Jonny Cronin gives some advice to filmmakers who are struggling to complete their short film
Making that first short film, which is where filmmakers cut their teeth and truly come of age, is a rite of passage for any filmmaker. They learn about filmmaking through making a lot of mistakes, says Jonny Cronin. It’s possible that it’s the universe’s way of weeding out the unfit and unwilling. It’s also an epic adventure through the greatest peaks and lowest depths, as rookie filmmakers rapidly find that having a few people, a boom mike, and a camera isn’t enough.
The following are some helpful hints for filmmakers as they plan, create, and negotiate the numerous difficulties and tribulations of creating their first few short films.
Take a Break from the Clouds
It’s fine to have great ambitions and ambitious goals, but the worst thing you can do is go into the process with unrealistic expectations. You must be realistic in your expectations. Keep your feet on the ground. When you start believing that approaching venture capitalists, local physicians or dentists (or local affluent people in general), investors, or pre-sale distribution would totally fund your projects, you’ll quickly find that everything you’ve read in a lot of independent filmmaking books is a fallacy.
Understand the responsibilities of crowdfunding and understand that it is most likely a one-time deal.
Successful crowd-funding filmmakers understand that it is a full-time, pride-sucking pit of desperation and anguish.
You must be incredibly active on Facebook, Twitter, and any other social media site that I am too old to be aware of. It’s been 30–40 days of nonstop Facebook postings, Tweets, and emails, all of which have you pleading for money from strangers as well as friends, family, and relatives.
Produce a Vivid Cinematic Experience
With short films, lighting, lenses, and camera technique are all crucial. You’ll be doing yourself and your actors a huge favor if you can make something that looks feature-worthy. Yes, while some screenwriters would despise this fact, in short films, the aesthetics can occasionally take precedence over the story’s profundity. So many amazing short screenplays have been squandered due to poor production value and poor aesthetics.
Keep the running time to a minimum.
Short films can be up to 45 minutes long, but don’t go there. At least not for your first couple of short flicks. For short film viewers, 45 minutes — or even 30 minutes — is a tremendous commitment, and nine times out of ten, it’s evidence of overwriting and over-directing rather than more content.
With a shorter run duration, you can have a much greater effect. In addition, a shorter running duration implies that there is less to see. When there’s less to film, you can concentrate more on the important plot and character moments during the shoot.
Be a Collaborator, Not a Dictator
It’s all too easy to get caught up in the stereotype of the tyrant who has absolute power over everyone. It is, after all, your ship as a director. On your shoulders are the responsibilities for all parts of the production.
However, you must work closely with your actors and crew, especially at this point. Allow your cinematographer to contribute some suggestions. Inquire about their vision for the shot. Allow your cast to provide their own thoughts. Allow them to be as creative as they want with their characters. Allow them to raise objections to some of the script’s decisions. You can rely on the lighting and sound crews to get the job done. Believe in your editor’s instincts. Trust them all and pay attention to what they have to say. Surround yourself with talented individuals you may discover on the internet, at colleges, and in theatrical groups, for example. Don’t be hesitant to collaborate with strangers who have a gift or expertise that you can use.
Filmmaking, whether for a movie or a short film, is difficult, according to Jonny Cronin. You’re not doing it correctly if it’s simple. However, following these nine suggestions and seeking out more advice and tricks of the trade from other filmmakers who have gone through their own rodeos can make things much easier for you.