How to make a short film that qualifies for film festivals
First, have a good idea that you passionately believe in!
That is the basis of anything - you have to have a great script that either you wrote or cowrote or found that you are so passionate about you tell your mates and your family and your neighbors and anyone you meet about it and how much you think this movie should be made. When you have a great script you believe in, that is the first step to success. Now you have to gather resources: and first, that means: other people who believe in your movie. Film making is a group sport, it is much better when you have a team backing you and you are not on your own. so get your teammates, get other people who are happy to give their time, resources, and ideas to work with you and help you! There is plenty of people from the creative industry such as actors, designers, cameramen, etc who are willing to work even for free if they see that the project they give their time to is worth the hassle and can get them good showreel material. Advertise! there is again plenty of FREE resources: starnow, ccp, even good old gumtree where you can look for actors, crew, assistants etc. of course it is better if you can have a budget for it to pay people involved. For that you may consider using a kickstarter to raise funds for a movie :I took part and was paid for work on an amazing short movie that was later submitted for festivals and funds for that movie were raised via a kickstarter page. So you CAN indeed find people to help you fund a project provided you have enough passion to promote the project and believe in it till the end! The most important thing is faith you have in it. Remember we are all in this business because of the love we share for acting, for film and theatre, for doing creative things. We all have passion for it so you will easily find people to help you! Also prepare for the shoot: scout for locations, search for the props, create a diary of what you may need. You never know a trip to your local charity shop may bring surprising results and best props you could dream of! Again a team of people will help in this too - if you manage to nominate someone as your costume designer, they will help in deciding what clothes and props you will need. Many of your friends have things or know places that would be very helpful during the filming process. Now after all your hard work there is a task of submitting it to festivals. Remember to check the calendar for festivals ahead of the filming so you do not miss submission dates, and also do not share your movie around before you realise that some festivals do not allow for it. Make sure to check all the terms and condition. Again, perhaps the person you nominate as a producer could help you in that? Someone who is not behind the camera but better with phone calls and emails, and as important as the front house crew of your movie! Email festivals even before you start shooting - some of them may need a synopsis of your movie so check what and when and where you have to send. Like I said, having a dedicated team of people that is as passionate about the project as you are is very important: there are days when you will feel tired and drained, when you may lose faith in all the hard work you are doing, and on days like this your team will help you raise your spirit, buy you a drink and remind you why you are doing all that. And most important: stay positive! Have hope! Passion and love do bring results but it is crucial to stay positive!