• Taylor Thomas

Making a Debut Feature Film – Case Study


Cinema Bandit is devoted to supplying young and new filmmakers with resources, articles, and interviews to help artists develop themselves creatively and professionally.

I started this website last year with the intention of helping new students of film better understand basics, as well as the storytelling process. While my readers are learning, so am I. Which is why I want to share the experience of making a feature film as a green film school graduate.

It’s not “I made a feature film.” It was a “we made a feature film.”

A little bit of background; because I don’t feel as if I’m “personal” on Cinema Bandit, which is not my intention.

I graduated from a Maryland film school around Christmas 2017. I decided to pursue film in 2014, about a year before I would publish my book series, “Samhain Island.” Something clicked in me while I was rewatching Home Alone one day. I thought- “hey, I could do that!” I took most of my inspiration and learning from film from rewatching that movie over and over again, and learning screenwriting by reading the screenplays of John Hughes.

In 2015, I was impatient, and published a book series called “Samhain Island.” Even when writing the book, which I love to death even as I look back on their imp, I knew writing wasn’t enough. I wanted to create visual media. I grew up in a video store, surrounded by movies- it was almost like I had no other choice but to be a filmmaker.

I worked as a freelance writer in college, and held an internship at a film studio. When I graduated with my BS in Film, I was faced with the harsh reality of the film industry. I was lucky to get a freelance writing gig and part-time work as a studio assistant, but I wanted to do movies.

I wanted to make a feature film.

So that’s what I did – that’s what we, me and my friends, did in late 2018.

The first half of 2018 was good to okay. The last half of 2018 was okay to bad. If I hadn’t made my film, the later part of the year would have been completely awful. I left a part-time position, a relative who was close to me died, and my house suffered water damage. Shit happens.

If I had 2018 my way, I would have filmed in the summer. Instead, I filmed in cold, cold November and December.

But I wouldn’t leave this year without making a movie. There was a need, a deep desire to tell the story I wanted to tell. A short film wouldn’t suffice.

I want to help others, especially film students and new graduates, understand the process of making a feature film. This was a learning process for me, and one that was often frustrating and taxing.

In my future posts, I’ll detail the process of making a movie with $3,000 as film students. I’ll cover the topics of:

  1. Screenwriting for a budget movie

  2. Working with what you have

  3. Planning for your feature film

  4. Fundraising

  5. Creating a network

  6. Planning a shooting schedule

  7. Filming in public and without a permit

  8. Collaborating with other artists

  9. Buying or borrowing equipment

  10. Post-production and distributions

  11. And many more miscellaneous topics…

To follow this film’s progress, follow Capitol Video on twitter!

See you next time!


(photo credit: Gosnel McDermott)

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