5 Reasons You Haven’t Made Your Short Film Yet (And What to Do About Them)

1. You think it has to be perfect or everyone will laugh at you.

“OMG, did you see Jaya’s short film? She spent the last twenty years telling everyone she wanted to be in movies – now we see why she’s not! Hope she doesn’t quit her day job!” 

Do you know who talks like that? People who don’t make movies. Or, people with their heads stuck so far up their own asses that they have forgotten what it means to risk something in order to do something meaningful. Either way, they aren’t the ones whose good opinion you seek; you don’t want to be like them, so why would you care what they think?

If you’re always a football of other people’s opinions – which are guaranteed to change – you’ll never get on the scoreboard! (Yeah, I use sports metaphors now – deal with it!)

I could be a sports metaphor user. I’M THE CAPTAIN NOW!

I could be a sports metaphor user. I’M THE CAPTAIN NOW!

2. You have no idea where to begin.

Then find someone who does. If you don’t know someone who has done it, Google it. LEARN HOW to ask for what you need. Make a Facebook post. Message a local filmmaker. Write a script, then find someone who can help you make it.

The Louisiana Film Prize has a directory now where you can network and find who you need to build your team.

How I did it: I saw our friends Josh & Melissa making video content online. I messaged and asked if I could be a part of it. The first time I made a video series, it was me and a rinky dink video camera with just an idea of what I wanted the final product to look like. Jacob taught himself how to edit. When we made our first short film, every single piece of equipment was borrowed, and no one was paid. Your team is out there.

3. You don’t have the time. Yes, you do.


4. You think you aren’t creative, but you are.

Everyone is. “The universe buries strange jewels deep within us all, and then stands back to see if we can find them.” (Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic.)

If you’ve ever watched a film and felt a longing to tell a story cinematically, listen to that longing. It’s your creativity speaking. Oh, but you’re a butcher? A baker? A candlestick maker? So? “I’m a butcher AND…”

Start seeing yourself as more than one thing. Because you are.

5. You don’t have the money.

Widen your definition of money. What do you do now? What do you know how to do that others don’t? Barter your skills. Just by asking and networking with people we “kind of” knew, we found people who were willing to help, and when the time came, we provided the same support for them. Money does not guarantee quality. We can all think of movies that cost millions that failed to connect. Conversely, I’ve seen iphone movies that brought me to tears. Use what and who you have now to make the film; if you wait for the perfect conditions, in a year you’ll still be that person who wants to make a movie someday. Having been on both sides of that line, I can tell you it feels much better to be a filmmaker with two imperfect movies under my belt than none. Because now I know have two movies worth of lessons to bring to my third one.

6. You don’t have a story worth telling.

(I know I said 5 but BONUS REASON! #extra #haveyoumetme). Your life experience is unlike any other. NO ONE knows your stories the way you have lived them. Pick a moment. Tell a story from that moment that is authentic and true. Write what you know. The beauty of short films is that they can be about a single moment, even if that moment is part of a larger story not told.

And remember – DONE is better than GOOD! (Elizabeth Gilbert again, ftw.)


Pro tips:

  • Read The War of Art by Stephen Pressfield and Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

  • Follow film festival accounts like @lafilmprize and creative inspirers like @pennywellcreaive as well as the people who have done what you want to do

  • Enter the Louisiana Film Prize, click here for more information.

I can’t wait to see your film!

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