How to Make a Short Film

How to make a short film? That’s a question we have asked ourselves many times, yet we stay far- far away from practically doing it. Why does it happen? What stops you as a film-maker from telling a story that you dream to tell to the world. So let us discuss how to make a short film without any further delay.

Finding a Good Story Idea For Short Film.

The very first step for the question How to make a short film is to find a good story. Finding a good story is not very difficult. Just browse your day carefully. Read the newspaper with an attitude to an observer. The stories are always around us we just need to be aware of our surroundings. 

You can further make a list of topics or genres to make it easy to find a story idea. The subjects, for the short films, can be chosen from a wide range of categories. For example to Society – Religion – Corruption- Greed- Motivational- Inspiring – Family- Action etc. 

The one-liners can help you to build an interesting plot for the story of your next short film. Remember the ideas are always floating in the space we just need to be more receptive to cultivate them into the stories. 

A few good examples of one-liners for your next short films  

  1. Two good friends were traveling in a car and give a lift to a stranger who forgets a suitcase which has ten million US $ in it.  
  2.  The drug addict brother decides to rob his brother for the money and his brother gets killed in this action but later he finds out that his brother was alive it was him who died that day. 
  3.  The bad day -The protagonist lost the job – Money and house due to the wrong delivery of a courier. 

So likewise the ideas can be generated from day to day life. So if you are struggling to make a short film due to the lack of story ideas now you understand how to find one for your next film. 

Writing a story & Screenplay for Short Film 

The next step is to write a story and screenplay. If you are yourself a writer motivate yourself to write down the story in outline. Instead of writing the right story for your next short film, it would be a good idea to write it in an outline with a little description of the activity and action instead of a story consist of paragraphs. Because you are writing a story outline for the short film which can easily be changed and turned into a screenplay. 

Here is the example of writing the story outline 

  1. Vikas is taking the drug in the park with his friends. Just then they saw a person crossing them and they decide to rob him for the money. 
  2. Vikas and his friends robbed the person by showing a pistol and runways on a bike. 
  3. They reach a gambling house and where Vikas wins the game but before he could take this money someone comes and snatches this money as his due was pending at a bar and casino.  
  4. The casino owner gives him an ultimatum to return the pending money and stops his drug supplies. 
  5. Vikas back at home comes to know that his brother will be getting 100000 Rupees as a bonus 
  6. Vikas makes a plan to rob his brother 

So in this way, one can create the outline for the short film. This outline can be turned into detailed scenes an example of how to write scenes for the short film is given below 

Scene 01. Exterior/ Street /Night

Artist: Akshaye- his friend Bablu /Old Man

Hum dictate hai ki Bike par baith kar Akshye or uska Saathi bablu drugs le rahe hai … Dono ek foil paper ke upar kuch material daal kar usko cigratee ke saath smoke kar rahe hai. Tabhi waha par se ek old age aadmi gujrata hai :

Bablu : Dekh Bhai aaj ka jugad to ho gaya samaj 

Akshye : Rahan de yaar ? … jitni chadi hai na wo bhi utar jayegi 

Bablu laughs a bit and removes pistols from his back 

Bablu:- Iske samne sab ki bolti band ho jaati …chal 

We are providing you a free copy of this script for your learning purpose please download the files from here 

Short Films are Not Feature Films

Remember if you are writing the screenplay for a short film it needs to pace fast. It must introduce the characters and introduce plot points quickly if you want to know what are the plot points in film/screenplay writing click here to know more. As a short filmmaker, your challenge is to tell a story in the quickest manner. A short film may range from 1 minute to 45 minutes long.

Storyboarding the Scenes for Short Films

Once you have locked the screenplay it is time for you to storyboard the scenes. It will help you understand the blocks for the scene before the shooting. It will help you and your crew to be clear about the goal of the scenes.

Here is the example of the storyboarding

Locations For your Short Film 

Every scene in the screenplay will require a location where it will be filmed. After the screenplay of the short film is ready it is time to lock the locations to film the scenes. Before you decide the location remember that locations such as public places and roads require prior permissions from local authorities. As a short filmmaker, we are always tight on the budget in such a situation we can request the location owners to allow us to use their private locations and in exchange, you can offer to clean their locations, etc don’t forget to negotiate the price and cost of locations.

Hiring the Crew for Short Film 

It is easy for a person who is studying in a film school to recruit the crew for his short films. You require the following crew members for your short film 

  1. Director of photography (Cinematographer)
  2. Sound Recordists 
  3.  Actors 
  4. Assistant Directors 
  5. Lightmen or Gaffers  

You can always post an advertisement online at mandy.com or on Facebook that you are making a short film and wish to hire some crew member. If you have a budget do offer some money if you don’t have the budget at least offer travel and food during the shooting period. Every film has a budget there is no such thing as a zero-budget film 

( That is why we wrote an article about the myth of zero-budget film to read that click here )  

You can hire a crew who have their own equipment. You can target the people who are looking for film exposure and want to build their resumes. This will save you some money. 

The Post-Production/Video Editing for Short Films 

Once you have filmed your short film shot by shot and scene by scene it is time to jump to the video editing room. Nowadays learning to edit is easy thousands of tutorials are available online but we will recommend getting an editor for your film.
It is always good to get a second opinion about your scenes and shots and an editor can help you in this a lot. Even if you are a good editor but you must hire an editor to edit your films so that you can get a different perspective on the short film that you have made.

There are many free video editing software is available which can be used to edit your short film for free. To know more about the free video editing software click here

Marketing/Exhibiting your Short Film 

Last but not least once your short film is complete it is time to market it and exhibit it to the right audience. No doubt Youtube is a big platform and you can put your short film there on your channel. But it is recommended to send your short films to the film festivals. Film Festivals have an audience that can apperciate or give critical feedback to your film. By rightly marketing the short films you can mark your position among known film-makers. Who knows that your short film may commission you the next full feature-length film.

So do not delay any further and start writing your next short film. Do not find any more about “How to make a short film” instead just do it, cause a whole world full of opportunity is waiting for young filmmakers who can tell great and exciting stories to the people