10. Stop Preaching
9. Don’t Be Denomination Specific
8. If You Show it in Act 1, Use it in Act 3
7. Stop Crying
6. Tell a Story You Can Tell Well
5. Don’t Tell Me, Show Me
4. Make Villains Bad
These are great insights from a group of Catholic filmmakers. Now, keep in mind, #10 & #9 may be offensive to some readers in their first readings, especially my fellow fundamentalists out there. Honestly, though, if you are creating film that is going to speak to the masses, it cannot isolate the group of viewers to a small niche. It has nothing to do with watering down the message.
In a world of low (and high) budgets, these rules all hold true. It comes down to your ability to tell the story with your camera, the locations, and your actors. Write well. Shoot well. Act well. The goal should likely not be to create special effects that will compete with other blockbuster films unless you have a huge team of CG and special effects artists. Think simplicity. This is not skimping on quality! It’s merely using what you have at your disposal as effectively as possible. Often, the best impacting films are the ones that are the simplest. Remember, too, that it’s many times what is not seen or revealed, rather than what is shown. Let the audience use their imaginations. Use surprise. Use the twist.