I see you out there—aspiring writer and filmmaker, typing away on your laptop, downing lattes, dying to get your stories out into the world. I also hear your excuses—not enough time, not enough resources, and definitely not enough money. Let’s have 2022 be the year you turn all of that around, and finally become a produced screenwriter and filmmaker.
I’ve outlined 3 steps you can take every month, starting now, to write, shoot, edit, and market your film by the end of the year. Won’t that eggnog taste better at Christmas knowing you finally shot your short film?
If you want more guidance directly from me, and feedback on your short film script, sign up for my new short film class with Script University here!
You got this!
· Brainstorm short film concepts and decide on one
· Create lists of anything and everything you can get for free—locations, props, etc.
· Create basic character bios and a basic beat sheet/structure
· Write your script – ideally using your free locations!
· Break down your script by characters, props, wardrobe, set dressing, etc.
· Create lists of everything you have vs. everything you need to get ahold of
· Revise your script and get feedback on it, and revise some more!
· Create a budget for the film
· Start a financing plan – Self-fund? Investors? Crowdfunding? All of the above?
· Put financing plan in action – create crowdfunding campaign, contact investors
· Finalize your script
· Create website, social media accounts, start building buzz
· Scout and book locations
· Decide on shoot dates
· Post job notices for crew and breakdowns for actors (or hire casting director)
· Interview crew members
· Hold casting sessions
· Make hiring and casting decisions
· Book talent and crew if you haven’t already
· Turn in SAG-AFTRA signatory paperwork if your project is union
· Continue gathering items you need from your script breakdown lists
· Finalize shoot dates, confirm locations
· Get insurance policies, contracts, SAG-AFTRA paperwork in order (if union)
· Do wardrobe fittings and rehearsals/table read
· Shoot your film! (Congrats!)
· Tie up loose ends, pay everyone, complete paperwork, etc. after shoot
· After a short break, start editing process
· Finish editing and cut a short trailer
· Continue post-production once picture is locked
· Prep online accounts for film festival submissions
· Update website and social media with production stills, trailer, etc.
· Create electronic press kit
· Start submitting to film festivals
· Continue submitting to film festivals
· Research distributors to submit to, or online distribution options for the future
· Relax and enjoy the holidays! You’re a filmmaker!
If you want to be a produced screenwriter, there’s never been a better time to make it happen for yourself! There’s no reason to wait around for a producer to call when you can start to build your credits and body of produced work on your own. With everything you need already in your phone and laptop, you can produce your own short film and propel your writing and/or directing career forward with little to no budget.