How to Make Short Films: Start to End Process

how make short films

You wanna be a Filmmaker for the rest of your life but don’t know how to make short films. You are an aspiring filmmaker and want to start with short films. Don’t worry. We are going to list down all the processes of making short films from start to end.

You can learn to make films by watching and observing short films too. We have listed some of the best short films of youtube on our blogpost.

1. Short Story Idea

Every short film must have a good story. It is the first and important key to make a short film. However, beginner filmmakers always have difficulty to find a good story or idea.

The following list of points will help you to start thinking in a direction for the story.

  • Think of a story with the minimum number of characters. Like 1 or 2.
  • Use any of your life event that is worth to convey a message to the audience.
  • Think idea that will use minimum or no budget at all to make a short film.
  • Choose a genre like horror, where only one character can be used. For instance, a boy is alone at home and feeling some kind of unusual activities. Make the audience feel horror.
  • You can search the internet to find a short film story. Make sure that the story is not copyright protected.

Once you finalized your short film story, the next step is scripting the idea.

2. Write a Script of Short Film

We have story in your hands but it should be documented in the form of a script.

What Exactly a Script is?
The script is a document that has every visual, behavioural, environmental and lingual element written to describe the story. Script helps directors, actors and other production crew to interpret the film. It has every scene written that should be filmed.

In other words, the script contains all the elements that need to be present in the final product i.e. short film.

Every dialogue, camera shot, transition or any cuts must be written in the script. has some scripts which you can check for reference.

Following video can help you to understand the script of short films.

3. Storyboard the Script

Script is a text document of a story with more information but Storyboard is a graphical organizer of the story in the form of images to the pre-visualize a script.

The storyboard is frame by frame scene in the form of graphic that helps filmmakers to make short films. These days some people use motion graphics tools to make a storyboard.

If you guys are good at drawing, you don’t need any software to do it. Make storyboard yourself on paper with a pen. You can use software to make it. For Instance, Storyboarder is good software to storyboard and it’s free.

4. Complete Pre-Production

Main part of a film i.e. story, is been done. Now it’s time to find out Actors, Locations and other helping guys.

Helping Guys: You already have friends and they can help to make a short film. They can help you to record audio on set or set lights and other pieces of equipment.

Locations: This thing must be prioritized when you write a script. For short films always think of a budget-friendly location. For horror short films your house is perfect. You can ask family and friends about location requirements and they might help.

Actors: This is the most important part of shorts films. Many short films don’t attract because of good acting. Remember one thing your friends are not actors. You must find people with acting skills. We have seen many films with a good short story but due to acting, it fails. However, you can post your requirements to groups on social media. There are many struggling actors who can work for free. You only need to ask. You can give scripts to actors and trial them.

5. Shoot the Short Film

Before you start shooting you must find out a proper camera and other gears to make good quality content. We have seen many short films made with iPhone or Smart Phone. Still, these short films look better. The important thing is they follow a story to entertain the audience.

Camera, Lights, Audio and Other Gears

Good video quality is important for short films. So choosing a camera for it is a tricky part for beginners. Aspiring filmmaker sometimes gives more attention to the camera and equipment rather than the story. The audience doesn’t know which camera or gear is used to shoot film. You can use any camera with decent video quality and manual functions. Even the iPhone will work well.

Lights and Audio has more value to make a cinematic look in your short films. You should master these two also.

You can see our blogpost related low budget filmmaking and iPhone Filmmaking. These post will help you to choose a camera and other important gears under budget.


Most of the beginner start shooting films without rehearsal. You should always rehearse with actors, camera operator and other members on set. This will boost your confidence and chemistry among actors, crew members and of-course you.

In Hollywood, this process is called blocking the scene. This can be done anywhere.

Shoot Short Film Using Storyboard

Start filming each scene you storyboarded earlier. You can shoot any scene in any order using a storyboard. Chronological order is not important if you have a complete storyboard with you.

Always open to suggestion from friends, family or your crew. You can change the scene at the moment to add more creativity or feel into it.

If you have any specific scene that contains outside world scene, shoot these first. Shoot weather-specific scene also on priority.

Your film is short so don’t focus on visual more rather than narrative. Make sure the message you want to pass is conveyed successfully or not.

Tip: Always confirm good quality sound while shooting a short film.

6. Editing Short Film

Final part is editing your short. You can choose any editing software you are familiar with. We have compared some of the free video editing software on our blog.

There are tons of videos on youtube to editing video. Use this opportunity and make yourself a better filmmaker.

Following points are important while editing footage.

  • Take backup and upload all footage in Editing software.
  • First, roughly edit the scene and watch.
  • Now find the pace of your scene and again edit it. Pacing is important otherwise people will get bored.
  • Add background music to make it more cinematic.
  • Watch again and tighten the editing. Repeat this process until you feel the story.
  • Make a final review and adjust your editing.
  • Watch it with family and friends. Get feedback like its beta testing.
  • Once All Good, Upload it wherever you want to.

There are multiple sources where you can sell your short films. Present your short films to film festivals if you think it has the potential to win. If you have an audience on youtube put this short film there also.

Learn from mistakes. Write down your mistakes while make short film. Work on those mistakes and become a good filmmakers.

Donot forgot to Say a Big THANKS to your people who helped you creating this short film. Give them a small treat.

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