How to spend less or nothing at all to shoot a short film

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The truth is that you can actually shoot a very short film with absolutely nothing if you are smart.  In this article, I am going to show you how and what you are to do. Come on, let’s check it out;

1)      PLANNING: there is no one without successes in anything that is without first of all planning. This you have to learn and learn it fast. When you are doing this, you will need to ask yourself; ‘for what purposes am I doing this?’ ‘Am I shooting this film for what and why?’ If you are able to find the clear answer to this, then you are on your way to making it.

2)     RESEARCH: you will need to do this in order to sort out some necessary things such as your setting and you will have to do this month ahead of your production. Few years ago, I wanted to shoot a short film in a location that suit the script and that I am very much interested in. I knew that it will help my project, so I went ahead to the place to survey, to decide right on time if I am going to make it or not.

3)     TRUE CONTACT: People’s connections are very vital in our entire lives. You just can’t do most of things you need to do without people and this is why you must make contact with people BUT not just anyhow. Make people your priority, irrespective of who that person is. DO NOT underrate kids or the poor. A day that you are shooting your short film, they might come handy.  When I went for my research at that place, I made sure that I got in touch with the manager in charge. We became friends. Believe me, because of my friendliness, I paid nothing while shooting in his place. He even went farther to help us when we need something.

a)     Camera; unless you have a good quality and standard camera for your production, then you will have to hire one. Do not think that you can make use of the one that you bought at a cheap price because that will not do you anything good. To get this, making contact come in readily. For my first short film, I knew people so it was easy for me. You may resort to doing what I did, which was, I wrote a formal letter to the production studio president and waited for his reply. He called me after two days for interview. And I went. It turned out fine than I thought. You may not believe this; he gave us more than the camera, which were the major equipments.

b)     Crew: I was in the film school then and that made it easier for me. My colleagues and friends all came to help me BUT I made the choice. I know I picked the experts among them by mailing them privately. They did not refuse.  As for you, there are chances that you may not know anyone in this field AND that is your job to get your crew.  I suggest you visit a film school.

i)                      Talk to the Director of the school and ensure you include in your discussion with him that you need crew from among his final year students.  I bet he will not refuse and this depends on how you approach him.  

ii)                You can as well go to a professional film studio in your city and discuss this with whoever is in charge. 

c)      Cast: It is will come almost the same way you get the crew. You can as well select members of your family and friends. What you need is train them, give them copy of the script to work on and let them rehearse on their own. I trained a little boy to act for me. He performed so well that each time I look at the short again, I pray for him.

4)     YOUR ATTITUDE: There is nothing that comes easy in life unless you make it easy for you. Here are what you must have in mind when going to shoot your short film and will help you greatly so that you won’t spend more or even anything.

i)                   Smile and relax. Being on film production can be very frustrating at some point. This is even worse if you are the one directing. You may be someone who is calm and gentle BUT when you are on set, you will discover that your gentle-nature disappears without your knowledge and there you are, screaming on top of your voice at everybody.  NO MATTER WHAT, your crew and cast may be tired or worn out, YOU MUST NOT show to them that you are tired.  Make it your priority to ensure that they are comfortable or else, they will make your set so difficult that you may have no choice than to stop your shooting half-way.

ii)                Refreshment: have you ever seen anyone who doesn’t need food or drink at some point in time? Throughout my production, I don’t leave the issue of refreshment aside. This is important. You may not realise this but I am going to tell you what this means.

In my productions, I don’t PAY my crew and cash by CASH. What saves me was the refreshment. Remember I told you that I worked with my co-students in my film school. They love me so they were there for me. And I did not take them for granted. I supplied all the food and every other refreshment.                     

iii)              Be in charge! Your crew and cast may not know completely what you want. Get your leadership robe on when the need arises BUT be ready to listen to their suggestions as well. NO KNOWLEDGE IS LOST.

 DO NOT take your crew and cast for GRANTED. You may get away with it sometimes or you may not but the most important thing is that you have to make sure that you start well and end well with them because of the future.  They will be there for you if ever you need them again.

To avoid higher fee, I suggest you settle for getting your crew from Film school. There are more advantages to this. They are fresh and with brilliants suggestions. They will help you a lot to change things and put them in the right order. You may not need this if you are a film professional yourself.


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