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5 Tips for Making a Low-budget Short Film

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Making Low-budget Short Films is not that difficult as you might think. It just requires true interest in the field, determination, and a THOROUGH planning. That’s pretty much it. The 5 steps below should give you a good idea of how to get started:

  1. Make a budget.

    When you know how much you can afford to make a short film, you will write the script, find cast & crew, locations, and so on, according to it. Say, you only have £1,000, then you know your short must be made within that budget!

  2. Write a GREAT script.

    Now that you know how much money you can spend to make it happen. You can start writing a script that fits your budget. If possible, you should write the script yourself. Because you’re making a low-budget short film, right? Most indie filmmakers are writers / producers / directors and sometimes even editors, which I also am. One of the main reasons is, you guessed it, budget. So, if you can wear many hats, then please do.

    A typical short film should be around 5-7 minutes long which is the same as a 5-7 pages script. Because 1 minute on screen equals 1 page script. You can do that, right? Because you ARE a filmmaker, hence you're a natural born storyteller. So, writing a script and telling a story that only you can tell and / or personal to you should become second nature to you.

    Then, follow a standard formula that a story should have: A beginning, a middle and an end. Keep the locations, actors, props, etc. in mind, too, in terms of budget when writing a script. Since you’re making a low-budget short film, you can’t just write a script that contains expensive costumes, set pieces, fine dining restaurants, and the like.

    If you want to get a taste of how to write screenplays before you commit yourself to a more comprehensive writing courses, so to help get you started I have an introduction screenwriting online course that will teach you how to generate story ideas, choose the right story concept, genre, and so on, that you can enroll here for just $49!

3. Plan, plan and plan till you drop!

Plan your filmmaking process like making a storyboard and a shot list, which you can do yourself as well if you plan in good time. That’s why planning stage is crucial. Because once you’re in control of everything, you will be more confident on set and will be able to handle any problems that may arise during the filming.

4. Find the right cast & crew.

Start looking for cast & crew. Take your time to find the right, good people to work with. Ideally, you should interview and meet them in person, if you can, to get to know them better before working together but do that with plenty of time in advance. So, you will have time to interview various candidates one-on-one and select the right ones. If you're also an actor, you can also be one of the actors yourself. This will also help keep the budget down to some extent because hiring an actor/actress is not cheap. You will need at least a few actors for your short, so. Unless you're able to pull it off making a film with just one actor. Therefore, if you don't keep an eye on your budget and expenses and before you know it you may suddenly overspend your budget. And believe me when I say this. Because I have made this mistake myself. 

When you see and hear them talk face-to-face, you can decide: Is this the person I’d want to work with? Will he stab me in the back as soon as I turn my back around? And so on. You can also feel if they’re going to deliver or just an empty talk / promise. You want to work with the people that understand your vision and can thus help you translate it into reality, and that you can get along with the person you’re going to work with, right? So, this step is also very important. So, take your time.

5. Be positive.

Finally, just look forward to making the film and telling great, original story and trust your gut that you CAN do it. Good storytelling is the foundation of filmmaking and should be an ambition you've had since childhood or as long as you can remember. So, it should be something you are super excited at the chance of creating an unforgettable, cinematic storytelling that will establish your unique voice and style as a filmmaker. Good luck!

I hope that the 5 instructions above will help guide you in the right direction how to get started making low-budget short films from beginning to end. But this is just a rough idea of how to make low-budget short films or even features during the inception / pre-production. If you want an in-depth understanding of filmmaking then you should buy my book Making Low-budget Short Films ebook, which is now available for pre-order on Amazon, where I share my own experiences, mistakes, insight and knowledge I have gained making my own short films, working on various film sets, going to film schools, etc. Then, you can just skip over the mistakes I made and only use what works. As simple as that.

Even better, you can also book a 1:1 filmmaking coaching session with me where I will coach you to help you define your goals and what steps to take to make your dreams come true FAST. Read more info and book a consultation with me here.

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