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  • Alex Armando Torres

YoFiFest - How to Make a Movie

Updated: Nov 1, 2020

As a filmmaker I always enjoy going to film festivals. The experience, if a good one, leaves you feeling connected to like minded people, your tribe of film makers.

This year due to COVID19 film making has pretty must stopped for me. Well, at least new projects at the producing level. As a self funded, self taught film maker, I had to pause expending any money in making the art form I love, films, and consider a new strategy. That is focus on writing. So, I took a $400 production class and learned some important lessons.

Lesson 1: If I want to be a filmmaker and know body wants to hire me except for free, I need to learn how to write better stories I believe are important and maybe universal to others. So, even if your only writing a short film, write a treatment, share it with others, have your heart broken when they don't see your genius and go back and rewrite it until it shines like a diamond. Don't fall in love with your creation until it's the best it can be.

Lesson 2: Dont stop taking classes. Everyone you come into contact has something to teach you. It could be how to be a better listener, how to have more patience or how to trust your gut when it tells you not to work with someone just cause, you never know. No! You know! Don't hire people just cause. Vet people out! Make sure you hire people who are on board with your vision or who can teach you more to make your vision better.

Lesson 3: Have a gameplay, a strategy, a blue print and timeline for each phase of producing ranging from development, pre-production, production, principal photography, the wrap, post production, distribution and social media afterwards. Don't rush into anything! Haste makes waste! If it takes you a year or two, so be it!

Lesson 4: If you want to raise money for a project, either save money you can part with or raise it through a crowd funding platform like Seed & Spark, IndieGoGo, Kickstarter, etc. If you want to fund someone else's project know who your are funding. Has this producer done work before. Trust me! I supported a "filmmaker" with $500 and it's been over a year since they wrote me back with any updates and the crowd funding platform cant help. So, buyer beware.

Lesson 5: If you can not produce a film, volunteer to a local film festival. You will learn new skill sets! I learned as Festival Producer for YoFiFest 2020 (The Yonkers Film Festival) just how much work goes into producing a film festival. Image an octopus and a baby with a millipede and the baby had a thousand little arms moving in every direction. Yes! It's that kind of fun! And it's exciting because you really have to be quick on your feet and know how to think outside the box. Plus you learn to have an appreciation for just how easy the festival people make something look. Hats off to all film festivals this year! Those people deserve our gratitude. Without them our films would be nothing nothing than a baby hidden inside a house. Because of festivals our children (our films) get to be seen by the world. And that's an awesome thing! This year due to the festival I was able to do a workshop on How to Make A Movie. Having produced many short films and an indie feature film, Nemesis, released 9/22/2020, I realized I had so much to share with new film makers and maybe some other more experienced film makers. So, I summarized what I learned into a 30-page power point presentation and share with whoever wanted to listen. I was asked some great questions afterwards. To my surprise 28 bought tickets to my workshop. Wow! So I think I will continue to do both, write/produce/direct films and have production workshops.

On that positive note. Everyone stay safe, be well and remember to be compassionate to one another. Ciao for now. Alex :)

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