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October 2, 2015

by ShoHawk

filmmaking advice

The expectations for young filmmakers have certainly evolved in the past ten years—probably faster than ever before.

There continue to arise new production and distribution options, weekly. Many of those resources are covered here on ShoHawk, and on a plethora of other wonderful filmmaking sites. But here, now, I’d like to cover some life lessons and filmmaking advice.

Life lessons are among the most important tools a starting filmmaker can acquire, and these are 17 I wish I’d known before leaving high school. Many of these came to me the hard way, over time. Some were things I’d heard, but ignored. All of them prove that hindsight is 20/20.

The old story: if I’d known then what I know now, the struggles along the way would have been far less dramatic, and the hurdles less intimidating.

I hope these 17 lessons will help filmmakers who are just beginning, and remind working filmmakers of some important things that inevitably get hazy.


Whether you aim to create independent works or commercial entertainment, opportunities to do so will never be available if you have little or nothing to show. Practice early and often.

If you’ve just decided to enter this craft, know that it’s never too early to begin creating. You don’t need anything fancy and can start today on a smartphone or tablet, so commence experimentation as soon as possible.

Learn the grammar of movies: why certain shots don’t cut together, how changing sunlight effects a long shoot, and why audio quality is as important as image quality—if not more. Keep refining these techniques.

The beginning is all about putting together a toolbox, and developing a voice.  Ideally, you’ll be doing that your whole career, but it’s particularly important early on.

16 More…

Leave us a comment and tell us: what’s your best piece of advice for young filmmakers?