In this day and age, anyone can make a short film. But, if you want to make a good film it will take time, preparation, and some expense. But, if making a short film is something you really want to do, putting time in now will make all the difference later.

Method 1: Forming the Film Ideas

1 Determine the genre. Are you making a narrative or documentary? Comedy or action? That is something you need to think about when starting your short film’s script. A good screenwriting website is
  • If you are planning to make a fiction film, then it’s narrative. Think of a basic story idea. You can get ideas for films from things you read in daily life, short stories, newspapers, etc.

Outline your idea. Write out your script, using Celtx; if you have never written a script before, pick up a book that explains script writing and character development, and that—along with the Celtx program—will be all you will need.

3 Write out your script. Begin this by thinking of the names of the characters, the time of the story (Is it 10 years from now? Is it a hundred years before our time?), think of it how the story starts.
Consider the following points when writing your script:
  • Character development
  • Plot development
  • Inciting incident
  • Character arc.
5 Story-board each shot in the film. Decide what each shot in the movie is going to be. For example, wide shot, over the shoulder, tracking shot, close up, extreme close up, medium wide shot. crane shot, dolly shot, etc.
6 Decide what you need for each scene. This is called a breakdown sheet.
7 Determine the setting of the scene. Is it external (EXT) or internal (INT)?
8 Determine the equipment you are going to need.
9 Determine the actors and crew.
10 Determine what props, make-up costumes, etc., will be used.
11 Start casting for cast and crew for the movie. Look for actors. Try looking for actors in your neighborhood, your school, anywhere. Your actors could be your friends, your family members, your classmates. Hold auditions for your actors. Make sure when you audition your them, they are right for the character, they should have similar attitudes, they should pretend they are the character they are portraying. That way, you could have the right person for the job and won’t be able to mess their character during your production filming. For crew you are going to need as many people as possible, but at least the following:
  • Camera person
  • Director of photography
  • Sound recorder
  • Costume and makeup person
  • Craft service
  • Someone who knows something about lighting
12 Create a script.
Method 2: Getting the Equipment Together
Ask around and see if any friends or family have some of the equipment below and see if you can borrow or rent it, otherwise you will be reaching deeper into you’re pocket for equipment costs. Also, it might be worth it to ask them to help out in you’re new project.
Learn the following features of your camera:
  • Focus ring
  • White balance
  • Iris
Get yourself a copy of the Filmmaker’s Handbook by Steven Ascher and Edward Pincus. Read it. They explain everything you will need to know about making your new film.
Method 3: Making the Short Film
1 Rehearse the short film. Actors should practice their lines. If you want to avoid getting many takes in your film, make them practice the lines and action combined.
2 Remember to provide food, a copy of the film, and, if your budget allows, expense money.
3 Do not trust what you see in the view finder. It is not always accurate, so remember to look with your own eyes, and review the film you take after each shot.
  • Remember: Anyone can record an image, but that is not making a film.
4 Complete the principal photography.
5 Edit the film. You do not need to use an expensive program at all. With the right skills, a free program that came with the computer can make stunning films. Do not think you need to use the most expensive program out there!
6 Show the film to friends and family and/or post it to YouTube. If you are serious about film-making, submit it to film festivals and send it to film agencies. Remember, the more publicity you get, the better short films you will be able to make in the future. And remember, everyone had to start somewhere!
7 Remember the most important rule of film-making–––have a good time!
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