There is a certain beauty in producing a film. It taps into one’s creativity, forces you to conjure life from nothing. Usually, it starts with a character who gives birth to a story or vice versa. The bottom line is, you have to put in the work. There are a lot of elements that go into producing any type of film, but there are four components that you just can’t miss. To successfully create a film, you need actors, a setting, a camera, and a script. The good news about producing a short film is that these four components are virtually all you need.
1. Camera Selection.
We live in an age where knowledge is at the tips of our fingers. Do you want to know how to plait hair? You don’t need to go to a beauty college; head over to YouTube! Do you want to learn how to make stick-on-the-wall ugali? Forget the lessons of your mean mother-in-law, head over to YouTube! There are a plethora of talented individuals on YouTube sharing their journeys, lessons, struggles, and most of all, skills.
When you decide that you want to learn about producing short films, you will learn that you can do it in a way that minimizes cost. If you are a beginner in the industry, and you want to test the waters, but you are afraid of all the finances that are needed to foot your film expenses, start small. Do not be scared to build from the ground up. Most beginners cannot afford a production crew, meaning they have to wear a colossal of caps during the production period. Do research, learn, and most of all, practice. There are a lot of angles you can shoot your film from that will intrigue your audience.
Since you probably do not own a camera and cannot afford to rent one, why don’t you use a phone? Now, when you consider using a phone camera for filming, there are a number of factors to consider, but the most vital of all is quality. Use a phone that can record quality images. Humans are optic beings. If they see something attractive, they will veer towards it. If your short film has a poor-quality video that is grainy and cringe-worthy, chances are, people will not watch it, no matter how good your storyline is.
2. Selecting A Cast.
There is a reason why youths are told to network during their school years. Do you see those drama/film members you go out with for drinks on weekends? Network with them, keep their contacts. Also, when you can, go see what projects they are undertaking, attend their film screenings, show up during their bonding activities, and watch their plays. If there is a way for you to join these said clubs, do it. Nurture your relationship with these actors, invest in them. Do this so that by the time you want to produce a short film, you have people in your phone that you can summon, and they will appear like genies. The thing about working with friends is that you know their strengths, which scenes they will flourish in, and their working culture. You can calm them during a scuffle, and you can motivate them with certain gifts or activities. These actors will put in the work, day and night, because they do not want to let you down. They believe in your vision and want to see you win.
When you are stepping into this scene, you want actors who will show up for shootings with or without pay. Getting professional actors as a beginner can be really frustrating. No one has heard of your films. You have zero experience. You cannot afford to pay your actors. Short films do not require a large team of actors. In fact, depending on the story, it can have one character throughout. Finding this one actor you need, an actor who will execute your story perfectly, can be quite difficult. If this is your path, start networking with actors while in school.
3. Setting and scripts.
These two go hand in hand. Scripts usually entail different settings and periods. Finding a setting that matches the one you had envisioned for a particular scene can be challenging. This is why it is important to start finding locations right after the completion of the script. This way, your actors can familiarize themselves with the environment. Likewise, you can begin incorporating different shooting angles. You will see where best to shoot from, where lighting is best, and the steps you can take to improve the quality of the video. Audio is always a crucial element of any film. No one wants to watch a film where the actors are inaudible because of the external noises in the background. Choose a setting that has little to no external noise disturbances. This way, even when you edit your film, you can easily flatten these irksome sounds.
A film can have the best quality when it comes to video, audio, location, and actors but still receive a single star in ratings. Fast and Furious recently debuted their latest franchise, and it is receiving a lot of backlash and ridicule. Despite having the best of everything, the film is being termed as an epic fail. This is because their plot was terrible. Without a gripping story, your short film will crash and burn. Before you start shooting, ensure that your story will spark intrigue in your target audience. There is nothing as fascinating as watching a film where you can relate to a character’s story.
4. The Hard Truth.
No one will come forward and sponsor your short film. No matter how talented you are, no matter how good your script is, your pitch will not be accepted let alone be financed. In this DIY era, the best way to enter the film industry is by producing your film and uploading it on YouTube. This way, you will gain exposure, a following, and eventually, talent scouts. In this age, YouTube gets more viewership than mainstream television channels. Take advantage of this.