So you love short films. Somebody brilliant like Luis Buñuel might be your inspiration, and movies like "The Red Balloon" would have charmed you inside out. We can understand your reasons for being a short film creator, and the whole idea of telling a short story with perfection is undoubtedly enticing.
Not to mention, the craft of short films is overwhelming. Not everybody can pack all the elements of a three-hour-long movie into 30 minutes, but that's the challenge we love both as creators and audiences
Let's grab our popcorn and soda to go through the best tips to make a short film in as little time as possible.
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Be sure about everything.
The movie-making process is full of uncertainties, but that should never stop you from creating a solid yet flexible plan for your shoot. However, you have to leave space for unprecedented events, for coping mechanisms must be in place. Make sure that you are fully aware of the idea you propose. You cannot risk ignoring even the most minor aspect of movie-making.
Suppose there comes an unwanted situation ( there will be many), you have to use your planning structure to dodge the problems. Otherwise, you will rely too much on chance, which will surely not be the fastest way to movie creation. Be a master planner!
Develop and re-develop your story.
You have to refine your story to the max, or unnecessary elements will increase your movie's running time. Spend time coming up with a story that goes well with your movie-making feasibility. If possible, develop a simple but impactful story instead of something extraordinary. Remove any aspect that might need excessive effort, like VFX.
Pen a story that you can convincingly tell in around 30 minutes. Keep things grounded and the characters relatable. Short movie lovers are not expecting Star Wars as they want to watch art, emotions, concepts, and intriguing stories. Play it safe to finish your project in time.
Connect with people who fit the best with your goals. Actors have their ways of working, which might contradict your limitations. The time spent casting fitting actors might be daunting, but it paves the way for smooth production. Think about it. Human resources have the highest bounce rates. All your equipment will work as you intend, but your workforce can be a pain to manage.
However, don't compromise on the quality of your actors either. Create a balance with good actors who can fully commit to your schedule. Bring out the best in them, and everything else will fall in place.
Right pieces of equipment
Your equipment requirements depend on your script and budget. Unfortunately, most short movie makers cannot afford to have top-class equipment at their disposal. That might be an issue, but that's where intelligence kicks in. Make sure that either you have ample money for your gear or you develop a story that goes well with your possibilities.
Also, you have to keep extra finances in case a tool breaks or an urgent need for new equipment arrives. You can also be inventive with your shots, but make sure that it delivers a quality product, or things will look terrible. Quality is the heart of belief!
Don't forget the sound.
Your sound can be an issue or one of the most significant assets of your movie. Be very careful with choosing the right sound designer, or your shots will lose the power they could have enjoyed. Bad sound is a stand-out feature in a bad movie. Why? Either the sound guy was amateur, or you hurried the film.
Now, by quickly, we do not mean creating a half-baked movie. Your soundtrack should come from a person who knows the value of time. Sound designing has infinite possibilities, but your time crunch leaves no space for over-creativity. Keep things clear with your sound guy, and let them know the quality you expect in so and so time. Only then can post-production finish in time.
How cumbersome and dis-hearting editing can be?
It can be one of the worst nightmares of a moviemaker when they realize something is not correct, and now things are beyond salvation. Occasionally, it can even make you discover that your footage is way different than your vision. There are times when a technical error shuts the editing process down, and you have to start again. That's editing horror!
But all of it happens with those who don't take post-production seriously. Editing has the power to polish your project only when you know what you're doing and what you can do. If you do not possess its knowledge, you should hire a professional who can finish your movie in time with a good quality outcome.
Being the head of the table, you have to make sure that every team member is on the same page. You have to keep everyone informed, paid, and happy. Don't let any of them screw up in the hectic movie schedule. Develop a healthy relationship, so they work in your favor.
It would be best if you were open to taking suggestions and discussing issues. Tell them your expectations and clarify their responsibilities. Remember, have fun with your team. These people can work for money anywhere, but they stick because the work environment is fantastic. You get what you give!
A short film is a huge responsibility, but it is also a great adventure. Do not expect yourself to create a movie without field experience, and failures are a part of the process that leads to movie magic.
Like any other craft, you will be able to smoothly run through the entire filmmaking process with time and experience. Never lose your heart because your creative journey will have ups and downs. Not everything you create will be brilliant, but some of your work will be a timeless classic. Be persistent, keep learning and never stop exploring. And yes, no pack-up till the movie is finished.
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