Movies shot on an iPhone? Sounds Legit, right? Steven Soderbergh, Sean Baker, Tristan Pope. What do these filmmakers have in common? If you read the heading of this article then you have probably already figured it out! That’s right. They shot an entire movie on an iPhone. Do you have an iPhone? Samsung Galaxy S? Does your phone have the capability to shoot video? Then you, my friend, have one crucial piece of filmmaking equipment that allows you to tell stories however you want.We Are Actors recently had a reading of Aileen Kyoto’s original pilot script called BAD, and there was an open panel discussion that followed. There were several filmmakers on the panel, and they all had golden advice to give to anyone starting out as a filmmaker. Basically, after an hour or so of discussion about all thing’s filmmaking, I decided to put together this short list to help people who want to but don’t know where to start making their own film.So, follow along with these 5 tips and if I missed any, please leave them in the comments below.
5 Tips To Shooting A Movie On Your iPhone
1.Google “Movies Shot On An iPhone”This is purely for inspiration. When I first heard that you could shoot something on a phone my first thought was, ‘Yeah, I guess you could, but it will probably look like crap.’ Then I saw the movie Tangerine by filmmakers Sean Baker and Chris Bergoch. And let me tell you something, I was wrong with a capital W. Not only was it a great looking film, but it also won 25 awards and was nominated for 43 so you know, I was very wrong. There are a bunch of films shot on cell phones and if you want to see just how good they can look, google it, or browse YouTube and be amazed by the ingenuity of the modern age!
2.Keep your first script as short and as simple as you can.You have an idea, but it involves a car chase and bank heist or maybe an explosion or 2? Great! But there is something to be said about starting small and building your way up. Keeping your first script as simple as you can will let you focus on completing your first project and not overwhelm yourself with 20 characters or trying to find obscure locations. It’s also cheaper. Aim for maybe 5-10 pages and give it a shot. Your confidence will grow and the next one will come a lot easier.
3.Be Willing To Make The World’s Worst FilmI know for myself, I won’t attempt something if I don’t think I’ll knock it out of the park on the first try. It’s a character flaw, I know. And the thing that helps when I feel that way is to just say this to myself, ‘It’s probably gonna suck, and that’s okay. You know what would suck more? Not doing it.’ Perfectionists and overthinkers will more than likely scoff at this, but it’s you I’m talking to! 😊 I’m not saying don’t be organized and have a game plan. But don’t spend 6 months in preproduction for something that could take you a little planning and a weekend to do.
4.Utilize Your Network (Even If You Don’t Have One)Someone with an intention to finish something has a very infectious quality. Think about the last time someone asked you to help them with something like a short film or asked for help shooting a self tape. Chances are, if you’re not a salty piece of kaka, that you didn’t think twice before saying yes and helped as best you could. You probably did it for free too. Well, guess what? Time to cash in on those favors and ask around for help if you need it. Cast pets, family, friends, co-workers as you will. You don’t need a rolodex of industry contacts to get started. Just an idea and a deadline.
5.Get Familiar With Filming AppsThere are sooo many apps out there that are incredibly powerful. My go to app for shooting things is FiLMiC Pro. It is super easy to use and after about 30mins of YouTube tutorials you will have everything you need to know about how to get that beautiful cinematic shot! It shoots in 24 frames and 2.39:1 (Hollywood standard) and can also shoot in 4k. But there are also ones like Switcher Studio, Shortlister, Cine Meter II and on and on. Pick one, get familiar with it and go forth! Of course, the camera app that comes on your phone is fine to, but these apps will give you way more control over things like frame rates, resolution, color balancing and things like that.