5 Things I’ve learned Since Making My First Short Film

We all have to start somewhere, and that’s okay. I recently just re watched the first short film I have ever made.. and boy was it rough. But it’s not good to be critical of our past works, because we have since grown and expanded our knowledge of filmmaking. I’m going to share with you 5 things I know now that I didn’t know when I made my first short film.

  1. The Importance of Having a Script

When I made my first short film, I did not know of plot points and the three act structure. If you need a tutorial on these things check out my blog post on how to write a screenplay here… https://cinematicgeekster.wordpress.com/2020/04/13/writing-a-screenplay-rules-and-format/. However, when I made my first short film, I didn’t even use a written script. Which I thought was okay because I was the writer, director, and cinematographer. The issue with not having a written script was that the actors did not fully understand what was happening until I gave them the rundown before each shot. It also strongly impacted the continuity of my film.

2. The Importance of Quality Audio

I knew nothing about audio editing when I made my first film. I did not understand that voice narration needed to be louder than any background noise and music. I also used my iPhone to record voice over narration, which was fine, but there was a lot of wind in the background. Looking back, I could have tried to clean up the audio in editing. However, since it was my first film I was editing on Movie Maker, I really should have just recorded in a controlled and quiet environment versus outside.

3. Don’t be Afraid to Re Shoot

In my first short film I shot each scene once and then moved on. I took no time to watch the scene I just shot and see if anything needed to be redone. I also had no idea what a safety shot was and how useful it can be when it comes time to edit. The camera work of the film was not bad at all, however, there were shots out of focus I could have easily fixed by re shooting.

4. Take Time Choosing Music for Your Film

One thing that drove me crazy the most when re watching my first short film was the choice in music. Each song I chose was extremely cinematic and dramatic. Which is fine, however, I filed almost every second of the film up with this kind of music. Because of this, the music lost all of its emotional impact since there was no clear drawn climatic moment in the music. It didn’t occur to me that not every single moment of a film needs to be full of music, and that it’s okay to have silent moments as well.

5. Don’t Skip Pre-Production

I had no form of pre-production when I made my first short film. I got my actors together, had an idea in my mind, and just starting filming. Spending more time in pre production could have easily avoided many issues in my film and I think overall it would have made the film flow better. If you want a rundown on what each stage of filmmaking involves check out my blog post on the three stages of production here… https://cinematicgeekster.wordpress.com/2020/04/17/the-3-stages-of-production/


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