Posted on December 28, 2019 at 4:31 pm

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How to make a short film – The definitive guide 2019

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How to make a short film with zero budget thanks to this guide, where we will learn all the steps you need to carry out your project without dying in the attempt (dramatic phrase).

How to make a short film

The first thing you have to bear in mind is that in a short film you have to know how to improvise and move forward, not to crumble for any stone you find on the way, because there are going to be many of them. We have a goal, and that is to have a competent product to reach a specific audience.

Think about what you would like to see or which films you are passionate about and imitate them. That’s the key to success.

According to 123Movies no matter how much we want to write for ourselves, we have to keep in mind that more people have to like it. But remember that you are not alone, you can be a type of target audience, a target, if you know how to analyse your tastes well and extrapolate them to others.

Having said that, let’s see how to make a short film and divide it into 3 main parts: pre-production, production and postproduction.


How to make a short film always depends on the base, on the preparation, i.e. pre-production.We should always start with the script. If you haven’t read the definitive guide of How to Write a Film Screenplay, then don’t go on. Read that post and then come back here. The script is the cornerstone of pre-production, shooting and post-production.

If, on the other hand, you already have a script written or they have written it for you to direct the short film, then let’s follow the path.

Short film making
Short film making

What budget do we have to make the short film?

Obviously, how to make a short film will depend on the amount of money you have for the production. But it also depends on the idea, the talent of the whole team and the desire to make a good story. So don’t slow down.

Collaboration in short films is something that is done very often. The team gives up charging for their work in exchange for having a good story to add to their reel.

It’s very likely that we don’t have the money to make the short film, so there’s nothing left but to pull collaborations, in which, for mutual convenience, you and the rest of the team will make the short film for free.

But we have to keep in mind that this can close the door to many festivals that require the team to be registered with the social security. Although, if you want to move it through small festivals or social networks and online video platforms, collaborating is the key to your first projects.

Organize the team to make a short film

It seems silly, but almost half of pre-production is knowing how to choose and organize the positions each one will hold in the short film.  If you don’t know what positions or what they do, I’ll tell you next:


Technical team: 


The person in charge of writing the script for the short film.  He’s not usually on the set, but it’s a good idea to keep it in mind in case you need to change something at the last minute.


Directing the actors in the scenes, also tells the guidelines to the other technicians of the team, during the shooting phase, and post-production.


He’ll be looking for investors to carry out the short film. If the budget is zero, he will be in charge of providing all the necessary material to take the short, as well as coordinating all the equipment and the calendar. Vital for the project to be carried out.

Director of photography

Responsible for the quality of the image, light and colors of it. Sometimes, in short films of low budget, he is also in charge of the color grading.

Art Director

He is in charge of the props and any material to set the scene.

Sound director

Responsible for sound capture and sound quality. Will clean up the sound and give you the quality that differentiates an amateur video from a movie.


In a short film, you may not have assistants, but if you can have them for each position, better, because then the effort will be better distributed, there will be more time and it will be noticed in the final result.

Assistant director

The director’s right hand to communicate with the different technical and artistic departments. It usually has a breakdown of the script and the famous shooting plan where you will have noted everything necessary for the scene, as well as a calendar of citations and the technical script to support the director and producer. In short, a key piece to speed up the shooting. It usually gives the order of “5 and action”. And he screams a lot.

Below, in the hierarchy, are the assistant directors, who are the support of the assistant directors in a film or short film and who can carry the clapper or continuity (the famous racord).

Production assistant

They are the subordinates of the producer, in a short film usually give support when transporting equipment or materials, and even catering (VERY IMPORTANT IN A SHORT, there may not be money to produce the short, but you have to make sure that everyone eats well).

Camera Operator

He follows the guidelines of the director of photography and is in charge of framing and filming short films with the camera. He may have some assistant or even a photographer, but in small short films the same operator or even the director of photography is usually in charge.


Responsible for the lighting material, placing the spotlights according to the guidelines of the dire de foto. They are usually experienced technicians, who risk their lives, so if someone is going to charge first in a short, they should be the first.

Make-up and hairdressing

It can be the same person in a small short film, taking care of the cast aesthetics.


The clothes that are going to be seen on stage, in the shorts usually work with the dire of art so that everything has the same harmony of colors. If you can borrow the cool clothes, but you also have to have the ability to sew and design.


Its main mission is in postproduction, in charge of compiling the material, editing the shots and giving meaning to everything. It is important that they have a taste in cinema, as they impose their vision is important for the result of the short film.

Composer of the soundtrack

If you have it better, because its vision gives the short film a more personalized quality than if you simply put songs free of copyright. You can also ask an artist to leave you their song.

Making of

It can be still photography or video or both. This is something that in my opinion can help later in social networks, to create interest in the short, as well as a personal satisfaction for all those who have participated, so they also feel protagonists of the story in which they are working.



If your story has a narrator or some actor needs to be dubbed for technical reasons, then it has a dubber. This is usually done in soundproofed studios so that you get more purity from their voice.



If you have scenes that have a high action content, it’s very likely that you need specialists to do that function: sword fighting, horseback riding, skidding with a car, making a somersault with a motorbike…


Well, you know what positions there should be in a short film and what everyone does, now convince people to join your team!


I recommend you to be patient, because many times they will say yes and at the last minute you can be left behind by family problems, other work, artistic differences or you don’t know.


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