Filmmaking: How to Create a Short Film for Beginners | Brennen Higgins | Skillshare

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Filmmaking: How to Create a Short Film for Beginners

teacher avatar Brennen Higgins, Everything video and photo related!

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

7 Lessons (22m)
    • 1. How to create your first Short Film

    • 2. Leaning Filmmaking: Creating your script

    • 3. Learning Filmmaking: Creating a budget and finding a producer

    • 4. Leaning Filmmaking: How to find your cast and crew

    • 5. Learning Filmmaking: Everything you'll need for your film

    • 6. Learning Filmmaking: What to expect on the shoot day and how to direct actors

    • 7. Learning Filmmaking: Post-Production and how to get your film into festivals

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About This Class

Today we will discuss everything you need to know about making your first short film. And we'll through some tips in along the way.

Lets talk about everything from pre-production to post-production and what you can expect to do with your film in the future.

Meet Your Teacher

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Brennen Higgins

Everything video and photo related!


Hello, my names Brennen Higgins. I'm here to teach you everything you need to know about cameras, photography and film. I've always had a passion for photography and film, so much so that I went to school for it. I received my bachelors in Film and Photography and hope my skills and knowledge can benefit others!

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1. How to create your first Short Film: So if you're trying to make your first short film, you're not really sure where to start. Let's talk about everything you need to know. Now a little bit of background about myself. I was a film production major. I did get my bachelor's in film. We literally made short films and dissected them for like four straight years. So let's talk about everything you need to know and some mistakes that you could possibly make. Let's get into it. 2. Leaning Filmmaking: Creating your script: So the number one thing you gotta do first is get a script. So I know a lot of you has some crazy ideas for scripts and maybe you ran like a 20-page script. And it has all these things in it. And I do not want to destroy your dreams. I'm not saying this to sound like pessimists or anything. But the bigger they are, the better chance it's going to be a really bad film. So the biggest tip I can give you for writing a script is due one location. I know it sounds crazy. Do one location, right? Like a five-page script. I guarantee you that film would come out better than this crazy idea that you have. Because if you have such a crazy idea, the chances of it becoming what you think it is, it's probably not going to happen. So write something short, something small in one location. Now, I know it sounds crazy, but I'm not going to every single person at our school. When I went to school. Every good film, one location, every film that ended up being bad with it because there were too many locations, too much stuff going on. And when you're learning film, it's better to start small and grow. Because if you go right to like a 100%, it's going to fail. So if you're wanting to get good at what you're doing, start with one location. Now. That being said, I would also probably say like seven pages or owners, how I would write my script. Typically like five is probably a sweet spot for you because if you're doing this to submit films, unless this is some crazy Oscar film, probably after five minutes, they're not going to accept it. I mean, they're gonna get bored with whatever your film this. So if you make, make your film short and sweet and migrate to the point, it's going to be so much more beneficial for you. And if you're doing, like I said, a festival run or something, it's going to be a lot easier, pretty getting accepted into all of these festivals. Now, if you've never written a script, there is a format for a script. It's not just like a normal paper. So there are a hundreds place so you can find free formats war. But to explain how it is, let's say your film is to people on a bench sitting in the middle of the park on a sunny summer day. So instead of just saying John's talking to Rebecca, this is what they're saying Levallois, how it goes as its interior exterior, which is inside outside. Your line would be Park on a summer day at some set. And then right below that you'll space if you like, double-space. And then there'll be a description of what's going on. So John and Rebecca sit at a park bench on a summer day and whatever whatever is going on in that scene. And then you go to your dialogue. So that's how a format is for a film. And once that scene is over, you restart on the next scene. So whatever your next scene is, same thing, interior, exterior. It goes for every scene. So it's a lot easier if you're saying we're filming scenes one. And for today, somebody can go right through your script and find those scenes instead of having to try to read what you're talking about. So that's the easiest way and that's how a proper film writer does it. So you may as well start proper and then grow how you write and set of starting off on a bad foot and then having like relearned everything. So that's kinda how that works. Now let's talk about what you're going to need for your film. And at the end of the whole class, I will show a one location film ever made like three years ago. So as a one location is pretty simple, but it was less than 24 hours told to shoot it. So keep that in mind. Now let's go onto the next one. 3. Learning Filmmaking: Creating a budget and finding a producer: So I would say there are two other things that you should do right before you actually kinda dive into the film. One, what's your budget? You have to really think about that also in your writing, that script. So if you don't have a lot of budget, you need to work with what you have to make a film around that. And then two, I would really recommend getting a producer. I know the word producers on sprayed into a lot of people. But the main reason they're there is to be able to solve any problem that you need. So if you need a location that producers are for you to find that location. If you need call sheets, the producers there to do your call sheets. And if you're doing a casting call, that surprised his job. So the producer just take some weight off of you. It's totally fine if you're making a very, very simple film, you can produce it all yourself. I'm just saying it's very beneficial if you have a producer to help you in that situation. It takes some of the ease off of you and take some of the less worry offer you. So yeah, Budgeting, super-important and then finding that producer. 4. Leaning Filmmaking: How to find your cast and crew: Let's talk about the most important thing whenever you're doing a short film now, you need to find your crew and cast. And if you don't know anybody in your mat in the film industry are united in school for film. It's really hard to find people that know what they're doing or know anything about them. So if you can't find an actor, like I said, if you have a producer, make a casting call. So what a Cassian call is, you'll say what your thumb title is, a brief description and what you're looking for. So a female and a male ages 20 to 24 or whatever you're looking for, you'll write these and what you'll do is whatever city you live in, look up a filmmaker showcase or a filmmakers Facebook page. Go on those pages, join them and put your casting calling. You will be surprised by the amount of people that will respond to you. There will be so many people that will say, Hey, I would, I would love to do it. I would love to do this. And you would think, oh, well, you have to pay them or the snap, but no, it's not the case. A lot of these people are trying to make it as actors. So they're trying to get as much stuff filmed as they can so they can make their real as good as they can for actual clients. So you're benefiting them, they're benefiting you. You will get a lot of responses. And it's the same thing with a crew. So if you don't know a sound guy or you don't know an 80 or all of this stuff. And I'll go over what some of the terminology isn't a second. But if you don't have any crew posts on there, hey, I need somebody to film this. I need somebody to do sound Alibaba law because if you're wanting to direct it, produce it, film at a, do all of it. It's going to get really taxing on you. So I really recommend probably not doing it. You can, you can film and direct it. Even that's very hard. So I would recommend probably just getting a DP for it, somebody that's going to film it or set it up for you or a camera up at least. So the big thing, posts, hey, I need a camera up or I need a DP. And what that person will do and term is you will get that person to come and same for them. They're putting laws footage on, they're real. So it's like benefiting them for their DP work, that they will put out the clients and that they're looking to get hired on. So it's a win-win both ways. Now, what you're going to probably for sure need is a sound guy. So somebody that's going to run boom, very similar to like what I have right here. It's a zoom. So when you're running boom, you just go through the actual XLR cables on the side. So you're going to need somebody that's kinda do audio. You're probably going to need a PM. So PMs production manager, now with the production manager will do they'll keep you on track for whatever your day is. So let's say you're filming a to eight, you're doing forcings every four hours. They're going to tell you, Hey, we can only do one more take up the shot. We have to move on. That's what a PM is there for you to do, and that's what the rule is. So they're going to help you get through your film. I'm gonna push you to kind of sound pace. So I would say a PM, a sound guy, I would say for sure ADP, somebody that's going to run camera. You're going to want a gaffer, somebody that does lights and less. You're on no budget and you're doing no bytes. Been sure you don't need a gaffer, but you need somebody that's going to gaff. And then obviously your producer. And you, I'd say like that's like that's like a skeleton crew. So that's like a six person creates a very small group. Recommend at least that. Now a lot of times you'll have like three grips, which a grip is somebody that will just carry equipment and for you in, you know, once once maybe you are a little bit more accredited and you're making these bigger films, it's easier to get these people because, you know, at some point you're going to have grips and you're gonna have PMs and 80s which the system directors. And you're going to have first AD, second AD and AC and assistant camera. But you don't need all that in the beginning. I don't want to overwhelm you with all that. So just get that bare-bones crew and make something that you want to make. So that's how you get your crew and that's their positions. Let's move on to the next. 5. Learning Filmmaking: Everything you'll need for your film: So now that you've pre-production stages done, you're getting ready to go into production. What's everything you're going to need? So first you're going to need a camera. Obviously, you're going to need sound. You're going to need, you know, whether it's your boom, you just need your whole audio there. And you're going to need lights, and you're going to need your locations. So once that is set, you're ready to start your first film. Now let's talk about the day of the shoot. 6. Learning Filmmaking: What to expect on the shoot day and how to direct actors: So it's the day of the shoot, you're getting ready to do everything. You're probably going to be very nervous. A couple of things I will say very not underrated actually at all. Get some snacks for your cruise and get some sanctuary actresses and actors, because it will go a long way. Trust me, they're working for free. But that aside, It's your shoot day. There's a high chance you're probably going to feel very nervous. You're almost going to have this feeling of like you don't know what's going on is normal. Just note as normal. Just keep on top of things. So know what you're shooting. Explain your vision to your actors and actresses. And so whenever you directing your actors, instead of saying, Hey, Quibi, Quibi, a little bit more aggressive with it? Or can you be a little bit more loud? Or it can be a little bit more sad in this scene. Don't give them specific demands like that. It's harder to understand from an actress point of view when you're saying it like that, give them actual examples. So, so saying Hey, can you be a little bit more mad? And your tone say like, Hey, imagine that person punched you in the face. Now use that emotion. And you know, those specific examples give, give your actors more of a feeling of what you want out of them, and it helps your piece a lot. So that's like a super, super important thing. And we practice this all the time. We would do things in class would be like actor or actress. And our whole directing class would just sit there and tell them, instead of a, b, b, mad, be sad, do this. We would always give examples. So like we had that pounded in our heads and I think it's super beneficial to, because it always helps. Always held that your actor kinda relate to what you're asking them to do. Stuff will also go wrong. Just know something will go wrong. And when it does, it's not a big deal. It is what it is. Nothing bad or negative is going to happen from your phone, from it, you might lose a saner, you might not get that perfect shot that you want it. It's okay. Work with what you have. You know, some of the greatest films get cut short and editing does amazing stuff. Now let's talk about after your shoot day, what you can expect to do with your film. 7. Learning Filmmaking: Post-Production and how to get your film into festivals: All right, so you finish filming your short film. Now you're in the post-production. So this is where everything comes alive. So you're going to import all your stuff. And the other important thing you need to remember is whenever you are doing post-production, you're going to want to buy a hard drive. This is like the last thing you're going to have to buy. The hard drive. I mean, the amount of photos are you going to film? You're not gonna be able to put it on a SD card or anything. You're going to need an external hard drive forward by one of these, I would say get a solid state if you're on a budget. I mean, you could go to Walmart and buy a $50.2 terabyte drive, which will last you probably ten short films, at least. I'm talking like the long short films with high-quality, high bit rate cameras. I mean, I'm talking like they'll hold a lot for you. Editing is the most important thing obviously. So when you're creating the story, the nice thing about editing and post-production is you can almost set the pace for your film. So if your films and little bit too slow, you can speed it up in posts. You know, there are, let's say there's six seconds between your dialogue and you want it sped up. You've got that six seconds out. No one will ever know, but you, you kinda control how in the edit books on your film. And of course, you know, adding music, you'll see how much benefit music will add to your film. And of course, if you really want, you can have somebody professionally color. And then the thing is, once you finished it, if it turned out okay. If you wash it and you're like, wow, that's turned out okay, everybody liked it. Now is the time I would say do festival runs. So the thing about being a vessel runs as some of them do cause some of them don't. I would say send it off to as many festival runs as you can then what will you do? Just type in Film Festival in California, Film Festival in Germany. You can do it completely international until a lot of them are free. And the more you send it off to, the more chance that somebody's going to accept it. And basically, you know, It's not like you're getting paid for it or anything. But you do get an official selection for this film festival, which it kind of just adds to the film. You know? And if you have a critically, it basically, you can say you have a critically acclaimed film that's international now. So if you get accepted all of these places, you know, there are in some cases, prize money depending on what film festival urine or you get exposure. And if your goal in life is really to like be on film director, if you're making short films. And that's honestly probably the best way to go. It's almost better to make 20 amazing short films. How women film festivals one after another and they're doing really well. Then to know somebody adds in it. I know it sounds crazy. It's all the business is about who you know. But you would be surprised the amount of Hollywood executives that are like actually at these film festivals. So send it to as many film festivals as possible. And I wish you the best of luck in it. So now time, I'll show you one that I made three years ago, like I said. And before we finish on that, Go make a short film. Let's see what you got. I can't wait to see them. Here it is. So are we going to do anything fun today? I go to the park. Have optimal to call to go to the park and most kinda far away. What's hand during the day. Mom married ever getting detention? That horse as she be credit for a whole year. I got the tension ones and as her signing mom's name on a permission slip. Well, since we're here all day, so grab a game, we can play. Hello, School gone. It's going okay. I don't think Mr. Moser likes me very much. And why is that? She was taxa Haji or the game Jenna. I think a map to go on a room forbid. Okay. I have nothing else to do. We'll do something later, but I just happy it's Morton quick finished. The kids can I really do play for a bit. Okay. Here it is. 15 minutes. Hi. My atmosphere. And the temperature. Basically, it's never enough to say yes. I'm here near generic form.