewarding. This is the point when all of the clips you filmed start to come together. It can be rough, but so much fun. The best way to edit films is on a computer with a software like Final Cut Pro or Premiere Pro, but not all of us can afford those. iMovie works amazing and will get the job done! You can make cuts, add in music and adjust the clips until they look perfect! Once you’re done, you’ll be so proud!
Step 10: The End is Near!: Now that all is said and done, you can do the best part- at least in my opinion. You can upload the video and share it with your friends and family! Or your fandom! SHARE DAT FILM! You should be very proud! Now you can reap the rewards- and submit it to the Fangirl Film Festival (Yes, that is a shameless plug!).
If you follow these steps, you’ll have a great fandom film!
AU¹: Alternate Universe; used by fandoms as a way to alter the story and the character’s lives.