Indie Filmmaking: Get the Blockbuster Look on a DIY Budget

Nguyen Anh Nguyen, Film Director

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10 Lessons (49m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Starting with a Single Image

    • 3. Key Elements of a Moodboard

    • 4. Direction Notes

    • 5. Location, Location, Location

    • 6. Actors

    • 7. Shooting Smartly for VFX

    • 8. Sound and Music

    • 9. Bringing It All Together as a Director

    • 10. That's a Wrap

18 students are watching this class

Project Description

Create a moodboard for a live-action fan film.


Your assignment is to create a moodboard to share the vision of your live-action fan film. Get people excited about what's in your head!

Your moodboard may include any of the following:

  • textures and color references
  • filming style references
  • location references
  • costume design references
  • visual effects references 
  • any key images that help sell your idea

Remember, sometimes it's best to simply start with one single image that inspires you, and build layers onto your moodboard from there.



Use your Project Workspace as a living, breathing moodboard that you can add more images to over time.

A good moodboard should include:

  • A working title for your fan film (e.g. 'Akira Project')
  • At least one key image
  • Some brief direction notes to accompany the image(s)

Don't wait until you have everything gathered to start sharing — get started right away, and get feedback from your fellow students to make your project better.

I look forward to seeing what you create!



Moodboard Images

  • – inspiring website for finding references and image research to include in your moodboard. They have a wealth of incredibly talented artists that you can collaborate with as well.
  • Moodboard References attached to this class (scroll down to download PDFs) 

Collaboration Tools

  • Google Drive (Sheets + Docs) – Google Sheets is great for keeping track of the assignment of shots, the team list and contacts. Also, Google Docs to share moodboards and editing/music/VFX instructions.
  • Dropbox – for sharing VFX assets, image references, final shots delivery, etc.
  • – a great new tool for sharing private videos; allows reviewing and commenting at exact timecodes for your collaborators, and you can even draw directly on the image to pinpoint elements that need changes.
  • Vimeo – the obvious place to showcase your work once you create your film. 
  • YouTube – similar to Vimeo, but you could reach a more mainstream market depending on your film idea. 
  • WeTransfer – good tool for sending large files, quickly (up to 20GB if you have a Pro account). Comes in handy if you don't have a Dropbox account.

Music Sites

  • The Music Bed – great resource for finding cinematic music.
  • Premium Beats – another great music resource, more geared toward commercial uses.

Cameras & Equipment

  • Black Magic Design – these are the cameras I used to shoot Temple. Professional yet very affordable cameras that can render a high quality image similar to RED and ARRI at a fraction of the price.
  • Also used Resolve Studio to color correct and finish the film professionally in 4K.
  • Black Magic Fusion – a powerful VFX software that you can get for free (that used to cost thousands of dollars).

The 2 Films I reference in the class:




Student Projects

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