How to Make a Short Film

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Edited by Ben Jacklin

Filmmaking might seem like an impossible job in the beginning, but it is not actually hard to achieve. Making your first short film will kick-start that dream, and with a website like YouTube, you have a chance to reach an audience in any part of the world.

This article covers all you need to know as a beginner when creating a short film from how to make a short movie to how long it takes to edit one and how much you can earn from your first short film.




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How to make short film

This answers the question of how to make a short movie using a short film maker and edit it to get the best quality.

How to make a short video

The following steps will tell you how to create a short film or how to make a short video from the ground up and have it be good enough to distribute to the public.

The script

There can’t be a film without a script so the first thing to do when you want to make a short film is to get a script. To produce a good short film, you need a good script and for beginners, your first script might not be perfect but that’s okay. The more you practice, the better you get at it. Consider that the goal is to make a short film, so your script shouldn’t be very lengthy. An alternative is to search online for already written scripts if you don’t want to write your script by yourself but make sure to contact the screenwriter if you plan to make money from the short film.

Script writing tips

Check out our video guide to writing a script for a movie:

Look for shooting locations

Now that you have your script ready, the next step when creating a short film is to find a location or locations that match the story you are trying to tell in your film. If the movie is happening outdoors, find a safe place and get permission to shoot there. If the movie is happening indoors, you can use your own house.

Get actors and recruit a crew for the movie

If your budget allows, you can scout for and hire professional actors to star in your short film. Scout for actors that fit the script of the movie and can imitate the characters’ personalities. If you are on a tight budget and can’t use professional actors, casting your family and friends is an easy and affordable way to get actors for your movie.

After this is done, get a crew and make sure they have defined roles to play in bringing your short film to life. Depending on your budget, you can hire a professional crew for the different parts of filmmaking like cinematography, editing, lighting etc. or you can get your friends who are interested in filmmaking to help or fill in the roles by yourself. Your budget will determine what your choice will be.

Shoot the film

Now, the next step in creating your movie is to shoot it. First of all, get your actors to rehearse the scenes in the film and correct any mistakes they make as you tell them how you want the film to be acted. After rehearsing, get them in costumes for the film and get shooting. Plan times for shooting in case you have a specific setting or the weather you need. You don't need to shoot chronologically as you can arrange your clips during the editing process.

After you have shot all the scenes and your movie is finished, you can call it a wrap. Make sure to thank everyone who had a hand in helping you create your short film.

Edit your film

The final stage is to edit your film. To ensure that you get a great film, you need a good video editing app. One of the best apps for video editing is Movavi Video Editor which helps to enhance your videos as it offers a wide range of features to make the editing process very easy and simple for you. You can use the app on the computer to get good quality for your movie.

After editing is done, you can then distribute your movie on platforms like YouTube.

Best short film makers

Here you’ll find a list of short film software options to edit your movie.

Movavi Video Editor is beginner-friendly film-making software that lets you enhance video quality, apply special effects, and much more. Its simple interface and compact timeline make it easier to get the hang of all the tools, so you can finish your movie in no time. There are multiple title presets and filters that will help you make your film look more professional. If we talk about special effects like Chroma Key, object animation, and slow motion, in Movavi, you can add them in a couple of clicks, as opposed to more advanced software.

Have a look at this video and find out what the program can do:


  • User-friendly interface

  • Advanced features (chroma key, keyframe animation, etc.)

  • Fast processing


  • It applies a watermark in the trial version

VSDC Video Editor Pro

VSDC Video Editor Pro has all necessary tools for non-linear editing. This means you can work with random video and audio segments simultaneously. Its interface allows you to easily switch between instruments and make edits without too much effort. Overlay filters and effects, insert titles, then create a DVD with your video using a built-in disk burner.

Download VSDC Video Editor Pro

CyberLink PowerDirector

CyberLink PowerDirector is aimed at more experienced users, due to its more complicated interface. With the help of its tools, you can create video collages, apply a motion tracking effect, and enhance videos from action cameras and drones within a click. Among other features are animated titles, motion graphics elements, and customizable shape objects.

Download CyberLink PowerDirector

Pinnacle Studio

With Pinnacle Studio, you get more than a short film maker. The suite also includes a screen recording tool giving you more opportunities to create. In its toolbox, you will find Color grading, Video masking, Motion tracking, and other advanced features. Over 1,800 effects and intuitive timeline editing make it a powerful tool for creating films.

Download Pinnacle Studio


Shotcut’s interface may confuse you at first, as it was originally developed for Linux. Now, it’s available for Windows and Mac, too, and is very popular with their users. It provides professional-grade tools for video editing: filters, video scopes, color correction and grading, transitions, and title templates.

Download Shotcut

How long does it take to edit a short film?

How long it takes to edit a short film depends on the length of the film. Editing a film of 45 minutes will take more time than editing a film of 20 minutes. Editing a short can take anywhere from hours to days.

How do short films make money?

The demand for short films has grown bigger in recent times than ever. Now, that you know how to make a good short film and how to make a short video, it is important to note that there are different ways that you can make money from your short film and they include:

  1. Making your video go viral on YouTube.

  2. Shortfundly, an online platform for creative filmmakers, can be used to promote your short film and gain a wide audience.

  3. You can participate in film festivals to boost your recognition in the industry.

  4. For Instagram, you can post a clip of your short film which will, in turn, get you more views and subscribers.

  5. Lastly, you can sell the copyrights of your movie to make money out of it.

How to make a short film with no money?

Do you have a low budget for your short film? That’s not a problem. Don’t bother yourself much with a question like “how much does it cost?” You can still make a short that will be considered good even with a slim budget so that you can reduce the cost of production. Use the following steps to get started.

  1. Make sure that you have basic knowledge of what making a short film entails.

  2. Write a great script and ensure to keep it short as the longer a movie takes, the more money it will need.

  3. Make a budget and try to get everything for free. Recruit your friends, family, and classmates to help out in work you cannot do yourself.

  4. Rehearse and film, keeping an eye on your budget to ensure that you stick to it.

  5. Edit your video. You can get Movavi Video Editor to help speed up your editing process. Movavi is easy to use and gives quality edited videos so you don’t have to worry.

  6. After editing, you can then distribute your video on various platforms.

How to make a short film with one person?

If you want to make a short film alone, you’ll have to create a script without actors so that it won’t need many people to run.

To do this, you might want to:

  1. Write a simple script. Remember that you will be working alone.

  2. Try out the different features of your camera to get familiar with it.

  3. Concentrate on the visual storytelling of your movie and use an external microphone in place of the camera microphone.

  4. Try not to move around too much so that the video doesn’t get blurry.

  5. Edit your video in a simple way to tell your story and then share it with the world.

How to make a short film on the computer?

You can decide not to go the traditional way of making a short film and make your short film on the computer instead. To do this:

  1. First, get a webcam.

  2. Then install the video editing software you will be using (Movavi Video Editor is one of the best editing apps and will give your videos a seamless finish).

  3. Record your video with the editor and then save it.

  4. Then share your video on any platforms you wish.

Best computers for video editing

So you see, making a short film is not as daunting as it first seemed. Follow these basic steps and you are sure to get a great movie.

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Frequently asked questions

🎥 Which is the best camera for short films?

📷 Are DSLRs good for video?

📹 What is the best video-editing software for short films?

🎬 What do YouTubers use to edit videos?

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