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How To Make – Your first short film with limited means

MAKING A SHORT FILM (with limited means)

Whether it’s for a competition, for college, as a gift, or even for your portfolio, filmmaking as never been so easy.

All you need is a good idea, some committed friends to be your actors, a camera and ideally a good microphone.

The Circular met with a student who produced a short film for college last year. She told us about her experience.

By Jacobo Hoyos Zea

Everything starts with you writing your script. Ideally in screenwriting, meaning in preproduction there is one rule: one minute on-screen equals one page of your properly formatted script. It’s a very simple way to make sure you are efficient with yours and your audience’s time

In my case, I had had that idea in the back of my head for a while, this was just an opportunity to have it come to life.

I was very much influenced by the actors of the film as well, I even rewrote a scene with them. In fact, their input was very valuable, I had been working to close to the script for too long and couldn’t see its weaknesses anymore.


As you’re writing your screenplay, you have to start thinking of a convenient location for your short film to be shot at. If it’s a public one, make sure you have the right authorisations to shoot in that location. For this short film, we simply shot in the flat we were staying in Paris. It was convenient and had the right amount of light needed for the scenes.

Isaure & Simon, the actors, on-location – by Auriane Mallein

Then comes your casting, finding the right people to play your characters can be tricky. They have to be a person who fits your personal aesthetics for the short film as well as is able to act and be comfortable with what you will ask of them. You’ll meet with them in advance and have a pre-production meeting with your team (if you have one) and start rehearsing.

For “The tale of that couple who’s been together for ages”, I knew I would be asking friends to play, but they had to both be English speakers as well. After a few screen tests, I decided to go with Simon and Isaure, they were a good match for my ideas.

  • SHOOT 

Once all of the above is done, the shooting can start. Make sure, you have enough SD cards and have batteries for your camera and mic. These little things are key and make the difference between an efficient and slow production.

By Terry Papoulias (

You won’t get everything you want in the first take or takes … Be patient! Know when to give your actors breaks, or when to force things a little bit (with consideration) because you know you could end up getting what you want with just one more take. Shoot as many angles, it’s better to have too much footage than not enough.                   I had actually planned one day for filming and I managed to keep my deadlines even though it was pretty tight.


First, start by saving all your content on hard drives. Editing can be quite the process and it would be unfortunate to have to make cuts in your screenplay because you lost some of your materials.

First, you will have to sort through your rushes and pick the one you deemed the best, as well as your sound bits.

By Leon Terra

This part is very exciting, as the editor is actually the maker of your short film. Editing can be a long process and requires organisations and method. Don’t hesitate to make multiple edits of your piece if you can’t decide on something and then ask for a new eye to take a look. You should also be aware of the computing requirements for video editing for a smooth video editing experience.

It can help a lot to leave something for a little and come back to it with fresh eyes to get the best results.

The process of editing is the one I enjoyed the most, it’s amazing to see your idea, which was in your head come to life on a screen. It’s also a somewhat complicated process on which one can spend a lot of hours. The key is to pace your editing process and know when to stop.

This a very simple guide I used to make the following piece. In this case, I used a Lumix Gh4 camera and an H4n microphone.

Happy creating, don’t be afraid to try …

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