How to Make Your First Short Film
Making a short film is any beginner’s passport to film making. With numerous short film festivals and websites like YouTube, one even has the advantage of global exposure.
However, making a short film requires a lot of planning and effort. Here are some steps you need to follow to make your first ever short film.
Watch short movies
If you want to make a good short film you must first be familiar with all its aspects and the best way to do that is to watch others’ works. Go to film festivals or watch popular short movies online to grasp what is that, that goes into such movies which make them worthwhile.
Think about what you want to make a film about. Keep your ideas original; write them down, select the best out of those and make a good convincing script. And yes, try to keep its length short. Ideally, keeping the length of 3-5 minutes is the best bet for your first short film; although you can even try a film 10-15 minutes long.
Make a budget
Lay out all your resources and write down a budget. Think about all the elements of the film like equipment, props, cast, transport, crew and catering. Try to keep some part of the resource for emergencies or mishaps like extended schedule due to bad weather etc.
Although a movie made with a good cinematic camera is something else but still you can start off with any camera you can get your hands on; even your phone’s camera. Or you can very well borrow a good quality camera from someone you know that has one.
Schedule your shoot well in advance. Coordinate with your crew and cast and make sure they are available on that day. Write down the different locations you want to shoot in separately, and note down all the scenes you want to shoot within those heads. Also, set aside at least two other days for rehearsal so that there are increased chances of better performances plus it will save you time while shooting. Another thing to keep in mind here is that, if you are low on budget try to schedule your shoot locally and in the daytime for it will save you money on transport and lighting equipment respectively.
Shooting and Editing
As it is going to be your first project, try to keep your camera movement to a minimum, leaving complex camera moves for when you have gained more experience. Keep camera exposure and composition simple as well. Give special attention to sound. Invest in good proportion of your budget on getting the sound of your movie impressive since it is imperative to a successful film. As far as editing is concerned, there are many cheap but competent software available in the market. Nevertheless, it would be a good idea to learn to edit yourself in the future to save money on the editor.
Spread the word
Now that your movie is completed, its time to get the wheels in motion and let the world know about your great work. Send your movie to various short film festivals; upload it on free video sharing site like YouTube and generate your audience by sharing it on social networking sites like Facebook.
Some other important things to keep in mind would be
To get your script reviewed by an experienced filmmaker before you start off with shooting
Visiting prospective locations with your cameraman before hand
Making arrangements for extras in case any cast member is unable to make it for shooting at the last minute
Planning in advance what you would be shooting in place of the scheduled scene in case of a bad weather or other such mishaps To not use just friends or colleagues for your entire crew and cast and investing in some experienced personnel as well There is no short cut to success. The only key to it is to make mistakes, learn from them and keep on practicing.