How to Make a Short Film

how to make a short film diagonal media

A short film is the calling card a filmmaker needs to get their foot in the door. 

But how do you get started?! We’re going to lay out some simple steps on how to get going.

1. Write a good script 

You’ll want to start with a really good under 10-minute short film – usually 10 pages of dialogue.

Wherever you’re at with your script right now, Diagonal Media can help with ideation and script doctoring.   

2. Make a Budget 

This is essential. You’ll want to consider above-the-line costs (development, talent, director, actors) and below-the-line costs (equipment, location, post-production services, and labor). As well as a marketing and distribution budget (film festival submissions, pr, etc…)

When you work with Diagonal Media to create your short film, we’ll help make sure your budget is realistic and thorough. 

3. Figure out your schedule and stick with it.

The filmmaking process has a lot of moving parts! You want to plan your production schedule out well in advance so that you can hit all the important deadlines. 

Our team of producers has 1000s of hours of experience with creating and managing production timelines. And we can handle all that for you when you work with us. 

4. Decide do you want the actors to be Union or Non-Union?

Using Union actors can be beneficial as it allows you to attach name talent and more experienced talent to your cast – which helps in the festival submission process. 

If you want the actors to be Union you’ll need to prepare ahead of time and start the onboarding process with SAG-AFTRA. 

Diagonal Media has become a SAG-AFTRA signatory for short film and series projects and we are familiar with the process. When you hire Diagonal Media as your production company of record, we take over the signatory process and handle all that paperwork for you. 

5. Cast Your Film 

Figure out what roles you’re casting, and how you want actors to audition – online? In person? Which part of the script will you send them as audition sides? 

Put out a casting notice on all the relevant sites: Breakdown Services, Backstage, etc. 

Diagonal Media has cast countless projects and we take care of all of these steps for you. Plus we screen all the applicants so you can focus on viewing the top talent submissions. 

6. Find and Book Locations 

This part of the process can be very time consuming but Diagonal Media has relationships with location managers and scouts that make this a lot easier and painless.  

Important note: Insurance is required by a lot of locations. As a fully insured production agency, that’s one more thing you don’t need to worry about when working with our team. 

7. Source and Book Crew 

Do you know how they say it takes a village to make a film? It’s true. We know all the crew you need to be successful. From gaffers and grips, to sound, hair, makeup, and craft service. We’ve got you covered. 

Diagonal Media also has many different camera and lens options as well as DPs to film your masterpiece. 

8. Film It 

This is the fun part. You’ve worked so hard to get to this point – and now you get to flex your creative muscle. 

9. Enter Post-Production! 

Diagonal Media has edited several short films and narrative content – we can take your idea from concept to delivery. 

10. Submit to Festivals 

Now that you’ve made it – it’s time to get it out into the world. 

We’d love to work with you to bring your short film to life. At the end of the process, you’ll walk away with a fully edited piece and you’ll be involved in every step along the way.

Reach out to our team to get started on your short film today.