Hello, Shofar here, so it is probable that you are about to shoot your first short or you are starting to build your portfolio, if that´s the case I want to help you out with 7 tips that I would liked to know when I was starting. My first short film sucked big time but because of that I can give you some advice.
1 What is your movie about?
This can seem pretty obvious but a lot of young filmmakers can´t answer this question or they just don´t understand the point of the question. You may say, well my movie is about robots, cowboys or space robotic cowboys. But that´s not the answer we are looking for. The real question is what is your theme? your central idea, your core message. For example Toy Story, yes it is a movie about toys but the central idea is jelousy and acceptance. We see Woody´s journey from being jelous of Buzz to accepting him.
Film is a language so a movie´s purpose is to express an idea, to comunicate a message. So you should have a theme.
2 Story is king
What I am trying to say here is DO NOT SHOOT YOUR FIRST SCREENPLAY DRAFT.
You may be confident about the quality of your story but the thing is that every amateur thinks that. Is a common mistake, this is called the Dunning Kruger effect. So write your screenplay and then read it, rewrite it, read it again and correct the mistakes, fill the narrative holes, ask a friend or a more experienced writer for help. This is a tedious process and some times is better to leave the story alone for a few days and then with a fresh mind and a different perspective work on it again.
You can have beautiful locations, good costume design and decent actors for your short but with out the proper lightning all of that is going to be a waste, It´s just going to be uncomfortable to watch. If you want to learn about this matter I highly reccomend this channel.
4 50% of the quality of your short is in the audio.
The difference between an amateur and a pro is in the audio. We spend so much effort in the quality of the image that we forget about sound, voices, noise, foley and music. It is easier to watch a video with mediocre visuals and good sound that a video with poor sound quality and beautiful shots.
Be organized, remember to rehearse, book your locations, have an agenda, be punctual. Maybe you should ask a friend to assist you with the production of your short some one who can keep track of the crew, equipment, money, transportation, locations and sschedules that are going to be used.
Keep It Simple Stupid. Some people want to start right in the middle of hollywood, they want to start with a feature film and write the next Citizen Kane. But maybe you should start with a modest story, maybe 3 minutes tops and 2 or 3 characters. Limitation is Imagination.
The most important advice is PRACTICE, I am going to be honest with you the odds are that your short is going to be bad and maybe you´ll feel like a looser. But even if thats the case at least you are going to be a looser with a short film, someone who is brave enough to be creative. The film industry is not for those who know a lot about film, is not for those who say that are good and are full of ideas. The film industry are for those that can DO. Those who can shoot, write, direct, act & etc. Be patient and you´ll see progress.
See you later alligator :v