4 ways to write, direct and edit your own movie

Table of contents:

4 ways to write, direct and edit your own movie
4 ways to write, direct and edit your own movie

Have you ever wanted to make your own movie? Writing, directing, and learning how to edit your own film is an overwhelming proposition, but it gives you as much creative control as possible over your work. You have to be prepared to put in a lot of effort not only to make the movie, but also to have fun. So find some friends, get a camera and get ready for the shoot that Hollywood calls you.


Method 1 of 4: Write Your Movie

Write, Direct and Edit Your Own Movie Step 1
Write, Direct and Edit Your Own Movie Step 1

Step 1. Come up with an idea

Unless you have an imagination the size of Oceania, this will be the hardest part. However, coming up with an idea for the movie doesn't have to be an intense showdown with the artistic muse. Try to come up with a good sentence, such as one you've read in a movie description, to serve as the basis for yours. What is the conflict, the character or the story that you want to tell? Keep a few things in mind when planning:

  • Smaller is better: If you're filming on your own, each extra character, location, and special effect is going to require funding and will have to be resolved at some point.
  • What genre are you looking to interpret? Comedy, science fiction, drama? Once you know the genre you can start to think of plots and characters that fit together.
  • What combinations of movies have you not seen? Although it may seem childish, almost all movies and television shows are a hybrid of other films, television productions and genres. For example, Twilight is "Vampires" + "Romance Novel". Have you ever seen a comic western? How about stoner sci-fi? How can you match your interests in unexpected ways?
  • Where do you have experience? Can you comment on the daily life of an office worker in an original way? Do you know more about disc golf than anyone else? Is there a movie somewhere about these experiences?
  • Look up long lines from your favorite movies for inspiration. There are phrases similar to synopses that are used to sell the script to industry executives. You can search thousands of them on the Internet.
Write, Direct and Edit Your Own Movie Step 2
Write, Direct and Edit Your Own Movie Step 2

Step 2. Make up the characters

These drive the story. Almost all movies are the result of a character who wants something, but cannot get it. So, the film shows the trials and tribulations of the characters when they are trying to fulfill their wishes (get the girl, save the world, graduate from university, among others). The audience relates to the character, not the movie, so you have to make sure you think through the characters before you start. Good characters have the following characteristics:

  • They are complete. This means that they have several facets, not just the angry man or the strong heroine. Full characters have strengths and weaknesses, which makes the audience relatable to them.
  • They have wishes and fears. Even if there were only one of each, a good character wants something, but can't get it. Your ability or inability to overcome your fear (of being poor, being alone, aliens, spiders, etc.) is what drives the conflict.
  • Have agency. A good character is not forced to do things because the script needs him to go somewhere. A good character makes the decisions that drive the plot. Sometimes it's a single good choice that drives everything else (Lewellyn in No Place for the Weak), other times it's a series of bad or good decisions in each scene (American Scandal).
Write, Direct and Edit Your Own Movie Step 3
Write, Direct and Edit Your Own Movie Step 3

Step 3. Outline the main ideas of the plot of your movie

Some people like to imagine people and a premise, and then start writing. However, all the scriptwriters value a 5-point plot, where the film is made up of 5 key moments that are escalating. Almost all films follow this general structure, from Jurassic Park and Just Friends to Jupiter's Fate. 'This is not to say that your script should follow this template, but there is a method to go crazy. There are 5 main moments in all movies that fall in the same place and you need a good reason to deviate from the system if you want to be original:

  • Base:

    Who are your characters, where do they live and what do they want to do? This is the first 10% or less of your movie.

  • The change of plans, the opportunity or the conflict:

    something happens that sets the conflict in motion, for example, Erin Brockovich gets a job, the Super Cool school organizes a party, Neo is introduced to the Matrix, among others. This is roughly the 1/3 mark of the dash.

  • The point of no return:

    Up to this point, the characters go to great lengths to make their goals come true. However, in the middle of the movie, something happens so that it becomes impossible to go back. A Bond villain strikes again, the Gladiator arrives in Rome, Thelma and Louise rob a store for the first time, among others.

  • The main recoil:

    From the point of no return, more is at stake now. For both the character and the audience, everything seems lost. This is when the girl and the boy in every romantic comedy out there break up, when Ron Burgundy is fired in The Reporter: The Legend of Ron Burgundy and when John McClane is defeated and bloodied in Hard to Kill. This part appears when the story is at the 75% mark.

  • The climax:

    the characters make one last all-out effort to achieve their goals, culminating in the greatest challenge of all. This is the moment of the race to the airport, the final holes of Los locos del golf or the final duel between the hero and the villain. Once resolved, the last 10% of the script ties up loose ends and shows what happens after the climax.

Write, Direct and Edit Your Own Movie Step 4
Write, Direct and Edit Your Own Movie Step 4

Step 4. Write the script

If you are producing a movie on your own, you can use whatever writing format you like. However, a computer scriptwriting program, such as Celtx, Writer Duets, and Final Draft, will help you to have a studio-quality format and provide you with specific tools for screenwriters. These programs will format automatically and are a great way to find out how long your movie will last: 1 page of script equals approximately 1 minute of screen time.

  • Put some notes on things like the setting, the setting, and the actors, but focus primarily on the dialogue. You'll have to make other decisions later, when you have cameras, actors, and locations.
  • Get ready to write again. It's almost impossible for every moment, including characters, plot, themes, jokes, and more, to turn out right on the first try. Once you're done, go back to the script and try to read it objectively. Would you see this movie?
Write, Direct and Edit Your Own Movie Step 5
Write, Direct and Edit Your Own Movie Step 5

Step 5. Do a script reading to improve your writing

This practice is essential to perfect a good script and prepare to shoot. Gather a couple of friends or actors and give each of them the script 2-3 days in advance. Then invite them to your house and rehearse the whole movie. Have them enunciate the roles while you or someone else narrates the actions. Take note of any lines that feel unnatural or strange, when a scene doesn't live up to expectations, and how long it takes to read the script.

  • Ask the actors or friends what they think. Where did they get confused? What part did you like? Ask them if they felt the character was well thought out and consistent.
  • Try not to play a role and just listen. Do you hear your movie come to life? Sound like you expected me to? You have to listen to the moments right now, not when the cameras are turned on.

Method 2 of 4: Prepare for Production

Write, Direct and Edit Your Own Movie Step 6
Write, Direct and Edit Your Own Movie Step 6

Step 1. Make a list of all the equipment you have and what you need

Making movies requires many implements, such as cameras, microphones, and lights. Take a quick inventory of the equipment you have, then find ways to fill in the gaps:

  • Cameras:

    of course, you will never be able to shoot a movie without a camera. For most movies, you need at least 2 cameras, and preferably 3. With this in mind, advances in modern cameras have made it possible to shoot a movie with an iPhone 6, so it is no longer necessary that you spend a lot of money. The most important thing for professional film is to have cameras that record in the same format (eg 1080i), otherwise the video quality will change slightly with each shot.

  • Microphones:

    If you had the budget reduced, spend it on the audio equipment as it is proven that the public notices a bad sound before a bad video. Although if you had no other option you could use the microphones that are built into the camera, it will always be worth investing in a Tascam or shotgun microphone.

  • Illumination:

    If you can get some great 3-5 piece lighting kit, use it. These lights have a variety of functions and settings to help you illuminate any situation you can imagine. However, many independent movies have been lit with about 5 to 10 inexpensive clamp-on lamps and some extension cords. All you need are lights and different bulbs (tungsten, matte, LED, among others) to customize the scene.

  • Essential accessories:

    Depending on the film, you will need memory cards, an external hard drive, tripods, reflectors, extensions, electrical tape (to cover or hold cables), and video editing software.

Write, Direct and Edit Your Own Movie Step 7
Write, Direct and Edit Your Own Movie Step 7

Step 2. Storyboard for each scene

Storyboards have a comic-like appearance. The overall shot is drawn and the dialogue to be said is added underneath. Scripts are like checklists when you are filming and help you capture every shot you need so that when you edit, you don't suddenly realize that you are missing something.

  • Each box you draw becomes a shot list: a detailed book that contains each of the camera angles that you have to capture to tell the story. Once the storyboard is finished, copy it and put it in a filing cabinet for later reference.
  • Take notes on cuts and transitions and essential sound effects. These drawings do not have to be art, but they have to tell the story of the film visually.
  • These may feel tedious, but they will save you time on set, which quickly becomes expensive.
Write, Direct and Edit Your Own Movie Step 8
Write, Direct and Edit Your Own Movie Step 8

Step 3. Find the sets and locations

There are many schools of thought on set choice and none are wrong. You can build your own to have the most creative control, but it will take time and a lot of money. You can film at home and locations that you have quick access to, like your friend's house or backyard. Another alternative is to rent spaces that you like or get the necessary permits to film in a school, a hotel or a park. No matter what you do, make sure the set fits well with the film and allows you and your crew to occupy the entire space for several hours without being disturbed.

Write, Direct and Edit Your Own Movie Step 9
Write, Direct and Edit Your Own Movie Step 9

Step 4. Use the storyboard and equipment list to make a budget

This is the moment that all filmmakers surely hate the most, but you need to have a realistic idea of the cost of your movie before you start shooting. For example, you don't want to get to the middle of the shoot and find that you don't have the money to rent a car for the climax chase scene. Make a simple and realistic budget. Do you really need 10 prop guns or can you get by with 2? Can you delete or change a scene with 100 extras so that you have 10? You have to consider the following in your budget:

  • Equipment that does not currently belong to you.
  • Props, costumes, and locations (like renting a dance hall or restaurant).
  • The fees of the actors and the equipment. It is possible to get them without paying, but it is rare that people help you for more than 1 or 2 days without you paying them.
  • Food and transportation costs for you, the crew, and the actors.
  • You should know that for a "professional" shot with paid actors and crew, you must have a budget of "minimum" $ 5000 a day.
Write, Direct and Edit Your Own Movie Step 10
Write, Direct and Edit Your Own Movie Step 10

Step 5. Hire actors and team members

You have the characters, the shot list, and the necessary equipment. Now you need someone to use it all. The way to cast actors is a personal choice, you can audition through Craigslist or a newspaper post, go to local theaters or involve your friends. In the case of team members, there are several positions that you have to fill:

  • Director of Photography (DF):

    It can be argued that it is the most important job, since it is in charge of the cameras and lights. While you direct the actors and have the last word on the scene, this person controls the technical aspects of the film. You're going to need someone who understands lenses, cameras, and lighting, even if it's just a friend who likes photography. It's very, very difficult to effectively light a scene, position cameras, supervise actors, and set up the scene at the same time, so get someone to take some of the load off you and allow you to direct.

  • Assistant Director (DA)- Schedule shots, make sure shot list is carried out, record small scenes if director is busy. It could also help with the budget.
  • Camera and microphone operators:

    It is self explanatory, but it is essential. You won't be able to make a good movie without them.

  • Makeup artist:

    although anyone can do it, their main job is continuity. Unless you spend a lot of time in your movie, you will need the actor's face and costumes to look the same in all scenes, otherwise the audience will notice the changes. Take photos of the costume, makeup, and scenes every day to make sure they look the same.

  • Sound engineer:

    listens to all sounds when they are being recorded and ensures they are okay. He also places the microphones to pick up dialogue after the lights have been placed.

  • Line producer:

    reviews locations ahead of time, makes sure permits and contracts are written and signed.

  • Production assistant:

    They are always useful, they are the people who do what needs to be done, for example, preparing food and coffee, cleaning memory cards and even holding the camera when necessary. You will never have enough team members.

Write, Direct and Edit Your Own Movie Step 11
Write, Direct and Edit Your Own Movie Step 11

Step 6. Sign contracts

It doesn't matter who you're working with or what project it's about, get them to sign a contract for you. This instrument will protect you in case of accidents, legally obliges people to comply with the film until it is complete and avoids lawsuits in case they choose it. You can search for "Movie actor contract", "Producer contract", among others, on the Internet.

  • Paradoxically, contracts are an excellent way to preserve a friendship. Instead of discussing something later, you can simply refer to what is in writing.
  • Make sure you have a clause, especially for actors, that requires them to finish the film once they start shooting.
Write, Direct and Edit Your Own Movie Step 12
Write, Direct and Edit Your Own Movie Step 12

Step 7. Make a filming schedule

The realistic thing is, unless you have a few people on the script and between 1 and 2 locations, you will only get 5 to 10 pages of the script on a good day. For large or difficult scenes, you may be able to shoot 2-3 pages. The more time you spend filming, the better; however, the more time you spend filming, the more money you will spend as well. How you balance this will depend on a few factors:

  • What scenes take place in the same location? Can you film them the same day, even if it was in disorder?
  • What scenes have huge shot lists? Carrying out these will ensure that "big" scenes will fit the way you want them.
  • Is there a shot you can do without if you lack time or money? Save them for last.
  • This schedule could be flexible and is likely to be. However, the more you respect it, the better.

Method 3 of 4: Burn Your Movie

Write, Direct and Edit Your Own Movie Step 13
Write, Direct and Edit Your Own Movie Step 13

Step 1. Prepare for everything in advance

You must be the first on set and the last to leave every day. Shooting a movie is not easy and you will have to assume that anything could go wrong. Actors get sick, the weather doesn't help, and there are over 100 little decisions (lighting, character placement, costumes) that have to be made every hour. The only way to have a successful shot is to get as much work done as you can before you even start.

  • Review the list of shots for the day. What do you have to achieve and what can you cut if time runs out?
  • Rehearse with actors. Make sure they know their lines and how you want them to interpret them.
  • Check out the lighting and camera options with the DF.
Write, Direct and Edit Your Own Movie Step 14
Write, Direct and Edit Your Own Movie Step 14

Step 2. Let everyone know what to expect at the start of the shot

Give them details in a clear way from the beginning. This is very important in the case of movies that have a low budget, as there will be performances and work that you will get for free. Let the cast and crew know your goals for the day's shot and how much you appreciate their support.

  • Hand out the day's schedule in advance so everyone is prepared.
  • Let the team know about any special effects or sensations you want to achieve and how they can help you create it.
  • Review the filming procedures so everyone knows their role.
Write, Direct and Edit Your Own Movie Step 15
Write, Direct and Edit Your Own Movie Step 15

Step 3. Prepare your scene planning

In planning the actors know where they are and where they are going. This is the first step to any filming and the most essential: no light, camera or sound can be placed until after it is finished. If the scene is well rehearsed this part will be easy. If not, you will have to spend some time placing the actors in the right places.

  • Make this process as simple as possible: walking in straight lines, basic entrances and exits, and mostly stationary positions. This is not a work and the cameras will only capture a small fraction of the entire scene. Let the camera do the movement when possible, not the actors.
  • Masking tape can be placed on the floor to indicate to the actors where to finish after each take.
  • It is often possible to plan ahead with team members or a detailed shot list to save time. If you have the planning already written, the filming will be much more productive.
Write, Direct and Edit Your Own Movie Step 16
Write, Direct and Edit Your Own Movie Step 16

Step 4. Put the cameras in place

There are countless ways to position, move and use them. This is why a shot list, which is basically a list of already established camera positions, is vital to save time and money. To save time, the three essential angles of a camera in a dialogue scene are as follows:

  • Establishment plan:

    These shots contain all the action of the scene: the characters that speak, the scene and the movements. They are long and wide shots that you could use to film the whole scene, if something goes wrong, they capture everything.

  • Two-sided plan (2 cameras):

    a camera on the shoulder of each actor pointed at the other. This way you can see each character when they speak.

  • When shooting 3 or more actors, try to lock them so that you have 2 characters in the frame at the same time, this way you only need one camera to capture their dialogue.
  • Watch your favorite movies with a discerning eye. For example, how can a camera capture a romantic dinner between two people? You will notice these three camera angles (one or both + the table, one of the boy, one of the girl) more than any other set of shots.
Write, Direct and Edit Your Own Movie Step 17
Write, Direct and Edit Your Own Movie Step 17

Step 5. Set the lights

Remember that it is always better to have more lighting than to have less. It's easy to darken an image in post-production, but it's very difficult to lighten it without sacrificing image quality. Take advantage of natural light when possible and, above all, keep things simple. The goal is a nice, gradual range of highlights: deep, dark shadows and very few large bright areas.

  • Put the camera in black and white to see only the clarity of the image. If it's still an interesting shot in black and white, it will look amazing in color.
  • The hour and a half around sunrise and sunset is considered the best time to shoot in natural light. The lighting is soft and even, and you can even use this moment to illuminate "night" shots, which are dimmed later in post-production.
  • Use lights on the scene. Do you have trouble getting the light to fit you? Put a lamp in the socket or turn on the ceiling lights.
Write, Direct and Edit Your Own Movie Step 18
Write, Direct and Edit Your Own Movie Step 18

Step 6. You must know how to start a shot

Techniques for starting a movie will change from set to set, but not between blunts. Having a routine before you start recording will ensure that everyone is on the same page at all times. When possible, this will be the duty of the assistant director. A model routine will include the following:

  • "Quiet with everyone please, let's roll!"
  • "Sound!" This is the signal to start with the microphones. When it is done someone yells "Recording!"
  • "Cameras!" This is the signal to start with the cameras. When it's finished, someone will normally yell "Recording!"
  • Read aloud the title, scene, and take number. "This is my movie, Scene 1, Take 2." If you had a ribbon, it closes and someone yells "Camera!"
  • 3 to 5 seconds of silence.
  • "Action!"
Write, Direct and Edit Your Own Movie Step 19
Write, Direct and Edit Your Own Movie Step 19

Step 7. Take cover when you have the scene you want

Pick a few extreme angles, interesting shots of the environment, or close-ups of the characters' faces, hands, or props, and redo the scene. These shots will be only 1 to 2 seconds long, but they are essential for editing. Watch any movie and see how many small and possibly pointless shots are used to delve into the world of the scene, show an emotional twist, or just transition from one scene to another. Record these takes once the actors have enunciated the lines as you like.

Do the characters talk about the cake on the table? Then you will have to film only the cake on the table. Do you have to show what time it is? Then you will need a socket of the clock on the wall

Write, Direct and Edit Your Own Movie Step 20
Write, Direct and Edit Your Own Movie Step 20

Step 8. Review your shots every day and cross off your shot list

You may have to make sacrifices depending on your budget and time, but even Hollywood directors have to. After each day, make sure you have everything you want and need, then cross it off your list. You have to know at that moment and not three months later when you start editing, if something is missing.

Write, Direct and Edit Your Own Movie Step 21
Write, Direct and Edit Your Own Movie Step 21

Step 9. Pick B-roll shots

These are simply the shots that do not include actors. They are typically used in transitions, opening or closing credits, or when filing a new location. Go out with the camera and the DF and record as many hours of shooting as you can. The main objective is to think of material that complements the film. For example, the B-roll in Intoxicated with Love is a series of abstract, multi-colored shots that match the protagonist's confused, anxious, and incapacitated state of mind. Spy movies usually have a lot of B-Roll of beautiful beaches, bustling cities, and dramatic landscapes. The B-roll tells the story in a subtle and visual way.

  • You can never have enough B-roll. When you edit, this will be the connecting fabric that holds the scenes together to make the movie sound.
  • You can and should record the B-roll before and after a scene ends, as these 2-3 seconds are a great way to slowly introduce your audience into the scene.
Write, Direct and Edit Your Own Movie Step 22
Write, Direct and Edit Your Own Movie Step 22

Step 10. Make a backup copy of the material every day

At the end of recording, take your time to extract the material from the memory cards and download it to a secure external hard drive. This little step at the end of the day can save you hours and hours of work in the unfortunate event that you lose the recording.

  • Most professionals use more than one backup, copying all the material to at least two sources before erasing anything from memory cards.
  • Take this time to organize your supplies as well. Make a file for the day you are going to record, then organize the material in the folder by scene. Thus, filming will be much easier.

Method 4 of 4: Edit Your Movie

Write, Direct and Edit Your Own Movie Step 23
Write, Direct and Edit Your Own Movie Step 23

Step 1. Choose the right editing software for your movie

There are many options you can choose from when it comes to video editing software (often referred to as non-linear editing programs, or NLEs), from free ones like iMovie and Windows Movie Maker to a complex and professional powerhouse like Final Cut Pro and Adobe Premier. Which one you choose to use will largely depend on your personal preferences and the type of project you are working on:

  • A free program like iMovie and Windows Movie Maker it is very useful for small movies, usually of any length less than 20 minutes. They are not designed to handle a lot of video and camera angles and have a limited number of transitions and effects.
  • A paid program it is necessary for any aspiring filmmaker. If you use multiple cameras in a scene, need smooth text, transitions or effects, or just want a professional program, you will have to invest in a good one. Currently, the three "industry standard" programs are Avid, Final Cut X, and Adobe Premier. Each comes with a steep price tag, typically $ 400 and up. However, sometimes you can subscribe to one of them by paying a small monthly fee.
Write, Direct and Edit Your Own Movie Step 24
Write, Direct and Edit Your Own Movie Step 24

Step 2. Import a scene into the video editor

For a short movie (less than 20 to 30 minutes) you can probably import all your footage at once. But if you are going to make a feature film or are just going to work with many camera angles, it will be better to edit the film in parts. Import only the material you require for the scene, as well as the relevant B-roll.

If you have many cameras in the same scene, use the program's "Sync" option to align them all. To find the program's "multi-camera edit mode" that will make it easy to switch between multiple shots simultaneously, search the Internet for "Multi-camera edit in [Your Show]". This feature equates all cameras so you don't have to spend hours making sure each cut is on time with the last shot

Write, Direct and Edit Your Own Movie Step 25
Write, Direct and Edit Your Own Movie Step 25

Step 3. Use the first few shots to set the mood and theme for the scene

The first few shots will determine your focus. You have almost an infinite number of options, but the most common include the following:

  • The establishment plan:

    this is the most common way to start a scene. This shot shows all the actors, the scene, and the location at the same time. It allows the audience to get an idea of the scene and then they can follow the rest of the cuts that come.

  • Focus on the character:

    Whether they say the first line or not, following the main character in the scene tells the audience that this is the person they have to pay attention to, because something will happen to him or he will realize something.

  • Set the scene:

    use the B-roll and shots of the room or surroundings to give an idea of the location. This method is used in many movies, especially horror, where a scene could start with 5-6 spooky shots of a haunted house or dangerous room.

Write, Direct and Edit Your Own Movie Step 26
Write, Direct and Edit Your Own Movie Step 26

Step 4. Build the dialogue around the best shots of the actors

Go back through all the footage and see which scenes you like the most, where they all meet their marks, the dialogue feels natural, and the shot is clear and focused. If you find a shot where everything is well done, you are lucky and your work will go much faster.

Write, Direct and Edit Your Own Movie Step 27
Write, Direct and Edit Your Own Movie Step 27

Step 5. Show each character as they enunciate their lines

This rule is not set in stone, but you should almost always start there. From there, you can decide whether it is more important to watch a character listening or speaking. Check out Whiplash: Music and Obsession or Bloody Oil if you want to get a good idea of where the focus of the scene should be in dialogue-oriented movies.

The best character to display in a scene is usually a matter of intuition. Who do you feel should be the focus of the line? Do any of the actors interpret a very good expression or reaction to something? Where would your gaze go if you were sitting in a room with the actors?

Write, Direct and Edit Your Own Movie Step 28
Write, Direct and Edit Your Own Movie Step 28

Step 6. Fill in any gaps or mistakes from the B-roll and other takes

Sometimes you don't get a good shot and you will have to combine quite a bit of material to make a scene work. This is very common, but it shouldn't be difficult if the actors go through their planning correctly all the time. This is the time to add detail and color to the scene. For example, a character could offer someone the cake on the table and you can make the cut after taking a shot of the cake. Another option is that, in a scene of intense interrogation, you could show the criminal's face up close, sweating and worried, before making the cut and returning to the next line of dialogue.

There is no correct way to edit a scene, as long as you remember that first of all your intention is to tell a story. Let the pictures do the talking as much as possible

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Write, Direct and Edit Your Own Movie Step 29

Step 7. Adjust the timing of the scene to give it rhythm

Editing is about modifying the rhythm and timing. You need the film to flow naturally. This is why editors think in terms of individual frames, the still microsecond shots seen if you pause the screen, rather than thinking in seconds. Many editors adjust to the music for this reason and edit the frames to fit a beat or song, which gives the scene rhythm. You don't have to limit yourself to the natural rhythm of the actors on screen, and in many cases you shouldn't. Adding or removing pauses, even a few tenths of a second, can turn a good performance into a great one. For instance:

  • High-energy, comic, or action scenes have very fast timing. There are not many spaces between the lines and the words almost overlap to be emitted. This makes the scene feel fast and alive.
  • Tense scenes are generally the slowest. The pauses are lengthened, the B-roll is used a lot, and the takes are held for a long time to make the viewer feel uncomfortable. In the case of a slowed down masterclass, look at 12 Years of Slavery, especially the scene that hangs in the middle of the movie.
  • It takes the human brain between 3 and 5 frames to recognize an image. This means that if you try to keep things going too fast, you could confuse the audience.
Write, Direct and Edit Your Own Movie Step 30
Write, Direct and Edit Your Own Movie Step 30

Step 8. Learn the different types of cut to edit professionally

Editing is the art of telling a story through cuts. In other words, a movie is simply a series of videos that are put side by side and how you cut from one to the other is how the story is perceived by the audience. Therefore, the way you order the cut from one video to another is the only thing that matters when you are editing a movie. The main cuts do not have transitions, they tell the story without the audience realizing that it has passed from one scene to another.

  • " Hard cut": An immediate cut to another angle, usually in the same scene. This is the most common cut in the film.
  • " Smash cut": an abrupt change to a completely different scene. This draws attention to the cut and often signals surprise or a big change in plot.
  • " Jump cut": an abrupt cut that is made within the same scene, often at a slightly different angle. They are rarer and usually show confusion or the passage of time.
  • " J-Cut": when you listen to the audio of the next shot before watching the video. This is a great way to link two scenes thematically or provide a narrative.
  • " L-Cut": when you watch the video for the next take before listening to the audio. This is a great way to show a character talking about something, such as a promise, and then follow through (or not keep it).
  • " Action Cut": a cut in the middle of the action, for example, if someone opens the door, what is hidden in it. For example, a character could approach to give a kiss and as his head crosses the screen you make a cut in which a head enters the screen from another angle, usually that of the person about to receive a kiss.
Write, Direct and Edit Your Own Movie Step 31
Write, Direct and Edit Your Own Movie Step 31

Step 9. Join the scenes with B-roll and transitions

Once you have the scenes done, it will be time to start putting them together. If you've edited all the scenes as separate files, import them into a new Master Movie project and put them in order. Then use the B-roll, cover shots, and transitions to seamlessly transition from one to the other. Although at first you had to pay attention to the timing of the scenes, now you will have to observe the timing of the movie. Can you cut out a scene in this part and make things move faster? Need a bit more B-roll between scenes to give your audience time to react to a dramatic moment? Again, timing is everything.

  • This is a good time to ask a friend to watch the movie with you. Do you understand everything that is happening? Is there a point in the plot that gets lost in playback and needs more time? Is there a point that is overly explained and can be cut?
  • In general, the more cuts, the better your movie will be. If there's a scene that's not working well and doesn't add anything useful to the plot, get rid of it.
Write, Direct and Edit Your Own Movie Step 32
Write, Direct and Edit Your Own Movie Step 32

Step 10. Correct the color and sound of the film to make it more professional

Once you have the best possible film, it will be time for the long cleaning process. The last steps that are also the most important for professional film are color correction and sound mixing. Although there are entire books written on the subject, the best advice is that everything is consistent, that is, that the scenes have similar lighting and color and do not have places where the sound is very loud or difficult to hear.

There are many studios that can perform professional color correction and sound mixing for a low fee. If you are not sure how to do it and you want a professional film, you would definitely be better off paying for professional color grading and sound mixing

Write, Direct and Edit Your Own Movie Step 33
Write, Direct and Edit Your Own Movie Step 33

Step 11. Edit to tell the story, not to be flashy

There are many flashy, famous, and stylish movies that seem like a great copycat idea. For example, Quentin Tarantino and Guy Ritchie have seen their animated and kinetic styles in films like Pulp Fiction and Games, Traps and Two Smoking Guns that have been appropriated by filmmakers everywhere. What these people don't realize is that these directors chose that style because it suited the film. Editing looks straightforward because it just lets the stories (kinetic and action-oriented stories) take center stage. Job number one when editing is to let the story unfold naturally. You will guide the viewer, but at no time should they comment on the issue. The best edit is invisible.


  • Try writing some music to go with the movie, as it will add a special touch.
  • Have the actors review the script and ask them to write things that they would like to include in the movie. Try to arrange them in a logical sequence and make sure they are not too outrageous for the movie.
  • Many cities have corridors that can be rented if a more spacious set is needed.
  • Try to have fun on set because it will make acting easier than being serious all the time. You could even have a special meeting so that you and the actors can talk about the movie, the characters, the sets, and the outfits you are going to wear and express ideas they have about how to make the movie more interesting.
  • Fade-ins, fade-outs and single fade look more professional than other transitions like sweeps or flips.
  • Try adding the dubbing sounds, they give the movie a special touch.


  • Be careful with this, as the sun shining from your back could cast shadows on the recording.
  • If you shoot outdoors, the sun could hit the camera at a bad angle. To avoid this, shoot on a cloudy day or move around until the sun is facing the cameraman's back.

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