Making a Personal Commitment to Your Film

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Guest Blogger: Gini Graham Scott, author of Complete Guide to Writing, Producing, and Directing a Low Budget Short Film.


Just about any short film takes at least several weeks of commitment if not longer to put all the pieces together, except for those very short more spontaneous shoots which some people put together in one day.  But more usually, you can figure on one to three weeks for pre-production, including casting and organizing props and locations, a day for the shoot, and two to four weeks for editing.

So it’s important to keep up that spirit of personal commitment for yourself and convey that to others to keep excitement high about making and completing – and later on promoting – the film.  This kind of commitment will also help to keep you enthusiastic and motivated despite the problems and challenges you may encounter along the way, from rewrites of the script to breakdowns in equipment to cast and crew members not showing up to problems in transferring film to the editor, because it happens to come from an old camera, so you have to take it to a specialty house to get it turned into a format the editor’s computer will recognize.  You need that commitment to keep going and see the film completed in spite of such glitches that seem to be in the nature of making almost any film.

I can also help you keep that spirit of commitment and follow-through by reminding yourself from time to time why you are doing this.  Is it just for fun, or do you hope that these short films will lead to a professional career in the film industry?

For example, I am personally involved in the success of all the shoots I set up, which result in an organization that comes into its brief existence, once people agree to participate as cast or crew.  Then, it continues for the day of the shoot and through e-mail and phone calls until the film is completed and posted on YouTube and other sites.  I am very committed, since I am producing scripts I have written and know that it is unlikely that any of these scripts would be turned into films unless I took the lead in getting them produced myself, rather than trying to find a producer or director to be equally inspired to produce the script – especially since there is normally no money in creating shorts, aside from creating trailers that might be used to get funding to produce a full-length feature.  Then, I am involved through the editing process or in offering suggestions to the DP/Director/Editor to see that my vision is realized.  Another key reason I am so personally involved is that I want to produce a professional-looking product which will eventually result in clients hiring me to write and produce films for them and in my determining what actors and crew members I might like to work with in the future on these paid shoots.

Similarly, think of your own reasons for doing this, which will help guide you in deciding what you want to write, produce, or direct in light of your goals for your role in the industry.

Complete Guide to Writing, Producing, and Directing a Low Budget Short Film
The Complete Guide to Writing, Producing, and Directing a Low-Budget Short Film
 is a comprehensive step-by-step overview of how to complete and promote a low-budget short film. It begins with how to write a short script, keeping in mind the goal of shooting it in one or at most two days.

It discusses how to finalize your script by getting feedback and then preparing it for production through doing a scene breakdown and possibly a storyboard. It describes how to direct the film yourself or work with a director, audition the actors and cast the short, plan for and participate in the shoot, and work with an editor to finish your film. Finally, it discusses how to get your film shown, including entering it in festivals, and concludes with an extensive list of resources and references, including books, articles, script and storyboard software, conferences, expos, festivals, and more. Available for purchase here.


Hal Leonard Performing Arts Publishing Group, the trade book division of Hal Leonard Corporations, publishes books on the performing arts under the imprints Hal Leonard Books, Backbeat Books, Amadeus Press, and Applause Theatre and Cinema Books.

Posted on December 6, 2011, in Film & TV and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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