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Tips on Amateur Movie Making

Apr 18, 2008
Amateur theatrical clubs, theater guilds, and the like, have done much to make the modern drama the great art that it is. But because of the overwhelming expense heretofore attached to the making of movies there have been no attempts at any similar activities in the films. The movies have never had the ad- vantage of the experiments of amateur societies.

Today, however, the making of movies by amateurs is a distinct possibility. The possibilities of making a motion picture at comparatively little expense were first drawn to public attention five years ago when two young men, both of whom have become well-known directors, made a saleable photoplay in their own back yard. These boys had many theories about what a movie should and should not be, but they could never find a company willing to give their theories a trial.

Finally they hit upon the original expedient of buying their own camera and making a picture in which nearly all the actors were children and which therefore cost very little money. Nearly all the scenes were exteriors, so that practically no scenery was required. The picture was most original and in spite of their technical shortcomings, they found a fairly profitable sale.

If you desire to write, direct or act in the pictures, you can have no better experience than trying to make a picture of your own, even if at first you are not very successful.

The great initial expense for this sort of thing is, of course, the outlay required to buy a camera. In most towns of any size there are now professional movie cameramen who may be hired for a comparatively small sum. If, however, you desire to make your photoplay an entirely amateur affair, you can buy a usable second-hand camera. Some one of your associates must make it his business to learn to run this camera with sufficient skill to insure that your film will not be wasted.

Start by writing a simple story into a scenario with as many exterior scenes as possible. The necessary interiors, such as rooms or hallways, may be built by your own amateurs, outdoors, as they are often built in California, so that no lights will be necessary. You can paint your own subtitle cards the written inserts and film them yourself. It is not necessary to make the scenes in their natural sequence.

If your scenario calls for an outdoor picture for example, a cowboy story which does not require costumes, you should be able to make it for a very small amount, provided your amateur actors, and amateur cameramen, and amateur authors are working for nothing. There are mighty few amateur theatricals of any pretention whatsoever which do not cost much and you should be able to take in a good profit if your picture is exploited in your local theaters.

There is no reason why an amateur company in which the cost of salaries is completely eliminated cannot make their own picture at a minimum expense. If you want to break into the movies, here is a way to do it, right in your own home town.

Whether you desire to break into the movies as writer, actor or director, your most important consideration will be the scenario. In the scenario you will find all the elements of the photoplay; everything is built upon that as a foundation. The actor or director who sincerely desires to do good work studies his script assiduously. The ambitious writer analyzes not only his own photoplays, but those of other people. It is exceedingly difficult to talk technique to anyone who has never read a scenario.
About the Author
Malcolm Blake has researched and written about movies and entertainment, including the Zune
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