Keeping it Reel

Aspiring Filmmakers: Turning Your Idea into a Reality

You’re hanging out with friends talking and laughing about which super power would be the best to have in real life (a common argument in your friend group) when suddenly a brilliant idea hits you. During these discussions, you always play devil’s advocate. You think about everything that could go wrong with each power. Super strength? You’d accidentally break things all the time. Teleportation? You could misjudge your landing and teleport into an existing object. Mind reading? Do you really want to know everything everyone thinks about you?

The idea hits you so hard you reel back from its sheer brilliance. You could make a movie about people who get super powers; only the powers don’t work how they do in comics. The powers work how they actually would in real life. The implications would be hysterical!

You share the idea with your friends, you talk and laugh some more, you go to bed, and you forget all about your award-winning brain-child.

Don’t sweat it; we’ve all had this happen before. The reason you clicked this post was because, like me, you don’t want it to happen again. So listen up slacker!! Today you are going to learn how to turn your glorious ideas into even more glorious films (or videos)!



Step 1: Don’t Lose It

First things first, in order to do anything with an idea, you have to hold onto it. And in order to hold onto it, you have to record it somehow.

Think about where you most frequently have your best ideas and make sure that you have access to a recording device in this place. For most places, a note taking app. like Evernote will suffice, but if your best ideas come to you in a place like the shower, don’t be afraid to do some research or get creative. With a little Google searching, you may be able to find the perfect tool for you (isn’t technology wonderful).

Personally, I keep a physical notepad on me at all times. That way, I have a physical reminder in my pocket, but everyone functions a little differently, so experiment and find out what works best for you.


Step 2: Expand Upon Your Idea

You have your idea; it’s time to do something with it. Schedule out a two or three-hour block of time to fully exlpore your idea. Think about what is realistic and what is not. Decide what your end goal is for this idea. Is this going to be a video, a short film, or something entirely different?

Make sure you know what you are trying to accomplish and decide whether or not it is possible to achieve. Make sure you have your idea mapped out well enought to explain it to others.


Step 3: Iron Out The Details

So far all you really have is an idea (be it a totally stellar one) and a rough outline of what you want to make happen. It is time to flesh out the details. The first things you should focus on are the 4 W’s; the who, what, where, and when.

1. Who are you going to need to help you make this idea a reality?
2. What are you going to need to move forward with your work?
3. Where are you going to meet/film/work?
4. When do you have time to focus on this project?


Step 4: Get Organized

Now that you have addressed the four W’s it is time to take action. If you need your friends, Jeromy and Tim (who), in order to bring this idea to life, reach out to them, see if they are on board, and figure out a time when all of you can meet (when). If you need a Steadicam (what), look into buying one, find out how to make one yourself, or see if anyone has equipment you can borrow. And if you need a specific filming location (where) start scouting immediately!


Step 5: Initiate

You’ve done it, you are there! With all of the ground work done, it’s time to actually start filming! Be sure that you don’t get lazy or let things fall through the cracks. You’re to the fun part now. Get focused, and MAKE THIS HAPPEN.


Are you ready to turn another idea into a reality? Stop thinking about going to film school and start the process right now! Download our application checklist below and see what you need to do to become a student at Columbia College Hollywood.

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This blog is a collaborative effort by CCH staff and administration who want to share their knowledge with the film school community and prospective students.

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