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How to make a short film?


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Every aspiring director dreams of a successful film career. To get started, try making a short film. At first glance, the task may seem overwhelming, but actually creating an interesting short film is not so difficult. Thanks to the right preparation, equipment and skills, working on a film will require only fresh ideas and the right approach to shooting.


“A good viewer is always a good viewer. Even if you have only six of them. ” © Steve Buscemi

Cinema is made for the audience, right? Who should show that you then sculpted with blood at the stage of the script, filming and editing? Here His Majesty the Internet comes to our aid. YouTube, RuTube, Vimeo, social networks of various stripes.

At first can distribute the film between friends and acquaintances. Get initial feedback. Usually, when a familiar acquaintance looks at a picture, he will respond positively or neutrally - because you don’t want to spoil your relationship! Criticism appears when a stranger encounters a work - he is not burdened with social obligations.

To have your short film seen by strangers - send her to some film festival. There are many festivals in the Russian Federation that accept short films for free. There are Western festivals, but there in most cases you need to pay an entrance fee ranging from 20 to 80 dollars.

Having received, finally, feedback, you will receive a strong charge for further actions. Moreover, regardless of the emotional coloring of this feedback.

Someone will say that in this article I oversimplify the production process of a short film. Yes. I simplify. Because I try to highlight the most important thing - anyone can shoot, if he really wants it. Today, many people who are able to bring something useful to Russian cinema often either consider themselves incapable or call cinema a frivolous occupation.

I would like my article to motivate at least someone to make a film if he dreamed about it. Who knows, maybe then we will see some amazing story that will capture us and show the world in a new way.

For my part, I will say that I am ready to communicate with everyone who is thinking about how to make a short film. Write in the comments, write on the feedback form, ask questions, consult, just share - a joint discussion is always extremely important. I will try to be useful to everyone.

Independent director and screenwriter My profile on the social network VKontakte


Everything is simple here. I decided to make a movie with my friends. Yes, I was inspired by Kevin Smith from those times when his roof did not finally go down.

Here I had to meet face to face with difficulty - in my circle of friends there were no necessary types. But it's not a problem. The main thing in the distribution of roles I did not type, but the organic nature of some emotions and actions.

For example, my friend Andrei became Pasha. Why? Because Pasha, according to the script, is a nutty, inflated person. One trip with Andrei in a car was enough for me to understand that he would play the rage and irritation well.

The luck was Anton, who helped me even at the stage of the script. In the script itself, Luck was "a thin trickster with disheveled hair." So how did he turn into a guy for 120 kg? It’s also very simple: Anton often helps people in life. That was enough for me.

After we uploaded the film, Anton received the most criticism. And this is not surprising, because he had the most difficult role to play not on emotions, but on their shades. And for the guy who was not afraid, who first stood in front of the camera and was ready to work and work, he did just fine.

Lesha became self-interest. He always loved intrigues, he was always smarter than many of his interlocutors, so I thought it was a great hit in a character who leads his own game.

Well, Denchik became the nameless killer. What can I say about this ... When the shooting was over, I went to Denis and said, "First, there were three riot policemen in the script. They were replaced by your character. So, you are cooler than three riot police. ”

This is the most subjective part of our work, so I’ll say one thing: do not dream about a dream caste, but look for those who suit their guts, organics. And it will be cool.

Before the shooting, we had four rehearsals - three hours each. Yes, for the sake of seven pages of script, five minutes of screen time, you need twelve hours of rehearsal. And this was still not enough.

Accept that cinema is the fruit of collective labor. It was at rehearsals that we resolved issues of intonation, gestures, and views. The script was rewritten again. In general, get ready to shoot - lay at least ten hours of rehearsal. A better twenty. And it is better as much as needed, without deadlines.

Where are we screwed up? By inexperience, we honed only emotions and cues. As a result, the movements of the characters, their some actions remained unworked.

Preparation for shooting

The main difficulty for us in technical terms was the elaboration of a fight and a knife wound of the protagonist. And if we sorted out the bleeding quite quickly - we bought fake blood and poured it into a vacuum bag - then things were not going so smoothly with the knife.

First, we bought a fake knife, the blade of which drove into the handle upon impact. It turned out to be unsuccessful: small, plastic, with peeling paint and broke at the very first rehearsal.

Therefore, we went our own way: we bought two identical knives, and one of them cut the blade, leaving somewhere a centimeter. Then the edges were blunted, and the trimmed part was wrapped with electrical tape so as not to injure anyone. We thought that this would help us shoot the “blade in the body” frame. And it would work if not for my carelessness.

Then we quickly found the operator - in our circle of friends was Seryoga, who works as an operator on television. He was filming reports and interviews, so filming a story was an interesting task for him. And the idea seemed to appeal to him.

After that, we started searching for locations. I remembered one of the streets of my area, but it turned out that reality is different from my memories. Over the past few years, it has turned into a busy driveway.

Fortunately, Andrei recalled that there was a steep ramp on the bridge nearby, where there was usually no one at night. So, we decided on this.

What have we learned from this?

1. If your work involves props, work through it thoroughly. And not only the technical part of the work, but also how the actors will work with him. It played a trick on us.

2. Try to write a script for real locations. If you write a scene taking place, for example, at the airport, hardly anyone will give you permission to shoot. In general, one must start either from nature or from public places where permission for filming is not required.

3. Do not be afraid of lack of equipment. Yes, we were lucky with the operator, but renting a camera is not so expensive. Anyway, I was ready to shoot on a smartphone if Seryoga refused. Fortunately, it did not come to this.

I was a director. And I was a very bad director. No, understand, eight hours of filming is a very cool experience. But I could not even think how many things I should keep in mind. But first things first.

First, decide on the shooting order. We had one buttonhole, so we shot all the scenes in the car twice - from the perspective of one hero (the buttonhole on it), and from the angle of the other (the buttonhole outweighed). Filmed on the basis of the eight. The essence of the method is as old as the movie itself. Draw a line between the heroes. Then spend the eight in such a way that each hero goes around one circle. And put the camera along the radius of this circle only on one side of the line. This will allow the viewer to maintain the right-left relationship between the characters and not get lost.

Secondly, make sure that all actors know what they are saying, where they are looking, while they are talking, and so on. If you do not follow this, then torment yourself with installation.

Thirdly, work with actors. I interacted with friends, and it was easier for me - I could just show myself how to play, I could swear or cite examples from movies that we all watched.

Fourth, do not let slack. If the director starts to “cook”, then everything will go to hell. Unfortunately, because of this, I ruined one of the scenes. Work hard.

Fifth, watch the time. Make a shooting plan, what time you shoot, and try to stick to it. It still won’t work out, but it will teach you to stick to the given framework.

How did it go with us? Cool. There were so many bright moments when I was burning with happiness. When it seemed that here it was - everything worked out, and the guys did everything perfectly. You will also have that feeling. Do not believe him. Do you like the double? Review it three times, and then re-review it anyway. It will turn out better.

Seryoga showed himself as a real pro. As soon as I offered a perspective, he offered a new one - almost the same, but cooler. The guys gave all the best. I was very afraid that in the circle of friends it would be difficult to reveal emotions, feelings. No. They did it.

There were some oddities. For example, after discussing with Seryoga one of the first takes, I told Andrei (Pasha) that they would take the replica “Your mother” from three different angles, so you would say it not three times, as in the script, but nine. Andrei nodded pretty. And in the end, he shouted “your mother” nine times on the first take.

If you looked at the short film, then you saw a cool location in which the hero of Pasha died. We found her by chance during the filming. Lesha and Anton, who had already filmed, went to look for convenience stores to buy cigarettes. And they returned with burning eyes. At first we wanted to shoot a fight in a small street, but when we saw this “passage" under the bridge, as it became clear - here it is. So, be prepared for the fact that during the filming, everything will change.

But now, four in the morning. We ceremonially noted the completion of filming, I had 13 GB of footage on my laptop, and with a pure soul I went home to sleep. Do you think everything is simple next? No matter how.

Installation took me a total of 25 hours. And at this stage all of our jambs surfaced. The aforementioned loop turned out to be faulty - the sound was in one channel, and on the part of the record there were terrible artifacts. Half of the duplicates from one angle were not glued with the second half, taken from the other. One of the main disappointments at the installation stage was the understanding that the cool dialogs that live off the screen look like a rumor. During filming, I looked either from the side or through a small camera display over the operator’s shoulder. This could not give the whole picture. And I didn’t take into account that in the cinema you need more pauses, looks and silence. I paid for it.

Remember, I said that with a knife everything turned out not so smoothly? Here is a shot of how we filmed a knife getting into the body. Heroes are far apart, they specially hold the jacket. Horror. As a result, several hours of efforts of Lesha (Self-interest), who was responsible for the knives, went down the drain.

I mounted in Final Cut. It was lucky that this program was stored on the computer for three years, since I tried to do reviews on video games for one site. But this did not make the task easier.

In the first ten hours I did a rough cut, simply arranging the successful doubles in the correct sequence. I thought a couple of hours separated me from the finale.

I've never been so wrong.

It took another five hours to cut off sound artifacts somewhere and add sound from free catalogs where it was not recorded. For example, I downloaded the sound of janitors from an open library. He did not fit the timing, and had to cut and paste manually for each movement. But sound is the weakest part of our work. I did not have enough skills and time to level it and fix all the defects that came with a faulty buttonhole.

Then for ten hours I eliminated the unsuccessful gluing. It got to the point that I put replicas from one take into the picture from other takes. Not that this is unrealistic, but very laborious. As a result, almost everywhere it turned out to create a sense of continuity.

Total, for the installation, be prepared to spend many hours. Pay attention to detail. And, if you understand that your eyes are blurred, stop. Drop everything and return to the material the next day.

Alas, we really did not have enough time. Therefore, the work was left without a flower garden and with a so-so sound.

What did I understand in the end?

Cinema is very cool.

Cinema is very difficult.

Cinema does not tolerate "maybe." Any chance will turn into crap on the screen. What you can close your eyes to will be visible to everyone. And they will not close their eyes.

Movies with friends are even cooler. But be sure that the guys are ready to give all the best. I was lucky with that.

The budget is not the main thing. Clearly, if you are dreaming about a disaster movie, then you need money. But I got a short film somewhere around eight thousand rubles, including a snack for the whole team. Money is tight? Make up a story for one room, and everything will fall into place.

If something happened, then well done. Actor, cameraman ... That's it. If something doesn’t work out, one director is to blame. Keep that in mind.

Do not think that I am speaking from the position of a guru who comprehended everything in one shoot. I just dragged myself so far from the process that I want to share and share my impressions and observations.

How do I rate the final result? So-so. It is difficult to evaluate yourself, but some dialogues merged into a rumor, the sound pumped up, pauses were not verified. So-so. But I'm happy anyway.

You must have been wary when I spoke about the rush. Really, where to rush? Sit and finish. But the fact is that we decided not only to remove the short film, but also send it to the contest from TV-3. The trick is that victory will allow you to shoot a series that develops the idea of ​​your pilot or a short meter.

The competition involves studios that deliver content to federal channels, and even Fedor Bondarchuk (well, where without Fedi). Against this background, we, six guys from the sleeping area, who simply shot the first short film, do not look so powerful. But I’m sure that we did pretty well. If you liked the short film, do not be lazy, follow the link and vote for us and any four other projects that were also shot not by the studios, but by simple guys with burning eyes.

Here is a link to the contest:

By the way, when we crossed the line of 60 thousand views, we decided that everything was serious. And if everything is serious, then you need a poster! They didn’t go far for “cool quotes” for him and took them from comments and correspondence with friends.

If you have any questions, I will be happy to answer.

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