So You Wanna be a Filmmaker?

Filming THE AMGYDALA PROJECT was more than just fun and fulfilling… it was a great learning experience. I learned more on set filming it than I did watching the hundreds of hours of filmmaking videos and tutorials leading up to the project.

A photo posted by Kenn Crawford (@kenncrawford) on

I didn’t actually keep track of how many books, videos and podcasts I studied over the years, but suffice it to say that reading, watching or listening is still no substitute to actually Doing.

If you want to be a filmmaker you have to make films. It really is that simple.

THE FINAL GOODBYE was my first film – a no-budget, 8-minute short about a war vet filled with darkness and sorrow when he visits his mother’s grave to say one final goodbye. I’ve shot countless hours of videos, took tens of thousands of pictures as a photographer, and I directed comedy shows, but filmmaking is another matter entirely.  Everything I learned over the years had served me well and gave me a great foundation, but being on set and yelling “Action” is when your real education begins.

A few people have asked me how they could get into filmmaking and my answer is always the same: Write a great script. Not a good script, not a script that just needs a little work, a great script. It has to be perfect.  Once you have the perfect script, gather up your friends and shoot it.

It doesn’t have to be any more complicated than that. You’ll make mistakes and things will go wrong but guess what? That’s how you make better films – by making mistakes. By getting knocked down, getting back up, dusting yourself off, and doing it again. And again. And again.

If your movie would be awesome if you could get so-and-so to act in it – you need to write a better script. If all you need is _______ to make your movie – write a better script. They say you’re only as good as your weakest link and believe me your script better not be anything but the strongest link!

Great actors cannot bring life to a dull script. Expensive cameras, the most kick-ass locations, and having a special effects wizard on speed dial will not make a great film – only the script can help you do that so it has to be perfect.

With free screenwriting software like Celtx available for PCs and Mac, as well as apps for Android and iOS, there is no excuse why you cannot be sitting down right now and writing your perfect screenplay.

When you’re ready to start filming forget about needing this or needing that – use what you have, even if all you have is an iphone. Remember, TANGERINE, a film that won 22 awards, was shot entirely on iPhones. So tell me again why you can’t make your movie?

So you wanna be a filmmaker? Then stop thinking about being a filmmaker  – write the great script, gather up your friends, and shoot your movie!