Although making a film can cost billions of dollars you don’t need to have an unlimited budget to make a small film yourself. However you do need to have some equipment and a plan in place before you start.

So if you are wondering how to make a short film yourself, take a look at our check list to find out how to get started.

First up you will need some equipment. According to many amateur film makers you can get by on using the following equipment:

  • A camera, or camcorder
  • Sound recording equipment including microphones
  • A tripod to keep your shots professional looking and steady
  • Lights – important if the action is to take place indoors
  • Video editing app that can be used via a laptop or computer

However the most important part of knowing how to make a short film is all about the creative process. If you are new to film making, it is important to keep your first attempts fairly simple because film making does require a steep learning curve.

Keeping these simple points in mind will help.

  • The shorter the film the better it is. A short film that is interesting and well executed is far better than a long rambling video and it keeps the costs down too. There are some great short films out there of around 4 minutes so remember it does not have to be long.
  • Stay practical. Your story may involve a car chase, a rocket to the moon or any other type of expensive effect, which you will be unable to convey in a short film where you don’t have access to stunt performers or CGI. So either change your story or at least find a way to convey this without actually filming it.
  • Keep it visual. A picture tells a thousand words so making every action count will help.
  • Tell a story that engages your emotions. It doesn’t matter what the setting is, but there should be a linear theme that underpins it. Boy meets, girl, a hero overcoming obstacles, conflict ending in resolution – we need to care about the outcome, even if the film is only a couple of minutes long.
  • Finally, try to avoid film clichés. Yes, we wish that the major film makers would do this too, but in a blockbuster, clichés can become lost in the glossy production. As a short film maker you don’t have this luxury.

Once you have made your film, you will want to show it to people. A great option is to check out the Film Short website. Here you can see some fantastic short films that will help inspire you. In addition the site runs competitions and showcases a wide range of short films made by home film makers.

If you are considering how to make a short film yourself, the Film Short website is a good place to start because it helps you see just what is possible with a good story, a limited budget and using basic film making equipment.