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A Checklist for Making a Short Film

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Making a Short Film

Since the 1910s, films have been a popular form of entertainment. The first films featured black-and-white images and had no sound. Sound was a regular feature by the 1930s.

The 1920s also marked the creation of Technicolor, enabling filmmakers to produce images in colour. Today, sophisticated film making equipment makes it easy to capture audio and colour images. Still, there are plenty of things filmmakers must consider when they’re preparing to make a long or short film. Using this checklist will ensure you have everything you need to produce your short film.

You’ll need a script:

need a script

Filmmakers must have a script. The script describes settings and characters and contains the characters’ dialogue. It has directions for your film crew, such as whether to zoom in on a specific item or the type of transition to use between scenes. You’ll need your film script before you can scout for film locations and cast actors. Scripts are converted into storyboards, enabling directors to plan out the scenes they’re filming.

Films need actors:


Actors play the characters in films, commercials, TV programs, and plays. They must convince the audience that they are that character and follow the script, delivering their lines and performing actions described in your screenplay. Casting directors typically hold live event auditions and choose the most convincing actors to play each role. Once you’ve contracted actors for each role, you’re ready to start rehearsals so your performers can learn their lines.

Makeup artists can transform your actors, ensuring they look great on film:

Makeup artists

Actors typically wear makeup in films to ensure they don’t look washed out or ill. Makeup can also enhance physical characteristics, which may be crucial for the film’s story. Makeup artists also apply prosthetics to transform people into monsters or alter their appearance. Expert makeup artists acquire their skills by completing a special effects make-up program, such as Tom Savini’s Special Make-Up Effects Program. Program graduates earn an associate degree and acquire hands-on experience creating molds and applying prosthetics.

You’ll need film locations:

Makeup artists

Every film needs a set. You may need multiple film locations to complete your short film, or you may be able to modify a film studio and film all scenes in the studio. You may need permits if you film on location, so you must check the laws in the areas you plan to film in to ensure you complete the required paperwork.

You must have a film crew and equipment:

film crew and equipment

Film crews operate cameras, position microphones, set up lights, and adjust sets. Hire an experienced film crew to ensure everything on set runs smoothly. You’ll also need to buy or rent film equipment, including cameras, mics, lights and some grip and electric gear from a Grip and Electric Brooklyn company.  You may need artists to create set designs and props or purchase props from antique stores and specialty shops. Your entire team works together to ensure you’re ready to film each scene.

The set designers ensure all essential items are in place while the camera operators film the scene from the correct location. Boom operators position boom mics, ensuring you capture the dialogue. Lighting technicians acquire and position lights to ensure the scene looks like it should. For example, they may remove lights to make a room look darker if you’re making a horror film, or they may add lights to make the scene brighter.

Video production teams simplify the production process.

Video production teams

Once you’ve filmed all the scenes, you’re ready to think about video production. Film editors align the sound and visual images and add special effects. Experts providing video production services can edit your video footage, ensuring your short film’s complete and ready to share with the world.

Creating a short film starts with a script, as your script outlines the story you plan to tell. Whether you’re filming a social media video or a short film you plan to enter into film festivals, you’ll also need actors, makeup artists, film locations, a film crew, film equipment, and a video production team.