directing Indie filmmaking talk for feedback, advice, learning etc

Hello! My name is Asher :). I just joined up to this forum place cause I’m working on a new feature film. (Independent) Ofcourse.
I was wondering if any of you have advice for a “beginner”? When I say beginner I’m being a bit modest. I’ve made two features before but they had like $100-$200 budgets and they were just for me to learn the craft of filmmaking. Now since I’m starting a more serious indie film (around $2000 budget) I have come on here looking for advice. So ye. This is my first post for people to talk to each other, give advice on the “first” “real” indie feature project I (or you) am working on.


Staff Member
Welcome to Indie Talk!

My advice is to assume that everything will cost twice what you've budgeted and take twice as long as you planned, so build THAT into your plan.

I've produced two indie features and am always willing to answer questions.
Thanks. Also, how many film festivals would you expect a survival/fantasy/horror/action film to be accepted into?

And mind if I tell u my films story?

My film is about a survivor who escapes from his home village (after it gets destroyed by a ruthless sorcerer).
He then spends a while surviving in the woodlands before he comes into contact with that very same enemy who killed his parents. They have a little fight, the main character escapes and returns to his ruined village. There he talks to his parents graves and decides he won’t run from their murderer again and instead that the next time they meet he will fight, win or lose.
The sorcerer has a decent cloaked costume with a helmet and black boots, along with a good steel sword. (Not a fake one, but blunted) to make it all seem realistic.
So Arcaydes (main character) comes across someone in a cloak and thinks it’s the sorcerer (Soulor). Turns out Arcaydes had simply killed Soulors twin who was wearing a cloak too. When Soulors brother is dying, Arcaydes is shocked but he tells him and explains he understands. He tries bringing comfort to Arcaydes. “You know I was about to try and kill Soulor myself, about to kill my own brother for his wickedness....looks like I ended up as good practice for you though hey.” He says to Arcaydes as he is dying. But he also encourages Arcaydes to find other survivors like him, and unite them together against Soulor.
That’s soughta meant to be a reveal thing, like how he wasn’t actually Soulor but his brother. So now Arcaydes feels tormented that he killed the wrong man, and that he has innocent blood on his hands.
Then the real Soulor shows up and smashes Arcaydes, kicking him off a cliff and into the water, then Soulor leaves not caring to see if Arcaydes is dead or not, taking his brother away. Not knowing his brother was about to turn against him. I’m gonna try to make Soulors entrance really terrifying and make it seem like Arcaydes stands no chance in the fight, like Soulor just comes and destroys Arcaydes absolutely and then leaves, making people wanna know more about him.

Arcaydes is now depressed, this film is a film about sadness and motivation mind you. He nearly commits suicide.
However he remembers Afiserons (Soulors brothers) words. How he told Arcaydes to find other survivors who had suffered from Soulor. Arcaydes depressed, finds that he can’t cry any more. All his tears had been spent from the years of sadness and now his heart was like a sturdy rock.
Arcaydes decides he won’t let Soulor get the better of him, and begins his journey to find other survivors like him, to find out why Soulor destroyed his home, why Soulor is evil, and to bring justice.

-To be continued.

That’s the general story summarized. (Typing this late so spelling might be bad.) That’s a really brief summary mind u so u might not understand too clearly but well enough hopefully.

So yea, I’ve got a decent 4K camera with good audio equipment.
So if the film is shot, acted, produced, edited, color graded, scripted decently overall. How many festivals do you think it would get into? And do u think such a story would be a good decent success?


Staff Member
That's an impossible question to answer. Make your movie the best you can, and start with the screenplay - lousy directing and acting can ruin a good screenplay but nothing can save a bad one.

Good equipment is important - especially for audio - but it's what you do with it that's more important.

Once you've completed post-production, research film festivals thoroughly. Look for ones that have movies in your genre, and that seem to have a similar budget level. Also, look for festivals that you'll be able to attend if you get in - the networking is often the most important part.

Festival submission fees add up fast - as do travel expenses - so be realistic when you make your choices.
My wife and I have produced 9 feature films, and a lot of documentaries and short films. We have also been directors of a film festival for 11 years, so we've reviewed hundreds of entries.

Generally speaking, the longer the film, the harder it is to get it accepted into a film festival. A festival would much rather program 6 ten-minute films then 1 60-minute film. This allows more filmmakers to attend the festival, and keeps the show moving. Of course there are festivals that specialize in films such as the one that you have proposed...a comic con for example.

The two red flags that I see with your film are the stunts (fight scenes), and special effects (CGI). Above all, you will need to hire an experienced stunt/fight coordinator for your battle scenes, and they need to be shot properly. If the fights don't work...if they look fake...the whole film is ruined.
Other big challenges that you will encounter are costumes for the entire cast, props of the period, and set construction. Most of our films were done for about $2500 each, so it CAN be done. But it is quite a challenge.
So, I'll give you my standard spiel…

Your project will only look as good as it sounds, because
"Sound is half of the experience"

If your film looks terrible but has great sound, people might just think it's your aesthetic.
If your film looks great and has bad sound, people will think you're an amateur.
Sound is the first indicator to the industry that you know what you're doing.

Sound is the easiest (technical) thing to get wrong and one of the hardest to get right. You only get to influence two (2) of the five (5) senses; great filmmaking is about using both sound and visuals to best advantage.
Thank you all for taking the time to reply.
So from this I’ve gathered that
1:Being realistic about the budget and what I can afford is important
2:The longer the film is the less festivals it will likely get into
3:The fight scenes will be hard to film professionally and easy to mess up, so generally I’ll keeo them short, simple. Not relying on the amazing effects of blockbuster fight scenes but more so on the emotional side of the fight. The acting.
4:Sound design is one of the most important aspects which can make a film seem professional or noob level.

Thanks to you all for your advice.

Sadly I can’t show the photos of the construction sets for feedback but thanks to u all.
4:Sound design is one of the most important aspects which can make a film seem professional or noob level.
Sound design starts with solid production sound - the dialog. At the low/no/mini/micro budget level every dollar/minute you spend on production sound will save you ten dollars/minutes in audio post. The one and only job I loath during the audio post process is trying to clean up poorly recorded production sound. Instead of enhancing the DX with judicious editing it becomes a reduce mission, piecing together barely acceptable sections of DX to hopefully create a listenable product.

Get the production sound right and you've saved hours, days. even weeks of audio post frustration.

BTW, sound design begins during preproduction. It can influence shots, B-roll, actor timing and many other things.
Great advice. I’ve also heard that if your film has for instance bad visual quality, as long as the audio is superb people will think the visual is good. Like they did a scientific test.
If the quality is 720p and the audio is amazing, then the brain actually thinks the quality is higher than it actually is.
In short the audio enhances the image quality (subconsciously) as well as the sound.


IndieTalk Founder
Staff Member
You always want crystal clear intelligible audio unless it's for an effect in a scene. But yes picture can be manipulated to "dirty it up" for effect, for the whole film. Grainy, shaky, imitating lower quality, or inherent low quality. But this does not mean you settle. You always strive for the best and use effects/make those creative decisions intelligently.