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Top 5 skills you need to succeed as a filmmaker

Top 5 skills you need to succeed as a filmmaker

A career as a filmmaker can be exciting and highly rewarding on both a professional and personal level, but it takes a great deal of commitment, expertise and skill to master the creative process, principles and techniques involved. 

Whatever role you’re looking to pursue in the filmmaking industry – whether your passion lies in directing, editing or cinematography – there are a range of critical skills you need to have to succeed. 

What types of roles are available in the field? 

The art of filmmaking is complex, with many moving parts that work together to produce the end product.  

Behind the films that succeed in capturing, inspiring, and making an impact on worldwide audiences, there are large multidisciplinary teams of cast and crew members that work collaboratively together. 

Just take a look at the end credits of these films, and you’ll see there can often be hundreds, or even thousands of people involved in the process of bringing a film to life on the screen. 

Just some of the roles that are available in the filmmaking industry include: 

  • Director 
  • Editor 
  • Producer 
  • Cinematographer 
  • Art Director 
  • Production Designer 
  • Sound Engineer 
  • Set Designer 

In large-scale studio-based feature film productions, there are often specialist crew members assigned to take care of each of these roles.  

In smaller productions, however, such as those produced by independent filmmakers starting out in their career, there may only be a handful of crew members, or even just the filmmakers themselves, who take care of all these roles. 

What are the top 5 skills you need to succeed as a filmmaker? 

Here are the top 5 skills you need to succeed as a filmmaker, whichever role you choose to pursue in the field: 

  1. Creative skills 

It goes without saying that to be a successful filmmaker, you need to be able to think creatively. 

A large part of unleashing your creative potential in filmmaking comes from having an in-depth understanding of the range of filmmaking specialties, techniques and principles utilised in the filmmaking process.  

By combining this in-depth knowledge with strong creative skills, you’ll be able to reimagine existing approaches to film and push the boundaries of mainstream modes of filmmaking. 

2. Visual storytelling skills 

Whether or not you have a part in writing scripts or creating storyboards, any filmmaker needs to have visual storytelling skills to help bring a story to life on the screen. 

As a filmmaker, you need to be able to both understand the story you’re trying to depict on screen and portray it in a compelling way throughout every stage of the production process.  

Every decision you make as a filmmaker can ultimately affect the story you portray on screen, so having strong visual storytelling skills is vital. 

3. Communication skills 

Communication skills are important in any team environment, and where crews can span hundreds or even thousands of people, in filmmaking they are essential. 

Without solid communication skills, you won’t be able to effectively tell your story to other crew and cast members – and subsequently neither to your audience. 

Every team member involved in the filmmaking process needs to have a thorough understanding of the story, the film’s vision, and their individual roles in bringing those to life. 

4. Technical skills 

In today’s digitised world, where technology has transformed the filmmaking process, you need to have a strong grasp of the technology available to filmmakers and how to use it effectively to succeed. 

This includes understanding the technical and conceptual methods used in contemporary film practice and their interdependency.  

5. Leadership skills 

Being a confident leader that can quickly make decisions and solve problems is a crucial skill you need to master as a filmmaker to ensure your career success. 

Challenges will inevitably present themselves during the filmmaking process, and you need to have the resilience, decision-making skills and problem-solving skills to effectively tackle those challenges and lead the filmmaking crew forward. 

Having strong leadership skills will not only help to create a cohesive filmmaking team that’s driven towards a common goal, but also to overcome challenges and avoid production delays. 

How can an MA help you further develop your skills and knowledge in filmmaking? 

An MA in Film Practice can be the crucial next step in helping you to stand out from the crowd as a creative filmmaker. 

An MA will enable you to: 

  • Discover and explore new filmmaking approaches 
  • Expand your body of professional work through an industry-ready major creative project 
  • Improve your technical skills 
  • Focus on your creative filmmaking passion, whether that be documentaries, short fiction or experimental films 
  • Connect with professional filmmakers from around the world and expand your global professional network  

If you want to launch or take the next step in your career as a filmmaker, Arts University Bournemouth offers an online MA Film Practice that will empower you to make your mark in the field and forge ahead with your success as a creative filmmaker – all while you study flexibly online:

Explore the course

Start your creative journey here.

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