Cut Costs, Not Corners: Create A Short Film On A Tight Budget

If you want to get into the film industry, creating short films is one way to go about it. Alternatively, you may simply want to create a short film as a personal project. Either way, creating a professional short film of around 45 minutes is no small feat. You may be worried that you don’t have enough money to create a good short film, but you don’t need to spend a fortune on it. In fact, it is perfectly possible to create a short film on a tight budget.

Start By Watching Lots of Short Films

It is a good idea to watch lots of short films online before you start your own. There are plenty available to watch for free online, so find some you really like and study them. You may also find some instructional videos for how to shoot professional film footage, so get a editing tool using something like so you can study them offline and use them as a resource.

Plan Your Budget

Plan Your Budget

Planning your budget is key when you are making a short film. Think about what you will need, the amount you have available, and how much more you will need to raise in order to meet your goals. The big expense will be the equipment, which will include a movie camera, sound equipment and lighting. Rather than buying these new, look online for second-hand equipment, or even borrow it from someone you know.

Plan Your Script Around Your Budget

When writing your script, try to avoid factors that are going to cost a lot of money to film. Numerous actors, special effects and exotic locations will all cost more money, so try to keep it simple. You can still make a compelling and engaging film with few actors, a simple setting and no specialist props.

Find Some Actors

Hiring professional actors will be a large expense, so try to find actors who are willing to work for free. This is where to turn to friends, and friends of friends, as well as up-and-coming actors who are in need of experience.

That being said, don’t just accept anyone as an actor. A bad actor can ruin your film, so make sure you audition them for the part. And always remember that the fewer actors you need, the easier and cheaper it will be for you.

Invest in Editing Software

There are many options available when it comes to editing software, and some of them are free. However, this is one area where you should spend a bit of money. You will need a good editing suite to make a professional movie, as well as a powerful computer to carry out the editing. However, if you can borrow equipment and software from a friend then this will clearly save you a lot of money.

Spend time over this process because this is where it will come to life. Try and edit the film yourself, but get some instruction on how to edit properly if you are new to it because it is not just a matter of cutting and pasting the footage together.

Consider Raising More Money

Consider Raising More Money

If you really do need to raise some money, consider crowdfunding. Websites like Kickstarter can help you to raise money from people who believe in your project in return for something like a poster of the film when it comes out. Also find out about bursaries in your area as you may be able to cover some of your costs that way.

Get It Seen

Once you’ve finished editing your short film, you will want as many people to see it as possible. Enter it into film festivals and competitions – winning a prize is a great way to get recognition. Share it on social media as well, and create a website for it. The more people see the film, the more chance it has of getting seen by the right people, and it could well help you to break into the film industry. Make sure you respect IP when using downloads.

Lisa has created a number of short films. She often blogs about filmmaking techniques from storyboarding to shooting to editing.

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