I had the recent pleasure of connecting with a screenwriter who’s working on a feature script, but is also investigating the logistics of developing a short out of it, which includes them having begun connecting with other writers and filmmakers in their area.
I thought that was a great idea, and tossed out the suggestion that maybe they try to make it themselves, as in “just you”. Especially now that most smartphones can double as camera equipment, and film editing software is easily accessible (if not already installed on your computer).
They’d considered this, adding “But I’m just not tech-savvy”.
But you can learn.
If you’re reading this, you’re more than likely interested in screenwriting and/or filmmaking. When you first started out, it’s probably a dead-on certainty that your early works were awful, right? Looking at some of my first scripts makes me cringe from how bad they are.
But we kept at it, learning and improving along the way. How does your most recent effort compare to that first one? Worlds apart, I’d imagine. You try something, you make mistakes, you learn from those mistakes, and try again.
There’s no reason you couldn’t apply the same logic to making your own short. Sure, there’s a lot more to it than simply pointing your phone and hitting ‘record’, but you gotta start somewhere.
Give it a go and write yourself a short script. Nothing fancy (but do try to make it a good sample of the genre). Anywhere from one to five minutes, spread out over one, possibly two scenes. Two characters, three at best. Try to keep it limited to one location.
Now look at it from the filmmaker’s perspective. Could you feasibly make this yourself? Like how a first draft of a script reads, the end result will not be pretty. At first, you’ll be thrilled at having done it. Then reality sets in and the flaws become that much more obvious.
But you will have done it. A short film, written and produced by YOU.
What you do with it now is up to you. Hopefully, you’ll embrace the learning experience and know what not to do the next time around.
My friend mentioned that once the short got made, which it sounds like they are very intent on making happen one way or another, plans are already being discussed about next steps, which included posting it on YouTube and/or submitting it to some film festivals.
Even though our conversation was solely via email, there was a certain tone to their words that indicated they were quite psyched about jumping into this new venture. I wished them the best of luck and asked to be kept updated as to their progress.
I think they’re off to a pretty good start.