How do I make a good short film

How do I make a good short film?

The following is based on my experiences.
These advices are useful if you want to make a good film with a mini film production experience.
It needs a budget.
If you want to cut down on it, you can omit one point at a time based on your priority list.
Do not expect people to like your film after all the hard work.
In all possibilities you will be embarrassed to watch your own film after a few years.
Learn… That’s the best thing you can do while making your first film.

I am no expert but I have tried my hand at film making – so I can answer you fairly enough.
From my filming experience – I can say that a film isn’t about the amount of vfx , sound or even the quality of your camera – its more about to what extent it can engage the audience and that happens with a combination of story and writing , cinematography , acting and editing .

Especially a short film , as here people have that power to fast forward through your content.
Storyboard and scripting
Content is the heart and the soul of any film – it can be a simple story but the way you tell it is important.
Observation is the key to great content – see what’s going around you and you might find a story to tell .
Also always write a script dialogue wise – mention the location and a description.
On writing scenes, try to make it look as real as it can – observe how things happen in your life and try to replicate those in your film
Simple rule – if you make relatable things, people will like it more
I was more into the storyboard, writing and the directing part – so I have less to say on cinematography and editing – but I’ll still share whatever I learnt .
Cinematography
While in the storyboarding part – you try to make your film more relatable – here you try to engage the audience with the film
Just don’t stick to filming – experiment with the angles and make your scene look more interacting.
One thing I have seen in many films is that if you are doing a scene which shows how the protagonist is moving about his work – keep the camera at his eye level which automatically makes the audience feel as if they are into the film with the character.
Acting
This can actually make or break your film – if your actors aren’t convincing in their roles then you yourself won’t enjoy filming with them, let the audience alone
Best way is to make them rehearse before the scene and make sure they understand the scene and believe in the characters they are playing
Editing
Show things which are important – repetitive scenes would make a film boring (or if you need to show the protagonist doing the same thing – show it in different ways from different angles)
Adobe premiere pro – I think that is what everyone uses and it is the best options among others.
(Sorry I can’t explain this perfectly – the only thing I know is that the editing would be good if the filming done is good)
These are the most important aspects you have to take care of.
Work on them one by one and Perfect them first.
If you have a team – the work not only becomes easier but the outcome comparatively is better.
There are other things like set design, costumes, lighting, sound dubbing etc.
which improve as you make more and more films.
There are many things you can do to make your film look good – the more you do the better.
And it is difficult to cover everything in this one answer.
If you are taking short film making seriously – read as much as you can – watch movies of different genres – you can also watch film analysis done on YouTube.
I strongly believe – observation is the key! Observe more and you learn more.
EDIT : so the question was merged – the previous one asked how to start a short film .
so I am adding that answer here .
note that you have less time in hand to show things in a short film so i think the best way to start a film is to show who your protagnist is and how he reacts to the central theme of your story
for example if you are filming something on hydrophobia and the events that take place because of it – you can start by showing how your protagonist reacts to water .
this way automatically the audience understand that the character has hydrophobia and you cut out on the voice over part .
I feel a film is effective when things are ‘shown’ rather than just ‘said’ .

Making a short film is very much like making a feature film.
I mean that you still need to go through the same stages of production to have a completed film at the end of the process.
Below I’m sharing my own experiences working as a writer, director and producer.
Stage 1
Concept for the Script (you need a script regardless what kind of format your film is going to take.
For documentaries, a treatment is enough)

1.
An idea is born and anything can trigger that initial idea for the script.
2.
Once I have an idea I usually start playing with it in my mind trying out different options of “what if”.
3.
Then I start asking myself questions: ‘What if my character would do this or that?’, ‘How would that look?’, ‘What should the visuals look like?’, ‘Would I have a budget for that?’, ‘Could I afford this idea to go into production?’
4.
Then I start wondering what I really want my film to be about.
5.
Don’t be afraid to play with various ideas and options in your mind before you start writing.
That’s the real creative process.
6.
Give yourself time to get acquainted with the concepts & ideas you have; let your characters and ideas grow inside you before you either commit to them or dismiss them.
7.
You don’t have to know all the details right away and how the story is going to evolve before you write a script.
Many issues get resolved during the writing process.
Stage 2
Scriptwriting.

1.
When all ideas and concepts have rested and grown (just like a dough) I sit down and start writing.
2.
I basically write anything that comes to my mind.
At first it doesn’t have to be perfect.
I write to give myself the space for my concepts to change and evolve whilst writing.
This is what a development/writing process is for.
3.
I re-write my scripts a lot.
That is why I write whatever comes to me.
For me writing is all about rewriting.
4.
I keep re-writing until I’m happy enough to make a film out of my story.
Sometimes it takes weeks or months, but sometimes even years.
Stage 3
Pre-production.

I would advice to the director and the producers to decide where the film is going to go once it’s made.
What I mean is: ‘Are you making your short in order to go to film festivals (don’t forget to budget for that) or are you planning to release your short online?’ That will determine the format you are going to shoot in and also the camera you are going to use.
I do realize that a lot of films do end up online at some point but just keep that in mind while deciding on the format.
Even better if you know what film festivals you want to submit your work to.
1.
Organize casting to find the right actors.
2.
Look for crew members.
3.
Look for locations.
4.
Prepare your contracts (yes, you need to have contracts with your cast and crew members and it really doesn’t matter that you are friends at this moment in time) and have them signed, too.
5.
If you are the director, keep working on your script analysis.
6.
If you are the director, work with all your heads of departments to achieve the look you are after.
7.
If this is not a self-financed project, you need to find the money to go into production.
8.
Budgeting to know how much money you can spend on the production, don’t forget to include post-production and film festivals fees if this is the direction your film is going to go.
9.
Script breakdown to know how many shooting days you need.
10.
Scheduling.
11.
Call sheet just before you go into production.
12.
Rehearsals with the actors.
13.
Set design/production design build/done/prepared.
Stage 4
Production.

All the hard work you did during the pre-production is going to pay off now.
My motto is: ‘the better you are prepared during the pre-production the better you will be able to cope with the unexpected during the production.
’ And it’s never failed me.
This is the time when you shoot your movie, work with your actors and other creators to make the film a reality.
1.
As much as possible try to stick with the shooting schedule even if it’s close to impossible.
Otherwise it creates problems for the whole crew and cast.
If you start shooting late, you will finish late, keep that in mind.
2.
Plan your shooting schedule, and a shoot list wisely.
3.
If you have a noisy location try to record the sound/dialogue once again so you are not stuck in the post-production.
4.
Make sure that actors keep everything simple and don’t overdo the scenes.
Once you go into post-production you may realize that this is not what you had in mind.
Remember, in most cases the simple the better.
5.
Don’t forget to feed your crew well.
A well-looked after cast & crew is more willing to work.
Remember though not to feed them with something terribly heavy like pizza for they may be sleepy afterwards.
6.
Remember to use a clapper board for every take.
Otherwise you are going to be in big nig trouble in the post-production.
7.
Try not to work for too long.
It often creates problems between crewmembers if you spend more than 10 hours on the set.
8.
At the end of the production have either a little party or eat dinner together.
Stage 5
Post-Production
1.
Editing of the images from first cut to the final cut.
2.
Sound and music post-production, sound and music mix.
3.
Colour correction.
4.
Working on the opening and end credits and subtitles if you have them.
5.
Working on your marketing and promotional plan; you really should think about that during the pre-production but if you didn’t this is the last moment.
6.
Looking for film festivals, choosing the right film festivals and making sure you deliver your film on time.
Happy filmmaking.

Innate talent for the craft.
(Stanley Kubrick rented films from the library and watched them over and over to learn “technique”, but he already had a natural eye for composition and won a Pulitzer for one of his still pictures at 17.
Even with Kubrick’s talent, it was many years before he made “The Killing” which I consider to be his “Breakout Film”.
Then another 12 years and several big films (including Spartacus and Dr.
Strangelove) before he made his masterwork: 2001.
)
Study Kubrick films.
(Insane attention to every detail wrapped into every scene of every movie.
Recommend “The Shining” for the best grasp of the “Kubrick’s Technique”.
) There are few directors who get their names over the title.
Even fewer who had total creative control over the final cut.
A coherent Story/Script
Fundamental understanding of film-making, lighting, cameras and lenses…and sound.
(This can take many years, but much as an orchestra conductor must know what each instrument should sound like, you have to know what each element of a scene should be at its best.
You need to speak the language of every department, even if you’re a one-man band.
)
Communication skills.
(No matter how basic the film, if it has actors, you need to talk with them about what you want.
If you’re lucky enough to have a crew…the same applies.
)
A basic camera with detachable lenses.
Wide, Average and Telephoto lenses.
Fundamental understanding of storytelling through editing
Computer and storage dedicated to editing.
Shoot and edit your ass off.
Make mistakes.
Be your own best audience and worst critic.
Create your own style.
Be invisible – (Film-making is the ultimate art form, as it makes use of most all the others and under proper care, they coalesce into one.
If any one element stands out as a break in continuity, you lose.
You have to learn by doing.
Bios of great filmmakers are more valuable than “How to make a movie” book.
)
Patience & Thick Skin.
(It took Kubrick 4 years to make 2001 and that was before digital effects.
On its premier some of the execs of MGM walked out in confusion and disgust.
Today, that film stands as a transitional point in the history of film and many directors continue to be influenced by what is perhaps the most pure movie of all time.
It could never be anything but a film.
) Note: It took me 64 years to see one of my films in a modern theater where people parted with money to see it.
Never give up.
Money.
(Basic equipment can be rented, but training while renting can be more expensive than buying the hard and software.
You, actors and crew need to eat.
There are a multitude of unexpected expenses.
This list gets very long, but you get it.
Working to morph all the art forms together into a thing called a film isn’t cheap.
)
Good luck.

Well, film making is nothing short of a war.
There are many demons and dragons that the filmmakers have to slay to create a good short film.
There are several things to consider to make a good short film.
First thing I would want you to consider is your resolve to make a good film.
If you are a type of person who would quit or is afraid of difficulties, this is definitely not the field for you.
Now, that we have established that, a key component to consider is having a good script.
If possible, try to make a story of your own.
While, selecting a story make sure it is precise and simple.
Short films are small productions that leave deep messages in a short span of time.
So, keep the time factor in mind and get a simple and short story.
Your film should never exceed 40 minutes (including the credit rolls) for it to be considered a short film.
Now, that you have a story in mind, script writing is the next step and one of the most crucial steps.
Make sure your script is precise and does not include unnecessary dialogues and details.
Many a times, filmmakers might think that a good story will make a brilliant movie.
But truthfully, it is a good script that makes a brilliant movie.
Many a times, dialogues that seem funny on paper might not be as funny or humorous on screen.
So, it is very crucial to write a script that goes along with the story line and actually brings out the emotions you desire from the viewers when portrayed on the screen.
Of course, the portrayal by the artists also adds essence to the script but a good script is necessary to even help those artists portray the characters.
Well, if you want more details as to how to incorporate dialogues into your script, you can also refer to my article- 2D Short Films  making tips for you.
But before going into the short film making tips, let us first define it.
When we say short film, we are referring to the movies that are relatively shorter than the normal two-hour movie.
It can be 30 minutes or even one minute.
While it is short, it must still have a complete story.
That means it must still have an introduction, body, and conclusion.
My Short Film Making Tips
1.
Make a simple story

Since you will be making a short movie, just create a simple story.
Don't make a novel because the time might not contain it.
Just focus on a single idea and let the story revolve around it.
2.
Make anticipations

Don't show everything from the beginning immediately.
It's good to place some suspense to let your audience anticipate on what will happen in the end.
This will capture your viewers' attention until the story reaches the climax.
3.
Use few characters

I watched some short movies that are not so effective due to having so many characters.
It makes the story not so focused.
Don't be afraid to use few characters.
if you can even make a story that has only one character then that will be great.
There's a short film I watched where in they only used two characters but it was very nice.
Having few characters not only make your life as a film maker easier.
It will also easily drive the audience to focus on few elements of the film.
4.
Complete the story

As I said above, a 2D Short Films  making tips for you.
But before going into the short film making tips, let us first define it.
When we say short film, we are referring to the movies that are relatively shorter than the normal two-hour movie.
It can be 30 minutes or even one minute.
While it is short, it must still have a complete story.
That means it must still have an introduction, body, and conclusion.
My Short Film Making Tips
1.
Make a simple story

Since you will be making a short movie, just create a simple story.
Don't make a novel because the time might not contain it.
Just focus on a single idea and let the story revolve around it.
2.
Make anticipations

Don't show everything from the beginning immediately.
It's good to place some suspense to let your audience anticipate on what will happen in the end.
This will capture your viewers' attention until the story reaches the climax.
3.
Use few characters

I watched some short movies that are not so effective due to having so many characters.
It makes the story not so focused.
Don't be afraid to use few characters.
if you can even make a story that has only one character then that will be great.
There's a short film I watched where in they only used two characters but it was very nice.
Having few characters not only make your life as a film maker easier.
It will also easily drive the audience to focus on few elements of the film.
4.
Complete the story

As I said above, a How do I write a script for a short film

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