What do the pros wish they could go back and do differently? Everyone has to start somewhere and, when stepping into the world of filmmaking, there is a lot to learn – from technical insights through to storytelling or finding your place within a large-scale production.
Making mistakes along the way is part of the learning process, but so is learning from others. Italian documentary filmmaker and TV presenter Roberto Palozzi, who runs video production company Erebus Productions and shoots wildlife, nature and history films for Italian TV, says he has learnt his craft through trial and error.
Roberto got his break filming wildlife in Antarctica – and he says the stunning scenery made up for his practical shortcomings. "Even though I wasn't experienced at all, I was in the middle of the frozen ocean with seals and emperor penguins, so it was quite easy to come back with good footage; not because I was a good filmmaker, but because everything around me was so fantastic."
Fellow documentary filmmaker Michael Zomer's roots are in extreme sports, having started out filming his friends skateboarding in the Netherlands, before moving on to film action for the likes of Discovery Channel and Red Bull. But today he increasingly focuses on documenting subcultures and filming with indigenous communities in remote corners of the world. "In the last couple of years, storytelling has become much more important to me," he says. "The best comment I could receive nowadays is, 'Wow, this story really got to me.' I've always been fascinated by other people, even without a camera, and I just love to connect with them and tell stories from the heart."
Director of photography and cinematographer Juan Luis Cabellos AEC is based in Madrid, where he has garnered credits on a huge range of Spanish series. His years of experience shooting for TV and film have taught him the importance of having a good attitude on the job.
"As a professional in this industry, you have to be reliable," says Juan. "A movie team works like a team that changes the wheels in a car race. If one fails, the car won't be ready on time. It is preferable that you are not the clumsy mechanic that slows down the operation."
Here, Juan, Michael and Roberto share what they have learnt from their years in the field, and reveal their top nine filmmaking mistakes to avoid when starting out in the film industry.