Why Your Indie Film Sucks and How You Can Fix It

Your Indie Film Sucks.

It’s hard to read or hear but it’s true. There are many reasons why your indie film sucks, many many reasons, let’s explore some of them.

  • Same ol’ Song and Dance: I can’t tell you how many indie films I’ve seen that are just the same old story, over and over. It’s the saddest thing in my professional world when I see yet another up and coming filmmaker, fresh out of school or with a new camera, say “I’ve got a great idea, I’ll make something like ………”. That’s where they lose me. Independent films should NEVER be “like” something else. That’s what we have Hollywood for. Hollywood loves remakes, reboots, sequels, prequels, and all that jazz. Indie film should be about experimentation.
  • Awful Production Value: Look, I get it. Buying or Renting equipment can be expensive. That’s the price we pay for being in this creative industry. However, the price of film gear has come down so much and continues to drop, so there’s no excuse for poor production values today. The biggest complaint I have is audio. I write up many posts involving audio (Here) because it is very important to film. If you think it’s “Good enough” than your indie film sucks and you need to fix it. Which leads me to . ..
  • Fix it in Post: Oh my god. This is the worst statement ever uttered by anyone, ever. Fix it in Post is basically saying “I can’t be bothered fixing it now, so I’ll let whatever fool I rope into editing my film make it better. Huzzah me!” and it makes you sound like an amateur. If you’re not satisfied with something, find a way to fix it in production. Fix it on Set. Fix it now. Go on, I’ll wait.
  • Shaky Cam: Stop it. Just stop. This isn’t 1999. You’re not innovative or thought provoking,  you’re annoying. Enough already. It was big for a while because it was new. People liked it because it seemed interesting. The fad is over, for God’s sake. Get a DJI Ronin (Here) for under 2k and actually produce professional looking footage. No matter what I’m doing, if I’m reviewing a film or providing feedback, I’m going to knock off a star or rating because of shaky cam. I’m done. You should be too.
  • Acting (So called): Ugh. Look, I know we can’t all get A-List celebrities to come and do our little films. (Although, they’re doing more indies every day now, so maybe) It’s not that hard to do auditions. Find someone who can act. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve reviewed a film that was otherwise great, awesome production value, great concept, cool twist, only to have it be ruined by people who can’t act. Acting isn’t just something you recruit your cousin or boyfriend to do. It’s an art form that requires study, patience, diligence, and skill. It’s not hard to find great actors online who will work with you and your budget (if it exists). Seriously, find someone good.

The Bottom Line

With more filmmakers popping up every day, the cost of equipment plummeting,  and the distribution game getting easier all the time, there is no earthly reason why your indie film should suck. You don’t have to be James Cameron or Robert Rodriguez, in fact, you shouldn’t even try to be them. You should, however, try to make the very best product you can and agonize over every little detail. That is the hallmark of a true professional. When “good enough” is never good enough and “just one more thing” becomes a mantra you live by.

Agree? Disagree? Think I’m an idiot? Let me know!

Don’t forget to share this on Twitter and Facebook, let others know and let’s help them get better.

About Justin Kincaid

Justin is the host of Film Fervor and a passionate lover of independent entertainment. Indie films are where people can truly express themselves and Justin believes that there are too many limitations on "mainstream" movies to be able to tell good stories.

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