5 Steps to making a Short Film – For Beginners

Nowadays with accessibility to affordable equipment and software, it has never been easier to create your own film. We have created a 5-step guide to help you create your first creation.

Mind-map and story-boarding: The first step is to outline your theme. Is the film going to address a certain topic? Is that topic going to be educational or entertaining? Once this has been established, produce a mind-map of your ideas. Don’t think too much about this. It’s about ensuring that all of your thoughts are collated in one place.

The next step is to create a story board. You can find story board templates online with a quick google search. Again, it does not matter if you are not an artist. Rough sketches should be all you need to get the gist of the sequences of events.

Writing the script: This is the opportunity to delve deeper into your mind map and create a compelling story. For beginners, a simple word document should suffice, but as you advance, Celtx is great free online software for writing scripts. Keep to a small number of actors and try to construct well-thought out, complex backstories for your characters. Consider film locations, costumes and make-up. You may need to obtain a license to film at certain locations so be sure to do your research. It is important to take on the role of casting director too in order to outline the actor’s you need for certain roles.

Finding your actors: Of course, a film wouldn’t be a film without any actors. As a beginner, your budget is likely very, very small. Perhaps you have a couple of friends who are confident in front of the camera, or maybe you could put out a casting call on social media pages to invite amateur actors. If people respond to your call-out, it’s time to hold the auditions. You should have your script ready, so make sure you give the actors their scripts ahead of time. After holding the auditions, decide who you’d like to play the parts and let them know well in advance so that you can gather for a rehearsal.

Equipment: Before stepping out to film, make sure you have all the equipment you need. Nowadays, iPhone cameras are so advanced that they are more than suitable to use for a short film. Having said that, the audio quality can be compromised; especially if you are filming outside on a windy day.  Consider purchasing an external mic which clips into your phone (they can be as cheap as £20). Also, if you are filming inside, it might be worth investing in some lights; especially if film-making is something you are very passionate about. Once the equipment is set up, get to filming. Create a schedule for filming days and try to stick to it as much as possible.

Editing: For beginners, why not use iMovie if you have an iPhone? It is a free app which allows you to edit clips seamlessly and easily.

Download your iMovie and you have your very first film!