How to Make a Short Film

For the aspiring filmmaker, their short film is going to be the first time when they actually put all their skills into practice. It can be an exciting but overwhelming process. There’s no need to worry, help is here. If you’re looking to make an amazing short film, keep reading for tips on the entire process.

Getting the script, location, and actors right

The script, of course, will be where you start. Make sure the story is one that can be told in a short period of time. Think: what shortcuts can I use to immediately build my characters, the story’s world, and the main idea in the fastest way possible?

Location – or locations – come next. For a low budget film, indoor locations can be your own house or a friend’s place. Remember that permits to shoot can be pricey, so keep that in mind when choosing a location that you don’t own. If you have a local business in mind that works as a location, offer them a wide shot with their name featured prominently, or a spot in the closing credits.

The next step is to audition actors. If you’re tempted to cut corners, remember using friends and family can result in bad acting that messes up your film. Audition a few candidates who are actually practiced in the art of acting. Local theater companies, universities, online ads and talent agencies are all good resources.

Shoot the film with an emphasis on visuals

Before any filming starts, get the actors to rehearse. “Blocking” or acting the scene out on set is an essential part of the process. Once you start to shoot, remember that collaboration with your cast and crew is better than being a dictator. Get ideas from them on how shots look, ask the actors play the characters in the way they feel is best. This is why it’s important to surround yourself with talented people.

In a short film, visuals are everything. Screencraft advises making them just as compelling as the script. The narrative is important as well, but in a film that’s very short, the visuals have a greater impact on a viewer. Make sure your lighting is on point and the frame is in focus. For the actual filming of scenes, make sure you have a storyboard to keep you organized. This should be created before filming starts.

How to edit and review

Now it’s time for the fun part, editing. Start by doing a chronological rough cut of the scenes. Then add audio, including any sound effects or music. Don’t drown out the sound of dialogue with music or sounds. You want your actors to be heard.

This is your chance to pace the film well. Critically analyze if each scene begins at the best moment and ends on a good line or image. The goal is to keep the audience curious about what happens next. The length of a short film varies, but it can run at around five minutes to 30 minutes, anything more is stretching it.