Filmmaking / Directing : Short film? by Jason Ortega-Torres

Jason Ortega-Torres

Short film?

I want to do a short film and post it on youtube since I need to get something out there. Ive already tried making a Batman fan-film and it was terrible, mostly because of the low budget and the horrible actors. Can anyone give me some tips on how to get started or an idea? I need to get noticed. I really do.

Ami Brown

What about a documentary about something you are passionate about. Get the "real" people and don't use actors. Also a handicam is acceptable for docos - so no fancy equipment needed. Make a film about something you know and enjoy.

Eoin O'Sullivan

The 'need to get noticed' is not the right motivation to write a short film. The need to tell a great story is.

Richard Toscan

Just seconding Eoin's comment that "I need to get noticed" is not going to give you the stamina you'll need to produce a successful short. Nearly all successful filmmakers are driven by wanting/needing to tell a particular kind of story with success and "notice" being a nice byproduct of that drive to be a storyteller. Well, OK, maybe some of the folks who are reaping millions of views on You Tube are just driven by wanting notoriety, but nearly all of that work is much shorter than a typical short film that's going to score in the festivals Dan has mentioned above.

Warren Watson

" was terrible, mostly because of the low budget and the horrible actors..." No offense but it sounds like you had an idea and then wanted everyone to work for free. Did you try to do some fundraising first? Did you try Kickstarter and the other online fund raising sites? Did you try to raise money through bake sales, car washes, offering product placement packages? Did you go to events where you could get the word out about your film? All too often people have an idea and push forward without proper funding, a plan for a return of investment, etc. Then they're surprised when the film doesn't go anywhere. You must treat every film you make as it's own small business. You wouldn't start a plumbing business or a sub shop or a clothing store without a business plan, research and funding would you? Of course not so why make a film without those?

Stephanie Gilbert

You can make a great short with great actors without paying them. I have done it, and it worked great. As a director, you shouldn't only be good at shooting and editing a movie. You should also be superb in getting good acting out of your actors.

Warren Watson

Stephanie - would you ask someone to remodel your bathroom without paying them? An Accountant to do your taxes without paying them? How about a Mechanic to fix your car without paying them? A restaurant making you a meal without paying them? Of course not so why expect Actors to work without paying them?

Doug Nelson

Jason, let’s start at the beginning. First, you need a really good script – You got one? Unless you are making a table-top claymation film; you need people - Got any? You can’t do it all by yourself very well. Once you make your film – why stick it up on YouTube? (That’s good for ego stroking, but not much else.) Think about equipment – what camera, what lighting, what audio, what editing? I’m confident that you can find cast and crew in your neck of the woods – go out and mingle. I own Seriously Low Budget Productions – I understand filmmaking on a low/no budget. I have a short script that has been well received in several contests that I’ve used for training newbie filmmakers. It’s a simple comedic relationship story with 3 characters, in a simple location (apartment) and it has no FX. I’ll gladly share it with you (or any other beginning filmmaker) if you want it.

Sean Patrowich

As stated before, the need to get noticed is not a reason to make films. But if you have a story to tell and love the process of film making, then just go do it, tell your story. You can find actors who will do it for free, check local schools, drama clubs or theaters, maybe some want experience or just enjoy it. Don't worry about equipment, use what you have or can get your hands on, you will quickly learn about light and sound that way also. You did your first, you know what you need to do different or better, so your next one will be a step up. But really, just go do it. I suggest watching other people's films and reading scripts, But don't get starry-eyed. As long as you have fun and you like it, that's all that matters.

C. D-Broughton

First, you need to learn how to tell a story. Forget the 4K camera (it'll be obsolete in a year anyhow) - grab your phone or cheap digicam and shoot something tiny that nobody will ever care about but will help you master the craft. My idea is that your best mate goes to the shop to buy a pint of milk. I shot sooo much stuff in my teenage years that I never planned on ever showing anyone, and most of it is now lost anyway, but, by doing this, I learnt how to frame actors (well, mates), how to make them hit marks, how to get good-looking shots, and most important of all: what works and what doesn't. You may wonder what's the point, but developing the knowledge and self-belief of how to shoot scenes is much more rewarding than a selfie-style V-blog on YouTube with 500,000 views... or, it should be if you plan to seriously make a go at being a film-maker. Best of luck to you.

Shane Davey

Keep shooting - do a bunch more low/no budget shorts just to get your technique up - it is a long apprenticeship and the mistakes are how we improve. Go for it.

Luke Stewart

My advice is to focus less on getting noticed, and more on improving your craft. If you do that, the recognition will come automatically.

Doug Nelson

Well bully for you Alle; I too have made films on my own. I started as a wildlife photographer and made a documentary all by myself called The Little Known Pika that went to PBS, OPB and the Animal Channel but that’s neither here nor there. The OP asked about making a short for exposure and training as a means of career boosting; he didn’t ask about your experience or mine. I just tried to offer him a few tips (that's what he asked for.)

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