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Getting started in making films and putting them somewhere that others can see them is easier than ever before. At minimum, all it takes is a phone camera and a YouTube account. However, making good films–films that others actually want to see–is an entirely different proposition, and presents many of the same challenges filmmakers have always faced. Fortunately, there are a number of steps people can take to improve their filmmaking.

One of the first steps should be to go online and take a look at the many free resources that are available for aspiring filmmakers, from articles to podcasts to videos and more. These resources can teach a great deal about craft, but they can also help new filmmakers better understand what kind of gear is available and what types of cameras, microphones and other equipment they should purchase in order to achieve their aims.

While there is a wonderful do-it-yourself element to independent filmmaking, people should consider not trying to do everything themselves. It can be a learning experience to write a script, edit, and even act or compose music, but the fact is that few people are multitalented in every area. It may be worth spending money on hiring experts as well as other things that can vastly improve a film.

Aspiring filmmakers should be brutally honest with themselves about where they need to improve, and they should get a logbook that allows them to take notes from others about where improvement is needed as well. They should also keep a record of reflection and improvement. Starting off with short films of just a few minutes is a good way to focus on learning just one or two skills at a time. They may also be able to improve and expand their skills by trying something different, such as a commercial, a documentary or a music video if any of those are outside their normal range of work. Finally, filmmakers should expand their creative horizons by consuming or making other works of art as well, such as reading books or playing music.

Becoming a better filmmakers is a lifelong endeavor, and the suggestions above can be repeated for ongoing improvement.