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How to Hone Your Personal Filmmaking Style

You’ve gathered your equipment. You’ve written the perfect script. Now, it’s time to get some practice behind the camera. What senses do you want to evoke in your viewers?

Different shots, angles, and lights can help you achieve your desired effect. Learn how to hone your personal filmmaking style and soon, you’ll cultivate a signature flair in your movies.

Learn From the Greats

Next time you watch one of your favorite movies, keep a pen and paper in hand (or take notes on your phone). What makes Wes Anderson’s films so quirky and colorful?

How does Alfred Hitchcock build that famous suspense? Look beyond the plot and dialogue; pay attention to how the camera moves and how light and shadow affect the mood of the scene.

Practice, Practice, and Practice Some More

Get to know your camera. Work with it every day, even if you’re just shooting general footage around the house. Before you begin production on your movie, familiarize yourself with all the equipment you’ll use.

If you’re going to use a stabilizer vest, practice walking with it on. If you’ve got a drone to capture footage from a distance, make sure you know how to use it.

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Start Small

Before you dive into making a feature, why not make a short film? Shorts are perfect for submitting to film festivals. If one of your short pieces garners a lot of praise, it can be a jumping-off point for your full-length feature.

Before director Jared Hess made Napoleon Dynamite as the cult classic we know today, he made it as a black-and-white short called Peluca, featuring many of the same characters. If your ideas are strong, don’t be afraid to expand on them!

As you dive into your directorial career, take inspiration from the world around you. Use your camera to explore the world in a way that feels personal to you. These tips on how to hone your personal filmmaking style can get you started on your journey to cinematic success.

Find Out What Tools and Techniques You Prefer

It’s hard to improve your own style until you know which techniques work best with your concepts. In fact, the lenses used by some of our industry’s most important and iconic filmmakers may be used to define them.

The more you experiment with various tools and approaches, the sooner you’ll find the mix of elements that will make your videos stand out. You could discover, like Kubrick, that the narrative you wish to tell might benefit from extra lengthy takes.

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We also recommend knowing which lenses work best for which genres of films.

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