Have you been thinking about shooting a short film? Do you have a million ideas but don’t know where and how to start? You’ve arrived at the right place because this article is for you! Filmmaking requires time and specific skills due to its technical high discipline, however, this art has been becoming easier every year, mainly because of technology’s improvement. So, right now, with some ideas, a respectable computer, efficient editing software, and a good camera, the result can end up better than you think!
You can bump into some difficulties in your path, such as time and money, but nothing is impossible if you keep your feet on the ground. Be realistic and grounded, keeping your goals well defined! That’s the key for a beginner’s success in film-making. It can be a real struggle, but it’s also a rite of passage for many filmmakers, so don’t give up, and always try your best!
Before we dive into this guide on how to shoot a short film, I have some advice for you. The first one is for your first project – forget about the lighting and the special effects, it’s more important to come up with a good and cool idea, with limited resources. The next one is to avoid serious and overly dramatic films, unless it’s really important for you to share something on that vibe. Last, but not least, your audience is your business, so disclosure is completely essential for you to expose your work to the world! Without further ado, let’s begin this essential guide:
The Script, a Good Idea That Works in Minutes
Since we’re talking about a short film, you’ll want to come up with an idea that works in a few minutes, keeping it simple and with focus! A long story can be distracting and not appealing, leaving the audience wandering too far. The script must be interesting, engaging, and worth the effort. A lot of pressure, right? I know, since a cohesive and out-of-the-box script will be the key to success, so it’s a very important step to reach a high level of quality. After the script, be sure to create a descriptive storyboard! Another advice I have for you is keeping the cast small and limiting locations where you know you can shoot, effortlessly, so this way, it will be easier to reach a better final result. Be creative and you will not fail!
Cast and Crew Will Be Your Team
Now that you have an awesome idea, you must decide who is going to be part of this project, such as the director and the cinematographer. These two positions will be really essential, as they will be the ones that bring to life your vision and imprint their personal techniques and tastes on it. The other positions you just don’t have to fill them right now, but you should go with focused and determined people you trust!
Producing the Amazing Film
Communication is crucial in this step! Everyone should know every position, schedule, and directions, especially if the shooting will take place in different places and times. Organization and strict schedules can save you money by not shooting too many takes or for too long, because you’ll need to pay your crew. Always remember to make sure everything is going according to your direction! It’s important to keep everyone happy to make a good environment, but also remind everyone to work, to be focused, and to follow your directions! Be efficient and don’t miss a shooting day!
Qualified Equipment Will Make the Difference
The keyword for this topic is also “efficiency”, as you will want to make a list of inexpensive but good equipment. All the pixels aren’t necessary, although cameras and other items should be functional to film everything properly and to not break down in the middle of your shoot. Testing is also really important, as well as making sure all the batteries are charged! This is the step where you can trade quality for money, as a lot of good short movies, filmed with camera phones, have received amazing reviews.
Money, Money, Money!
If you’re a novice, you should calculate a realistic budget for your film, thinking about the minimum and also the maximum you will spend. Where is the money coming from? Usually, in short films, you’ll have to pay it all yourself – to your crew and cast, studio, food, and other stuff. I recommend crowdfunding if you don’t have the possibility and savings. Crowdfunding, explained in a simple way, is raising money from other people in public and it’s mostly referring to gathering donations in online platforms. How do you do that? The first step is choosing a crowdfunding platform wisely, then setting a reasonable target fund and the right length of time, keeping your incentives desirable, and publicizing the campaign. Seems easy, right?
Lights, Camera, Action!
I hope this guide will help you in the future when you’re bringing your ideas to reality! Don’t forget to practice, to communicate with your crew and mostly, to be happy with your project. Motivation should take you to infinity and beyond! I wish you luck and all the success in the world.