5 Filmmaking Tips from Indie Film Maven, Nefertite Nguvu
For decades, independent films have been paving the way for filmmakers to step away from the corporate approach to telling stories and creating their art form. Ever find yourself frustrated with the lack of diversity on the big screen? Film companies and corporations hold rights to what stories they think need to be told while independent filmmakers fill the voids. Independent filmmakers are taking risks through their commitment to truthful filmmaking and in many cases, it may be the only time they see a film that tells their story.
Enter Nefertite Nguvu. As an independent filmmaker and all around fly girl, Nefertite is gearing up for her second round of East Coast screenings of her latest project, In the Morning. Below, in a guest post for In Her Shoes, Nefertite shares advice for aspiring and first-time producers working on micro-budget features:
1) Start with what you have. Take a good look at the resources at your disposal. If you have $10 and a camera, think of the most innovative film you can make with just that. Creativity is free. If you have a voice and something interesting to say, it will shine through. Technology is changing and miracles can be made on a shoe string budget. If this is your calling, make your film.
2) Engage your community. Filmmaking is a collaborative effort, find your allies. It takes a village! I would not have been able to make ‘In The Morning’ were it not for the tremendous support of my community. From our crowd funding campaign, to building our website, to preparing food for our cast and crew, my community really pulled through for me. You’ll be surprised at the outpouring of support that shows up once you begin on your path. When your friends and family see your passion and commitment, it becomes contagious. They’ll want to see your dream realized as much as you do, so don’t be afraid to reach out.
3) Know your audience. Create your own opportunities. Don’t wait for permission. Study the emerging distribution platforms and find ways to connect your film with its audience.
(Partial) Cast of Nefertite Nguvu’s “In the Morning”
4) Be prepared to work really, really hard. As an independent filmmaker you wear many hats. You’ll not only have to do the creative work, but you’ll have to run the business of making, completing, marketing, promoting and getting your film out into the world. Without a large budget, you’ll have to do most of the leg work yourself. It’s difficult, but not impossible, and oh so rewarding when you start to see results!
5) Keep going! Independent filmmaking is all about endurance. This can be a challenging and uncertain career path. There’s no simple set of rules to follow that will ensure your success. You’ll likely experience a lot of rejection along the way, but don’t let that deter you. When things get tough, I remind myself of why I decided to make films, and who I’m making films for. My passion to connect with, and explore the lives and humanity of women and people of color, far outweigh the sting of any temporary set back. Our stories need to be told, our voices matter. Press forward!
If you’re in the New York City area, come out to support the screening of Nefertiti’s film, “In the Morning” this Saturday night at BAM in Brooklyn. Click here for tickets! If you don’t snag a seat for NYC (I hear it’s close to being sold out!) and want to attend the Philadelphia screening, click here. To learn more about Nefertiti Nguvu follow her on Twitter @NefertiteNguvu and Instagram @hollywdafricans.
When an independent film comes to your community, please support it, champion it and talk about it online. Your advocation inspires independent filmmakers to keep going!