How to Make your Film Pitch Perfect

We're all ears!

Hey Filmmakers!

We’re so excited to see your films coming in – with lots of you sending through great questions that bode for even more great films on the horizon.

One of the main questions we often hear is from filmmakers who are getting into the edit and finding themselves stuck with sound they aren’t stoked on.

Our first tip is to remind them that a great story will outshine any issues with sound – but there are a few things you can do to tune up. Read on below for our answers to some common sound subjects.

Have questions of your own? You can always reach out to the team via our webform HERE or on social media.

Happy filmmaking! 

Top Tips: The Sound Out

1. Can I use any music I find online/As a student is my film ok to use copyright songs?

Not quite! Copyright law exists for a reason, and us creative-types have to help each other out. It’s important that artists are paid for their work, be that photography, music, painting and drawing, or film. You can learn more about music copyright HERE.

That’s why when you’re making a film with no budget, it’s a huge help that so many musicians have made their music free to use in the public domain. Plus software like iMovie often comes with a library of free to use sounds and music. Check out websites like the free music archive, or do your own google search for “copyright free music that sounds like _____” if there’s a certain artist whose sound you like. We have heaps more resources here.

2. I want unique music, but I don’t play an instrument – what can I do?
This is a great opportunity to collaborate! Reach out to the music teacher at school, or reach out to friends in a band. You can also try your own hand a making a beat, with software like garageband or LMMS.

3. I’m not happy with the sound I recorded on set – how can I fix it?
It’s important to remind yourself that your film is much more than it’s sound – and that you are likely being your own harshest critic. The audience may not even notice! But we understand everyone wants to sound their best. Solutions to sound issues range from processing the audio with tools in your editing suite, removing the sound all together and getting creative with music – or patching up with Automated Dialouge Replacement (ADR). ADR is a lot of work, but can be a rewarding challenge. Read more here.

3. How can I level up my sound, beyond music and dialogue?
One great way to up the production value on your short film is by including sound effects. From squeaky doors and spooky footsteps, to birds singing and relaxing rain, sound effects can bring the world of your film to life. Play through your film again, and make a note where you think a sound effect might make your film feel even more realistic! Sites like Sound Bible have great free sound effects.

4. Where can I learn more about how sound impacts storytelling?

Give it a go! Trying out new ideas, playing by your own rules & experimenting are awesome ways to learn what works. You can also do your own research by watching Youtube tutorials, reading sites like WikiHow, and talk to your teachers. Sound is half of the audiences experience watching your film, so invest your time! You can also check out Episode 9 of Nextwave Online – a deep dive with sound engineer Scott Collins.

Happy Filmmaking Nextwavers – we hope this helped you to sound it out!

Want to get a leg up on the competition and bring the Nextwave online filmmaking workshops to your school? Register your interest below!

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