11 Tips to Elevate your Film Production | Will Feldman

Engage Art | Artist to Artist | March 7, 2022

So many artists today need to embrace video content to grow their following and hone their craft. Whether you’re a filmmaker, musician, or even looking to launch a YouTube channel, we hope these tips for film production will help you take your video content to the next level. 

1. Know your brand.

Whether you’re working for a big house or freelancing, you’ll find that branding isn’t easy. It’s one thing to buy a logo, but it’s quite another to have a clear sense of your audience and your message. That’s where a lot of companies fail. They pull in a client to pay the rent, and they can wander off-course from where they want to be in 2 or 3 years. As you build your business, try to stay on-brand with your content and style. “Building a Business 101” has an overview on building a YouTube channel that you can read here, beginning with defining your content and continuing through equipment, editing, and monetizing. 

2. Make it interesting.

Whether you’re making a TikTok video or filming a documentary, you have to understand who your audience is. Videos for children often employ bright colors and slapstick humor to help children engage the content, for example. How about you—is your video for teens or parents? Is it trying to connect with a certain faith or cultural perspective? Know your demographics.

3. Have a plan.

We can’t stress enough the importance of good prep work. Once you’re against the deadline, there’s not a lot you can do. Go into the project with a plan. Make a rough outline. Storyboard your film and know what order you want to shoot in to make the most of everybody’s time during production. Have a sense of the layers that need to be in the background to build the story. This applies across the arts, by the way—whether you create a painting or a music video, have a sense of what you want to portray and how the different elements will work together. It gets a little easier when you’ve done a couple thousand projects—you develop “recipes”—but especially when you’re getting established, make your outline. Do your prep. 

Make sure your team has a plan, too. Do your dancers know their choreography? Are people coming on set with hair and makeup ready? Try to have everything set so there are as few disruptions to production as possible. 

4. Think about your composition.

When you think about how you’re framing your shot, you add layers to your viewer’s engagement with your story. Pay attention to leading lines that will guide your viewer’s eye to the focal point of your shot. Think about the background and balance of the shot. Changing the point-of-view also impacts how your story comes across. Here’s a great rundown from of 9 ways to compose a shot.   

5. Try not to film too much.

This tip might feel counterintuitive, but remember that if your camera is rolling all the time, you’ve got to edit all that footage. An easy rule of thumb is 8 to 1. If you shoot one  hour of film, it’s going to take 8 hours to edit it. Film everything you need and be sure to get a couple of takes, but turn the camera off between takes and film shorter clips to keep on top of your editing time. This is where your planning comes into play!

6. Research your location.

A filmmaker needs to take the time to understand the environment where they’re about to shoot. Will there be other people in the background? Is there a train that’s going to pass nearby? It slows down production if you haven’t researched. 

7. Lighting is key.

The most important elements in a high-quality film are lighting and sound. It doesn’t matter how excellent the screenplay is if the lighting comes from a single overhead fluorescent light. Play it safe and get the most out of filming days by making it a habit to always bring more equipment than you think you’ll need. has an excellent overview of lighting options for different price points, how to lay out your lighting for the perfect fill, plus tips on color temperature and glare. Read it here

8. Sound is key.

Audio is just as important as lighting. While your smartphone can record audio, you may find it can’t keep up with background noise from wind or traffic, or the dialogue gets lost as you try to film a scene that’s further away. Consider investing in a shotgun mic or lavalier mic to improve the quality of your audio recording. You can also pay attention to the sound balance when you edit. has a great overview of 10 tips for better sound quality here.

When your lighting and sound are set up well, viewers will be able to engage your artwork without distraction. 

9. Back Up Everything.

When you’re going to a shoot, bring extra extension cords and spare battery packs. Prepare the day before to make sure your memory cards have space, your batteries are charged—all of that avoids time wasted on a production. 

We have a statement here that if you don’t have it triple-backed-up, it doesn’t exist. We’ve had cards destroyed and data lost. It’s really frustrating. Make sure you have solid gear and a backup hard drive.

10. Take a Risk.

The challenges for a business in this environment are actually opportunities for an individual. Larger companies have a lot more overhead; they have to charge certain rates. But the price of entry into video production has gotten a lot lower. You can go to the store with a credit card and get a decent computer, a decent camera, and a gimbal and you can shoot some good film. 

So don’t be afraid to fail. What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail? That opens a lot of doors. Most people won’t open the doors because they’re afraid. You can’t live that way. We live in a challenging world, but there is still a tremendous amount of opportunity and people who are willing to help. Take a chance! Do it now!

11. Stay Positive!

There is never a time when stress helps an environment. Whatever happens during production, make sure you have a good attitude! 

Are you a filmmaker? We would love to see your work! Submit your artwork to the Engage Art Contest before our deadline: midnight ET on April 14, 2022.  

Will Feldman is the Chief Marketing Officer of Engage Art and CEO of Garlic Media Group. Will has a passion for photography and video production. He picked up a camera in 8th Grade and hasn’t put it down since. 

Submit Your Artwork Today!

Curious? Interested in submitting artwork to our contest? Know someone who might be? Through April 14th, 2022, the Engage Art Contest is open to the whole world! Get your foot in the door by claiming your Artist Page now!