9 secrets creating your best short film
Seems a bit scary but is not really. You’ve got the chance to create something unusual and to write history with your team, but all you need to remember is that you are leading this creative adventure.
So what is the great secret for an excellent movie?
Preparation, Preparation, preparation!
Now let me point you a few things that will need to be on the top of your list.
1: Cast the Best Possible Actors.
I do know the pain that you have no budget, and you’re trying to get your grandma and your best friends to do the job. But please DO NOT! The most important as a director is to cast professionals that will be able to follow your instructions, and that will understand what you are asking them to deliver. You need to trust me on that. You should ONLY cast the best possible actor for every role, even for the smallest parts. Will be super hard and frustrated to try to direct people who never be on camera. Simply you can’t!
I did it and tried it multiple times. This doesn’t work. Firmly believe that is a waste of time and time is money.
In nowadays you can cast professional actors that willing to do the job for as little as possible or even volunteering just to increase and update their demo reels.
So please don’t try to “save” budget by using your best pal or girlfriend and you ended up spending more. Remember, the cheap is more expensive most of the times.
2: Team up with the most passionate Crew.
One is for sure. Shooting a short film, makes you realize that you can’t be the “jack of all trades.” You need help. You will need an experienced assistant director as well as a kick-ass Script Supervisor. You can’t make an excellent short by doing everything on your own. You need a passionate team to share the same vision and passion like you. So place ads, ask around, get only the best crew, start meetings, share your love, motivate them and give them the chance to be part of this film. Every film is a teamwork either if it is a short or a feature. Get the best and trust their abilities and talent. Ask for their input and ideas, discuss and be open-minded. Help them to understand your vision, and together manifest for the best collaboration. You need them!
3: Know your Script by heart.
Whether you are working on a script that someone else wrote, or even if you are the creator and writer, you need to know your script in depth. You need to understand every single word, every scene, and be able to memorize it by heart.
Study and study! That’s the only way. You don’t have to learn the lines of course, but you need to be able to visualize in advance every single scene. You need to know your characters in every detail, and understanding their background, habits, the social occasions and the time and place that everything takes place.
Create your imaginary screen, and start putting the scenes together. Start visioning the place, the people, the surrounding. The colors, the sound, the weather. Every little detail will make a big difference, and every aspect of the scenery will make you ahead of the game. Be sure you understand what you need to communicate out there and what’s the message you want to deliver with your movie.
4: Reveal every Character and notable Element of your story.
Most of the times significant directors revealing characters and essential elements of the story strategically. I’m pretty sure you all notice this from time to time. That is a fundamental technique if you want to engage your audience, to make them wonder what is coming up next.
Anticipation. Anticipation. Anticipation.
Keeping the audience engaged and honestly, it is the essence of good storytelling.
5: Create a Storyboard.
A Storyboard is extremely helpful and vital. It is like a comic book, and it is much easier than you think. There are plenty of available software to help you create a decent storyboard. Map out each shot and be able to reveal your characters and elements of your movie with strategy. You can see and understand easier if your shots and scenes are working correctly or not.
It also gives you the opportunity to adjust and re-adjust until the perfect shot. Choose and establishing chose ups, over-the-shoulder, and any shots. A very important pre-visualization of your film that is a necessity to save time and avoid mistakes. Sharing your storyboard with your crew, you are giving them the chance to understand your vision better, and you do realize if everyone is actually on the same page.
6: Be sure to Visit All Locations Before you start production.
You are probably going to wonder, what I’m talking about. You will be amazed to know that many directors are visiting location for the first time, the day of their shooting. Your location will help you “blocking” your scene much better. It is imperative to decide what lenses you are going to use, what kind of lighting you will need if your actors move during the scene, where you should place your camera and more.
7: Rehearse as many times as possible.
I believe it is vital to rehearse with your actors before you start shooting. Not only rehearse but also shoot your rehearsals and share with your actors. Trust me this will save you time and money, and you will help your actors tremendously to perform as better as possible. Because you don’t have budget and time to go over and over a scene, rehearsal will eliminate the waste of time and money, and your actors will be more ready and more confident.
8: Treat Your Crew and Actors with Respect.
It is crucial the energy we all sharing during the shooting. Be sure you treat everyone properly and respectful. Make all of your team to feel welcome, important, part of your vision and the success of your film. Make sure everyone is on the same page, and all together you are going to create something creative that will write history.
9: Be Zen.
The actual shooting or 'Principal Photography' of your film is a very stressful procedure. Watch your diet, ask everyone to have a full-time sleep and be restful with good night’s sleep. Personally, I do not allow alcohol and trying to be entirely sure that everybody is eating nutritious food and getting plenty of rest. Be ready to be at the top of the game and keep them all on track.
Without a plan, you are increasing the possibilities of facing problems that you can easily avoid. Instead, be well prepared, and this will be the best project of your life.