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5 Tips on Making Great Films with Your Phone, Go Pro, or Other Device

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by Carlton Evans – Founder of the Disposable Film Festival

Yeah you’re broke, but you could at least be putting your creative talent to use. Disposable Film can help. No, I’m not talking about the crap you watch when no one’s looking. I mean radical videos made with stuff you already have. As someone who’s seen a lot of great films made on a zero budget, I’ve put together a few tips for making things that people will want to watch and share with their besties.

1. Write from your heart, but also your wallet. This means that you might have a great idea for an action feature with lots of car crashes and explosions but if you don’t have 150 mil burning a hole in your savings account, it ain’t gonna happen. On the other hand, maybe you can tell a story using only your mobile phone and some friends at a party, like this one.

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2. You have the awesomest friends. Take stock of the talented folks you know who might want to help you out. Maybe you don’t have great cinematographers like Roger Deakins in your rolodex, but one of your Facebook friends is always posting killer shots. See if she’ll help you to tell a story using only still photos, like this.

3. Recycle, Reuse, Rihanna. You probably already have a few cameras around. In fact, I’d bet you’re looking at one right now as your reading this. That’s right, just above this area. There’s a tiny lens. You can actually use it for more than selfies. Look into accessorizing, there’s a ton of low cost products on the market that can help you get shots you’d otherwise need piles to cash to get. Check out this this guy, who got shots from space, with just a balloon, a GoPro, and a broken iPhone (and managed to become the world’s coolest dad in the process!)

4. Have a sound strategy. The conventional wisdom is that sound is half a movie, but it’s actually probably more than that. Trust is you can edit some pretty crappy footage into something great. But if your sound sucks, no one will watch it. Your cell phone mic isn’t going to cut it, and GoPro sound is even worse. If you need sound to tell your story (and you probably do) you might want to invest in a Zoom mic, which captures astonishingly good sound on a budget. You can get one that plugs into your phone for about $100 while a standalone runs around $150. Don’t have that kind of bacon? Get creative. Use voicemails, SFX, or, better yet, ask your favorite local band if you can use make a video for them, they might even help you spread the word about it.

5. Your limitations are your gold. You already know you’re young, beautiful, and broke. Take that ethos to your film. Many of the greatest films ever made were done by young people with a great idea, style, and no money. Look what this guy did with some paper and ink.


Carlton Evans is the co-founder of the Disposable Film Festival, which opens at the Castro on Thursday April 9. Enter to win tickets for two to the VIP party and screening for Opening Night.


About the Disposable Film Festival

Now in its eighth year, the popular festival celebrates the artistic potential of disposable video: short films made on small cameras and low cost, tech-driven techniques such as screen capture software, Google Glass, apps like Vine and Instagram, innovative usage of available technology like Google Maps, and a wide range of new animation techniques. Added to this list of enabling devices showcased in the 2015 program is a 3D printer; an exciting tool that adds to the zeitgeist that is the intersection of art and technology.

The 2015 Disposable Film Festival (DFF) will be held from April 9-April 12, 2015 in San Francisco.


image from Guardian UK and DFF

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