Although short films were the most popular at the time of the birth of cinema, they have become increasingly common and loved in recent years. With animation giants like Pixar and DreamWorks regularly making short films as companions to feature-length films as well as independent short films, a new interest has been generated around this form of art. In addition to this, due to the evolution and easy accessibility of the types of equipment, software and other devices required to make short films, this form is now attracting more and more filmmakers with low or negligible budgets.
However, since short films give the filmmaker a limited period of time to convey the story, precision and quality of every single moment of the film become very important. High quality but low budget short films cannot be made without the support of a talented and capable team who is willing to put its best foot forward despite the possibly low pay.
So, how do you go about setting up your dream team for a low-budget short film?
1. Write a story that you believe in
If you want a team that wholeheartedly puts its faith in the short film and believes in it, the first of all, you need to believe in it yourself. You have to write the kind of story that sets your blood running and that feels just right! Passion and belief are contagious. Your passion and belief in your story will develop your team?s passion and belief.
2. Word of mouth can do wonders
Now that you know what you are going to be making your short film, you need to figure out people who will help your idea of short film come to life. Since you have a low budget, you can just spread the word about your project in the correct circles. You?ll definitely find people who are interested!
Facebook casting groups can get you leads too.
3. Use your contacts
Being a filmmaker, you are in a place where you know people who are into the whole film-making business. They might be from your school or university or a previous job or just people you interact with on the internet. Use your contacts and recruit your dream team.
4. Find like-minded people
In the process of making a piece of art like a short film that needs so many hands on deck, you have to find hands or rather, people who share your vision for the film. People who get what you are trying to create are crucial to your project?s completion. But also be careful that you find like-minded people for your team who actually add value, who help in enhancing your short film, making it the best you and your team are capable of.
5. Motivation through passion
No short film can be made without an enthusiastic and motivated cast and crew working on it. Usually, money and sizeable paychecks unfailingly serve as excellent motivators. But how do you ensure a highly motivated team in absence of this? Well, since your team is already aware of the low budget of the film, they are here because of something else- passion! They want to contribute to the film because they truly believe it to be worthy of their time and energy. It is now up to you to maintain this passion and by extension, the team?s motivation.
6. Shout out to new talent
Now it is quite possible that you won?t be able to afford the well-known, well-established cast and crew for your film. Instead of hoping to convince experienced film professionals to donate their time to this project, why don?t you use the immensely talented newcomers who are dying to do their best? With them, you will have a crew with new ideas, new perspectives, high passion, and motivation.
7. Pick multitaskers
While making a short film when you have a low budget, it is very important to look for team members who can multitask. If you have a cameraman who can also work on the background score, then you?re in luck! Moreover, multitaskers often know how to make the best of a situation even when they have limited resources. When someone is able to bring in the quality and technique without high-end resources and tech, they are somebody who will add so much value to your team.
8. Respect your team
If you have someone who is brilliant at editing or any other skill for that matter, let them do their job. You don?t have to be the one deciding every little thing about the movie and you definitely don?t possess all the knowledge in the world. You need your dream team. So listen to them, respect them and acknowledge their immense contributions to the short film.
9. Remember: it is a collaborative project
Most importantly, remember that making a film is always a collaborative effort. A single person cannot do all the various tasks associated with making a film. You cannot direct, act, shoot and edit the film all by yourself. And since your team is contributing to the making of the film, it is theirs as much as it is yours. It will be very unfair if you make it all about yourself and don?t let your cast and crew be heard if you don?t take their views into consideration.
10. Be actively involved
Conversely, if you slack off or put the burden of all the work solely on your team, nothing will demotivate them faster than your lack of involvement in the project. You have to have continued enthusiasm for the project and you must continue actively executing their enthusiasm. Don?t get lazy; laziness won?t make you a film. Working on it will.
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