Reel Technical: There’s a Ton of Help Out There

Reel Technical:
There’s a Ton of Help Out There

by James Rosario

When you’re trying to get your film made on a budget that is non-existent, it helps to have all the help you can get. Actually, it’s essential to have all the help you can get. On set, this help usually comes in the form of friends that you can bribe with pizza or beer, or maybe other passionate D.I.Y. filmmakers who you can be certain will be calling on you when it’s their turn to make a film.

We all know, however, that there’s a lot more that goes into getting a film made than just yelling at your friends on set. The pre-production and post-production phases cannot be ignored or downplayed, and if you’re anything like me, you’d rather handle all of that yourself.

For me, the entire filmmaking process is a learning experience. From the earliest writing and planning stages, to creating the special effects, to the fine tuning with color grading, I want to know how to do it all. And did I mention that I have no budget? Here’s a short list of resources that I have found invaluable in getting my short films made. From tips from the pros, to building your own equipment, to creating professional looking effects, these sites have helped me through some rough patches in my filmmaking process. I hope you find them helpful.

No Film School

No Film School is a great place to start when you need help or inspiration. Often when I find myself in a bind, I, like you I’m sure, google my problem and see what pops up. Someone else has always had the same problem before you, and someone out there in internet land has helped them through it. No Film School always comes up in the search results. They offer all kinds of tutorials and articles on all manners of filmmaking. They know what they’re talking about and they want to help.

Frugal Filmmaker

When you really want that expensive piece of gear that you saw on Amazon, but you know you can’t afford it, The Frugal Flilmmaker has the answer for you. My closet is filled with camera rigs and other equipment I’ve built out of PVC and other inexpensive materials from his tutorials. He feels your pain as a D.I.Y. filmmaker and he’s got your back.  

Film Riot

Film Riot is another great resource. They offer plenty of builds and tips for the filmmaker on a budget of somewhere in the neighborhood of $0. Their special effects tutorials are not only fun to watch, but doable by anyone with any brand of editing software. They can also help you with that ever elusive “film look” that I and everybody else is after. They have hundreds of tutorials and helpful hints, I’m sure you’ll be able to find what you’re looking for.

Video Co-pilot

For your one stop special effects tutorial headquarters, check out Video Co-pilot. This site is great! If you love special effects and learning how they are created, you need to be all over this site. They offer really cool SFX packages that you can buy that come with all kinds of pre-keyed effects like explosions and blood splatters for a pretty reasonable price, but for my money (which is none), you can get nearly the same stuff over at Footage Crate for free. I use the two sites in tangent. The effects from Footage Crate, and the application from Video Co-pilot. After watching some of these tutorials, all you’re going to want to do is make people’s heads explode all day long.

Man Gets Struck by Lightning     Exploding Man

Having all of the expensive gear and equipment would be really cool to have, but they’re not going to make your movie for you, and they’re not going to make your movie good. Only you can do that. I hope the sites mentioned above, and the other thousands like them out there, will help you along your way, and maybe give you some inspiration. They’ve helped me, that’s for sure. Now, what are you waiting for? Don’t you have a head you need to explode or something?

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