Philadelphia, PA - If you’re thinking about getting into short film creation, Philadelphia is the perfect place to start. The city’s vibrant arts and cultural scene means that there are plenty of opportunities and resources available to help you get started. You’ll also find a supportive arts environment.
What is a Short Film?
A short film is a motion picture that’s up to 50 minutes long, but the average short film clocks in at around 20 minutes. A short film can be animated, live-action, or computer generated. Like a feature film, it tells a full story from beginning to end, except in a much shorter time frame.
Writing a Short Film
Film creators need to know what type of film they want to make before they sit down to write it, film it, and produce it. In the writing stage, you can still take the time to brainstorm, check out a wide selection of music on sites like Videvo, and scope out filming locations in Philadelphia.
Here are the basic steps to follow when writing a script:
- Brainstorm: Coming up with ideas, characters, dialogue, and story beats.
- Outline: When you have a clear premise, map out the overall structure of the film.
- First Draft: Write every scene of the movie from beginning to end.
- Rewrite: Refine the first draft until you create the final script for your movie.
If you’ve never written a script before, use StudioBinder’s screenwriting software. And if you’ve never formatted a script before, you’ll need to learn how. This article will help you write a script.
Equipment and Crew
Once you have a script, you can start finalizing the scope of your project. This will include choosing a camera, renting equipment (lighting kits and microphones), casting your talent, hiring a crew, and securing sets and locations. The quality of your project will rest on these factors.
The Greater Philadelphia Film Office has plenty of great resources for budding filmmakers, including how to rent locations and find talent. They’ll even provide hands-on support for your production, no matter its size. Speak to them if you need help obtaining any filming permits.
Directing and Filming
The first day of shooting is equally exciting and stress-inducing, but there are a few things you can do to make the process a breeze. This includes being prepared to shoot immediately.
Here are some tips that will help you with filmmaking:
- Use film crew management software and speak to the crew on live chat
- Create call sheets for cast members and directions to shooting locations
- Have your shot list with you, so you can direct everyone without delays
There’s a high chance things won’t go according to plan. Weather, sick cast members, and numerous other things can disrupt your shoot, so you’ll have to adapt when this happens.
Reviewing and Editing
All movies, whether they’re based in Philadelphia or elsewhere, have to go through a reviewing and editing process. It’s in the filmmaker’s best interest to review their footage daily and check recorded scenes off their shot list. This will keep the production organized and on schedule.
In the post-production process, you can use programs like Adobe Premiere Pro or Final Cut Pro to cut scenes and add music or special effects. You can take courses to learn how to edit, or you can check out free YouTube videos. Alternatively, you can hire a professional editor.
The editing process doesn’t stop after you’ve completed post-production, as you’ll need to go through the film, shot by shot, to make sure nothing is out of place or you’re missing something.
Here’s what to check for at this stage:
- Check the brightness of the movie and make sure the audio is cleaned up
- Look for frame inserts, which are useful for directing the eye
- Write a credits section and make sure everyone is properly credited
While it’s important to be thorough, it’s also essential to expect some mistakes. We can’t account for every single detail. Once you’re done, export your film to the format of your choice.
Promoting Your Film
Filmmakers should start marketing their films as soon as possible via a website or social media. You’ll want to produce buzz for your short film. If you have a bit more extra cash, you can create a trailer, apply to film festivals, submit your film to websites, and get a press release.
If you have a lot of money, we recommend using those funds to hire a recognizable actor. They can be the push you need to get your short film into the mainstream, even if they’re just providing voice work. You can even pay them to promote the film to the press and their fans.
Celebrate Your Work
It takes a lot of work to make a movie, so if you’ve made it this far, you should absolutely celebrate your success. Consider throwing a cast party or inviting some friends or family over to watch the finished product. After you’ve let a small group see your film, release it to the world.