Dear Movies Silently, How can I make my own silent movie?

This is a common question. There are hundreds of amateur silent films online and more are uploaded every day. What do most of them have in common? They are awful. What’s most irritating is that many of the mistakes that these would-be silent directors make could have been avoided if they had spent a little time studying actual silent films.

Pet peeve? People who decide to make a silent movie to save money on sound equipment. Look, if you love silent movies and want to save some coin, I have no complaint. But if you have never seen a silent movie, obviously think they are beneath your notice and want to save some coin? Ha! Failure is assured and deserved.

Footage sources and availability links:

(In the order that they appear in the video)

The Phantom of the Opera (1925)

Barney Oldfield’s Race for a Life (1913)

Carmen (1915)

The Canadian (1926)

The Penalty (1920)

M’Liss (1918)

8 Replies to “Dear Movies Silently, How can I make my own silent movie?”

  1. The misconceptions about silent film acting pain me. I was reading reviews for that wretched film Revenge of the Sith and people were honest to God saying garbage like “the acting is worse than silent film acting!” I doubt any of these sci-fi nerds have seen anything beyond a Mack Sennett clip played at the wrong speed.

  2. Another great video, Fritzi! You really hit the nail on the head in this one. One time I saw someone’s attempt at a silent movie using modern vocal music (not so bad in and of itself), but then he put subtitles at the bottom of the screen for EVERY SINGLE WORD that the characters said! And to top it off, he said that he made it silent because his microphone wasn’t working. Not cool. Hopefully more people will do it right with the help of your video.

  3. I just came across this gem of a silent film at the National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature in (of all places) Abilene, TX. They are currently featuring artwork and sculptures created by William Joyce. “The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore” is a true delight, and appropriately won an Academy Aware for short film. Check it out (it’s about 15 minutes long) at And NO intertitles!!!

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