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The Things You Need To Know Before Making A Short Film

Making a short film is the rite of passage for many new filmmakers. If you have never made a short film, now is the time.

Seriously.

Not only are there a gazillion film festivals that offer a short movie program, but with websites like YouTube, you have the ability to reach a global audience.

This is better than the old days. Back then, making a short film meant that your work would get projected in theaters before the feature presentation.

But that trend ended. The short film was replaced by trailers and advertisements.

In the decades that followed, there wasn’t much of a market for short films. It was almost impossible to make money with a short film. As a result, finding investors to back a short was super challenging.

While I can’t say that the economics of short movie making has improved dramatically, the emergence of crowdfunding, festivals and internet based video platforms offers hope.

But regardless, you’re a filmmaker. And making a short film is a great training ground for getting your feature made, seen and sold.

Making A Short Film

Many people in Hollywood bounce around for years pretending to do work, when all they are really doing is pretending. Many of these people call themselves producers, yet they have no screen credits and have frankly failed to do anything!

Don’t do that.
If you haven’t yet made a short, my suggestion is to get started!

For your first few movies, don’t spent time worrying about lighting or special effects. Just learn how to utilize your limited resources and make something cool out of nothing.

Making A Short Film: Gear

For around two-thousand dollars, you can buy a camera that produces cinematic results. And if you can’t afford to grab a professional camera, then just utilize any camera you can get your hands on.

(Yes, this includes camera phones.)

Again, making something is better than making nothing.

In the event you cannot yet afford your own equipment, then find someone who already has gear and make friends.

Short Film Ideas

You next step is to get an idea for a short.

I suggest you focus on a story you can tell in three minutes or less.

When I was managing a film program, I noticed a lot of first-time filmmakers created dramatic stories that focused on suicide or some guy staring into a mirror and talking, or some chick shaving her head while reminiscing about apples and spiders.

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