• Reeta Varpama

The Filmmaker's Creative Process 101

AKA The 6 Ultimate Steps to the Masterpiece of Your Making.

This is pretty much exactly how it goes.


Suddenly, it hits you. This is it. The culmination of your existence! The creative mastermind in you takes over. You can’t eat, you can’t sleep, you need to pour this thing out of you this minute.


Inspiration! In the zone yo! You are determined to get this thing sorted and made, but fleshing out that fraction of an idea is... surprisingly hard? As in writing it down in a way that makes some sense and isn't total trash. Why!

Be brave, go deep, way deep, way past the comfort zone, into the story. You may start to suffer from random bits of dialogue and plot points popping up in your head in the middle of Tesco's or when you're on the loo. But you grab hold of them and lay them down on paper like a boss. Once you have something to show, get feedback. Do lots of re-writes. Create something you are proud of. Make the Gods weep with your generous gift to the world.


Ah ha! With Step 2 successfully completed, you have a script in your hands - congratulations! You’ll be pleased to know this is only the beginning of the eventful journey ahead of you, namely assembling the HODs and crew, arranging auditions, table reads, rehearsals, location scouting, logistics, shooting schedules, script breakdowns, contracts, release forms, shot lists, test shoots and call sheets... the list goes on! But most importantly, securing that budget and/or getting a deal with Netflix.

Surround yourself with people you admire and stay true to your vision, and get on with it.


Let the fun and games begin!

Having completed Step 3 thoroughly and anticipated everything that can go wrong, you can pat yourself on the back and rela- NO!


There are so many things to look out for: people dropping out the night before shoot, people not showing up, people showing up but without the right stuff, people unable to find their way, people stuck in traffic, people unable to find parking. Weather changes, light changes, disturbing background noise, tensions within the cast and crew, ogling passers-by. Running overtime, memory card failures, delayed lunches. Oh boy, the list goes on.


But hey, you’re making a film. Seriously, have fun.


Experience the magic that is editing! Warning: this Step is an absolute riot! Making the actual, tangible film from the footage you captured - even if it doesn’t bear much resemblance to the amazing idea you had way back on Step 1, but don't let that discourage you, it's all part of the Process. You get to throw kickass music and sound design and colour grade and maybe even some VFX in the mix. It's starting to look like an actual thing! It's happening!!!


Distribution! Marketing! Festivals? Eh, just some words I should throw out there at this point. But remember how much blood, sweat and tears went into the first five steps? Do right by your past self and get that film seen!

And then, after what felt like a lifetime, it’s out there. Time to let go. Someone's bound to like it, even a little - right? ... right?

Ignore the haters. It's a big world out there! You'll find your audience. Reward them by making more! Time to return to Step 1 and come up with another idea, because your creativity runs wild and cannot be contained. GO MAKE THAT THING.

Disclaimer: ok the fact that all these GIFs are from TV shows hasn't gone unnoticed - in fact, TV needs some Creative Process love too! But here's one to satisfy your film hunger because I'm not a complete monster:

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