Tips for Making Your Short Film in a Short Amount of Time

  1. Recruit your actors and crew ahead of time. Keeping in mind the dates of your filmmaking (from April 1st – May 1st) cast and schedule your crew, making sure their schedules will be open. How can you cast without knowing your story? Just look for an assortment of actors (both male and female) who you think are talented and represent DIVERSITY. The situations you will be given are very general so you can build your story largely around the talent you have.
  2. If you plan to use union actors (either AFTRA or SAG) make sure to have the appropriate contracts in place so that they can be in your movie and not violate union terms. Depending on your category, you may need to pay these actors.
  3. Give yourself and/or your writers at least a week to pen an original and compelling story. A short does not have to resolve perfectly. It can be anything from a short complete narrative with closure to something that feels like a scene from a larger film or a brief encounter between strangers.
  4. Develop a strong central character that drives the narrative.
  5. Create a clear and comprehensive shot list so you can keep track of every action, reaction, close-up, etc. you need as you shoot. On a tight schedule, you’ll have little time for pickups.
  6. Consider having a second camera person for shooting “b” roll at your locations. This can often save time, especially when access to the location is limited.
  7. Keep your shoot as simple as possible by limiting the number of scenes and setups.
  8. Make sure to secure location releases for any public or privately-owned spaces you hope to shoot in. Someone on your crew can do this for you while you are writing the script. Get these releases in writing.
  9. Make sure you have releases from all of your actors and agreements with your production crew, music composer, etc. in writing. They should at least match the terms of the Flicks4Chicks contest. See Rules.
  10. Make sure you have your audio environment thoroughly investigated. A location scout can help you determine if a location is good from an acoustical standpoint. Some issues to consider are auto or plane traffic, possible construction noise, ambient sound from nearby neighbors, likelihood of crowds gathering, of you disturbing others, etc.
  11. Pay close attention to audio quality, especially if you plan to shoot with a DSLR such as a Canon Mark series, or iPhone.
  12. Be sure not to show any brand names or copyrighted images in your film, unless you have a release to do so.
  13. Log your scenes carefully so it is easy to locate the takes that you like.
  14. Keep track of everyone who works on your film so it’s easy to generate your credits.
  15. Give yourself plenty of time for post production and creating your final version to submit at FilmFreeway. FilmFreeway accepts most major film formats but we would like your film, if possible, in ProRes422 or DNxHD if it is selected for the Festival screening. Remember you must have your final film uploaded to us by May 1st.