Creating a viral or even successful short film can seem like an insurmountable task for a young filmmaker, especially with the continuously growing amount of competition out there. This is why we have prepared a little short recipe with several key ingredients to keep in mind when preparing a film.

1. Have a story worth telling

Codfish & Cyanide

Everything starts from the script. Write and re-write, then re-write it again. Have a compelling story, and if its something that has been told before, tell it in a new way. Explore new territories and techniques, people will love it.

A couple of good stories: Codfish & Cyanide, Studies on Hysteria

2. Surround yourself with a professional crew

Get people with experience, starting from Director of Photography, just as important are lighting and sound guys. We know it’s your film, your baby, but a key to a successful film is making the entire crew believe it is their project as well. Don’t try to be Superman and be director/assistant/DP/gaffer/etc at once, focus on your job and have trust in others.

3. Real actors


The face of your film is just as important as the image. Get professional actors and forget about your little brother or best friend. If you’re serious about your film, real actors will bring your film to the next level. Put out ads and check with your local theatre schools, you’d be surprised at how many actors are willing to act for free to enrich their portfolios. But beware, theatre and film is not the same thing, stage actors tempt to embellish everything, which doesn’t always turn out right on film.

Just some exemplary acting: Cockatoo, Certified, Method Actor

4. Keep it Short

Especially if your aiming for an online release. But even if you begin with a festival run, keep in mind that your film will eventually end up online where you will gather a much larger audience in the end. But this audience is impatient and easily distracted. Keep them on the edge of their seat with a short and effective film, and you’ll see that they will press share at the end of it.

Short shorts: Fortune Faded, Call Back, Mutt

5. Work with a graphic artist

Streets of Rage

From your first poster to the rolling credits, work with a talented graphic designer. Your film is a brand, and it needs an identity, grasp your audience with an impressive first look with a well designed title screen.

Design in mind: Streets of Rage, Soy Fuego, Waste, Epoch

6. Get an original score

This is not a must, but using a popular song can come off as cheating to some. It may also be illegal! Last thing you want is your film to be pulled offline once it’s become popular due copyright infringements.

Finding a musician to create a soundtrack for free is hard, but not impossible. Search on forums and dedicated sites and find a musician that fits your film genre and vision, make sure he understands your film before starting anything.

Some awesome scores: 88:88, The Hunt, Each Time Again

This is just an overview of essentials that need to be in a short film, of course there is much more work to it, and a great film will come through a great idea, followed through by a great execution. We touch each section in deeper details in our Short Guide to Making An Awesome Short and invite you to flow through it before kicking off production on your film.

Don’t forget to send us your shorts once they are complete!