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From Script to Screen: A Guide to Building a Successful Career as a Film Maker

Career as a Film Maker

Do movies and films interest you? There are different kinds of career opportunities in movies, while most of people dream of becoming actors, there are several other options too like a film director, Video Designer, Cinematographer, Choreographer, etc. If you have a creative side and want to make films then you should try to opt for a career in filmmaking (especially direction).

Film Maker is probably the most important person in filmmaking, he or she is the captain of the ship. They give direction to the film; they visualize each scene of the film and make it happen. Everyone in the movie making follows the direction of the filmmaker. If you are a filmmaker, your role will come from conceptualizing the film script, finding actors for each role, scouting locations for shooting, imagining each scene, directing each scene, getting best out of actors, helping actors understand the scene, coordinating between each unit of the movie, working on post-production, finalizing the final movie out of all shots, etc.

Why become a film maker?

A filmmaker oversees the shooting of the screenplay of a movie (feature film or short film) while directing and controlling the entire process (from scriptwriting and pre-production to shooting and post-production) and guiding the other team members such as actors, cinematographers, screenwriters etc. As a filmmaker, you will coordinate the creative skills of the personnel and derive the best from them. You will think the creative ideas to interpret the script in an entertaining and effective way that must be understandable to the audience.

As a filmmaker or director, you will be in charge of all activities while making a film. You will design the whole film and its scenes by shooting at various places according to the script. You may either write your own story or may coordinate with another writer. You will give directions to the actors/actress and decide their role. While you will handle the creative work but sometimes you will be required to perform the other functions too such as managing financial matters, writing the screenplays, editing the videos and stories etc., and playing the technical role while working with sound engineers, technicians, checking the lighting, graphics etc.

If you are into digital filmmaking, then you will be working to create a film digitally. While some part of the film may require shooting, most of the sections of the film will come through computer-generated effects commonly known as VFX. Here, too you will play the same part of visualizing each scene and explaining it to the team so that they can develop them.

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  1. Director (Feature Film): Feature films are generally based on fictional stories which are made in a theatrical or dramatic style. Feature films could also be made on the basis of real-life incidents or on a famous person’s life (biopics). But in all cases, there is dramatization of a certain degree.
  2. Director (Documentary Film): Documentary films are generally based on non-fictional real-life stories or incidents or on the work of a person or on the life of a person. Documentary films are mostly made to inform or educate.
  3. Digital Film Maker: As a digital filmmaker, you will make a film by using different modern techniques and processes. You will use the latest technology to make a film such as software, digital cameras with high megapixels, computers, storage devices etc. to create better visions and sound qualities. You will create computerized characters and backgrounds to create 3D visuals.
  4. Director (Commercial Film): Commercial films are shot to advertise a product or service with the purpose to communicate and influence sales of the products and services.

What does a film maker do?

As a filmmaker, you will be required to fulfill the following roles and responsibilities.

  • As a director, you will choose all the members working for a movie such as cast members, production designers, technicians, photographers, cinematographers, etc. and gives direction to them related to all creative and technical work.
  • You will take the auditions for the selection of an actor/actress who will fit in the role of the character.
  • You will coordinate with each team member such as writers, editors, costume designers, producers, musicians, camera persons, photographers, etc.
  • You will be responsible for developing, shooting and marketing the movie.
  • You will read and interpret the scripts and provide feedback to the writers for further any change in the script.
  • As a director, you will monitor the progress of actors and motivate them to derive their best performances.
  • You will research and identify the various locations to shoot the scenes.
  • Sometimes, you will be required to make editing in the script and shoot scenes to make it in a final form.
  • You will oversee the rehearsals on the set and monitor the progress in the production of the film.
  • You will prepare and calculate the budget and raise finance for the production work.
  • You will hire musicians and composers to decide the musical track for the film.
  • It is the responsibility of a director to not show any offense or unsocial matter in the film for the sake of entertainment which may not be desirable to the audience.
  • If you are a digital filmmaker, then you will explain each scene to your creative team so that they can create these scenes through VFX.

How to become a film maker – eligibility criteria

To become a filmmaker, you can do a Bachelor’s or Post Graduate Degree or a Diploma in any of the following fields:

  1. Film and Television Direction
  2. Film and Television Production
  3. Film and Television Studies
  4. Film and Video Editing
  5. Film Design & Technology
  6. Film and Video Design and Communication

Educational fees

The cost of pursuing a degree in filmmaking varies depending on the institute and course duration. It can range from Rs. 1,00,000 to Rs. 10,00,000 in India.

Job Opportunities

As a filmmaker, you can start your career by getting training as an assistant director. Some filmmakers also start as an actor, writers, and cinematographers while learning the working environment.

You can be hired as a digital sound engineer, content producer, graphic designer, technical consultant, or editor, at an entry-level.

You might get opportunities by working for different language feature films (like Bollywood), or short films, or TV series, or digital films, animation films, or theatre, etc.

Salary of a film maker

  • At the start of the career with no work experience, most of you will join as a trainee assistant director and might be just compensated for your travel and food. Some reputed film houses may pay you a stipend of Rs. 5,000 to 25,000 per month. Similarly, for other roles like Cinematographer, Photographer, etc. you will be paid nothing to Rs. 25,000 per month at the start of your career.
  • With a work experience of 2-6 years, you might earn up to Rs. 2,00,000 per month if you are a cinematographer, photographer, screenwriter, scriptwriter, etc. If you are in the direction, then you might earn from Rs. 50,000 per month to 1,00,00,000 per month (based on the studio you work and the box office collection of your last movie).
  • While, this cinematographer, photographers, etc. continue to draw more salaries with experience and time, directors and scriptwriters earn more based on the success of their previous movies. So, while some may earn less even in more time, some earn in crores just after one successful movie.

Career progression in film making profession

Career growth in this field totally depends on your creative skill and the experience you have gained. With many years of experience, you can become a Producer, Director, Scriptwriter, and Technical Head. The positions remain the same but you will grow in your skills and knowledge. Sometimes you will move from a small or independent studio to big studio like Yash Raj Films

The entertainment industry is expected to grow 10% by 2026 which is higher than the average rate of other occupations. There is an increasing popularity of movies and cinema among people which will increase the future demand for filmmakers. Though if you a strong background in digital film making then there will be many opportunities for you. Half of the population spends their time watching series, movies, serials etc. in their free time and the rapidly growing usage of 3G and 4G along with the industrial growth in television and AVG segments, this all makes a bright future for filmmakers and other artists. Netflix, Amazon Prime, Balaji, Zee5, etc. are few of the online platforms producing far more content then Bollywood.

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