Top Tips for Producing a Short Film

Photo by Andre Furtado from Pexels

By Matt Lovett | 16 Dec 2019 at 10:06am

There are many reasons why people want to make short films. From gaining experience to demonstrating your potential of creating a feature film, it’s a popular choice for many budding filmmakers and producers globally. 

A lot of people think that producing a short film is easy, but, no matter how long the film is, it can be challenging – no matter how experienced you are within the film industry. 

Creating an amazing script, bringing together filmmaking components, hiring the key crew and finding amazing actors isn’t as simple as it seems and it takes a lot of preparation. 

Which is why you should sit down and plan out everything before picking up the camera. To help guide you through how to get ready, here is a list of the top tips you can use for producing a short film.

Jot Down All of Your Ideas into A Compelling Script 

A short film needs a script – whether it’s a few minutes or half an hour long. The most important thing to get right, it needs to include all of the key scenes and dialogue so that your cast and crew follow a seamless filming journey. Think about a story that you can tell in a short amount of time, is it unique and interesting? 

Once you have written a script and built the narrative, it’s a good idea to get others to read it through, to ensure that it follows a good pattern and that it will entice audiences.

Set A Budget, and Stick to It!

Without a realistic budget, you’ll find that your short film is rapidly costing you more than you can afford. Before hiring the cast and crew and creating the filming schedule, sit down and consider what your maximum budget will be. You need enough so that you can hire the equipment, use suitable filming locations and hire cast and crew. So budget out how much you can realistically spend and where you can save money.

Get Your Crew Early 

Once you’ve assembled your script, it’s time to organise your key crew. Decide who is going to direct, produce, edit, etc. Producing a short film is a collaborative project – so it’s a good idea to hire people with a similar vision. Even if you don’t have a large budget, you’ll be able to get a crew that has experience and that are motivated to create an amazing short film.

Hire a Talented Cast 

You might be wondering, how do I cast actors for a short film? Unfortunately, unless you have millions of pounds in your budget, you won’t get an A-lister cast. But that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t cast local and talented actors for your short film. Consider the characters and the type of people that you are looking for by reading through your script and discussing it with your key crew. 

By auditioning several actors, it will give you a better idea of how to compare and contrast talent – as well as who has chemistry. With this step, it’s important that you do it early so that you are guaranteed to have all of the cast that you need on the first day of filming.

Filming Locations

Once you have your actors and crew, scout out some potential filming locations. Depending on your budget, you might find that you’re able to travel across the country or even to another country to film. But if you’re on a tight budget, it’s important to consider more wallet-friendly options, such as using a green screen or utilising local attractions.

Create A Realistic Schedule 

A filming schedule is essential for any short film. Within this, you’ll need to list the amount/type of shots you are producing, how long you’re spending on different elements of the film, when it will go into editing and post-production, etc. If you don’t create a schedule, you’ll find that you become incredibly unorganised and stressed, trying to get everything done within a tight timeframe.


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