Filmmaking and getting acquainted with film can be intimidating in a variety of different ways, but luckily we now have the internet to answer the questions we’re too afraid to ask. I’ve compiled a short list of websites that I have used over the years that have helped me in one way or the other helped me better my understanding of filmmaking. There’s a wide range of sites here, so even if you are not much of a shooter, there are still numerous resources for you.
Alright, you definitely know this one, but if you haven’t created an account already, I would highly recommend doing so. If you are a filmmaker, this is the cheapest way to allow future employers or clients to view your work in a high quality. And even if you aren’t a shooter, there is a wide array of films here for your viewing pleasure. Check out “Staff Picks” tab to discover what has been catching people’s attention recently. Some films on here tend to straddle that line between amateur and professional, making it interesting to see what other filmmakers are achieving with limited resources.
The premise is in the title, this website should give you enough information so that you will need “no film school”. The articles here are range on everything from equipment reviews to film history essays. If you are at all interested in film, there is something here for you. The tone and style of these articles also tends to be much more digestible and friendly towards beginners. I was intimidated by film theory for some time because of the dense academic language, but articles on this website helped me get a better grasp of the subject matter.
Letterboxd is an open source film/TV review site and tracker that helps viewers catalog the media they’ve watched. This allows you to track what movies you have seen, create lists of similar movies, and leave reviews. These reviews are all available to other users. This means that you can search for others lists, so if you are looking for movies similar to a niche title or want movies in a sub-genre that isn’t easily google-able, then you will likely find something on Letterboxd. Users can also leave ratings on a five star scale, and all scores are compiled from users for each film. I enjoy these ratings because Letterboxd users tend to be film geeks, but not as pretentious as critics. Oftentimes if there is a large discrepancy between a critic score and an audience score on Rotten Tomatoes, I check Letterboxd for clarity. If the score is high, it’s likely an under appreciated gem, but if not then it is likely something critics are hyping up.
If you want to submit any of your work to a festival, this is pretty much your one stop shop. Festivals as big as Sundance and as small as new regional fests use FilmFreeway to collect submissions. If you are considering submitting work in the future, you might want to create your account now to save yourself some time.
Free Sound is an open source and free to use database for sound effects. If you want to heighten your film’s overall production value by adding in authentic sound effects, this is a good place to begin your search. The site has numerous regular contributors with varying levels of experience in audio production, so there is some variation in quality. However, with a little effort, you can find some real gems that will help bring your film to life. Most importantly, all sounds here are in the public domain without attribution, making it very attractive for films without much of a budget.
Keh.com is a used camera exchange where amateur and professional videographers sell their used gear at discounted prices. This is the most widely used of a genre of websites. If you search “video gear exchange website” you will find many just like it. If you are looking to beef up your personal equipment to work on your own productions during the summer or after college, this is a good place to hunt for affordable gear.