Five Ways To Make Your Short Film Awesome

When I got into filmmaking, short films were viewed as a calling card. You’d make a short, get into festivals and hope someone would come along and offer you a gazillion dollars to fund your feature.

While making a short film is still a great representation of your talent, advancements in streaming video has created a lot of opportunity for the short filmmaker. Of course, you’re not the only filmmaker who knows this. One glance at YouTube and you realize thousands of shorts are being produced daily.

This post is sponsored by our friends at the ScreenCraft Short Film Production Fund, now accepting applications for up to $20,000 in financing (deadline soon). They’re awarding funding every quarter!

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Five Ways To Make Your Short Film Awesome

With all the content competing for eyeballs, getting your short film noticed can be challenging. So here are five guidelines you can utilize as you create your next short film.

1. Keep Your Short Film Short: Okay. Duh, right? I know this may seem obvious, but the whole point of making a short film is to make a short film. Over the years, I have sat through a gazillion short films that were way too long. In many instances, the same story could have been told in half the time.

2. Limit Characters: If you think about it, characters are there to support the goals of the protagonist. And because short films are meant to be short, when you add more characters, you will need more time. So if you are set on adding a dozen subplots, you may as well make a feature.

3. Utilize Limited Locations: In any film production, moving the entire cast and crew to a new location is time consuming and expensive. Since your time on set is presumably limited by your lack of time and budget, you need to find a creative way to tell your story as efficiently as possible.

4. Use Visual Effects: Here’s the fun part. With a laptop and some editing software like After Effects, you now have the ability to quickly and affordability create visual effects. With that said, make sure any effects you choose serve to enhance the story.

5. Experiment With Your Short Film: I hate it when people tell me they are making an experimental short film. This is because most times the word “experimental” is synonymous with “pretentious.” But I suppose if you’re going to try something new, you may as well do it with your short. And who knows? You might just invent something awesome.


When making your film, focus on telling a good story. If you do this, all the tactics I mentioned will fall into place. And in the end, your audience will thank you for it. And while you’re at it (if you’re interested) our sponsor ScreenCraft has set up a short film production fund.

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ARTICLE BY Jason Brubaker

If you'd like more tactics like the article you just read, make sure to grab a copy of the filmmaker checklist. You'll get 65 useful steps you can employ to produce your next feature film.