Short Film Making Process, Costing & Distribution In India.

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Hello guys. Today We are discussing the process of short filmmaking, how you calculate costs & how you can sell your short film In India.

What is a short film?

Any fiction film, which is under 40 minutes is considered to be a short film. However, it is now an accepted fact that a short film is best considered a short film when it is actually short. By short I mean films under 10 – 15 minutes in duration. The shorter they are, the crispier they are considered to be.

What is the process of making a short film?

Short films are made just like any film is made? That is with conviction. 


To begin a film, you definitely need a script. Your script is usually a sum of scenarios put together in a professional way that you can share ahead with your team & actors so that they understand the story & pitch in their ideas, that can enrich the story as well.

As a filmmaker, you should always be open to feedback especially, on your script. Because if people are not understanding what they are reading, there is a huge chance that they would feel the same for your finished film as well. Also, it is a good practice to take in advice & feedback, as it will only help you improve the reach of your writing.


Based on your final script, you should definitely try & create some sample storyboards. These need not be hand drawn or digitally drawn drawings, I mean if you can do it please do it, there is nothing like it, but if you cannot, it’s best to take stock images from google & use them as a visual reference. Trust me storyboards for important scene, go a long way in achieving your desired film image, as more people are able to see your imagination in a visual format.

Team crewing

Once you have your script sorted, it is best to start putting a team around it. You cannot make a film on your own & you should not even try to. It is best to break down responsibilities & find the right people who, believe in your story & most importantly in you, your vision & talent. If your team does not believe in you, you are going to cry on the set of your film for sure.

Location recce

Perfect locations do more wonders for a film than shooting on a set. Begin your search for the right locations as soon as possible. Try to keep them close to each other, make sure there is enough parking space at each location & it has connection with public transport for crew & team to transfer.

On the day of shoot, your team is going to need space to sit, do make up & rest in between shots. If you cannot afford to have your own vanity vans, try & speak with local shop keepers & cafe owners. They may allow you to grab a table for some money exchange.


I believe how your film is going to pan out is usually decided here. Yes, casting is that important. If you are the script writer of your film, you know exactly what kind of actors you want for your film. Yes follow your intuition. It will be most probably right. Conduct auditions, discuss the role’s vision with your actors & see how well they are responding to your directions.

Responding well to director’s directions is very critical. Look for that along, check out their personalities, see if your actor has any understanding of the character, is he bringing something more on the table, something may be better than what you originally had in your mind. Appreciate it.


If you actually believe in your idea, If you actually believe that your film is unique & the story is memorable, please give your best shot while producing it. By best shot I mean, use a good camera & film in a serious aspect ratio that supports your story, use quality glass & lenses & best of the line equipment, involve professional make up work & costume designers, CGI professionals & sound engineers. Try & create a genuine cinema image. If you will not take your idea seriously, no one will.

Post production

Usually people ignore this part & take it head on when they are finally at the post production stage for their film. Trust me, that is very late. Post production is something, you should start preparing for at the pre-production level of your film. Every camera & aspect ratio requires its own clinical post production approach. If you have not prepared for proper post production or have no access to any guidance, you are going to face several issues that can delay your project by ages.

Make sure you hire a post production manager for your project beforehand so that your entire post production process which includes data management, proxy creation, editing, Color grading, VFX, sound & music are streamlined, so that you experience a hassle free & creative post production that your film deserves. 


How much does your film will cost? This question is actually the most intense one to answer. To be honest no one can give you an honest ballpark figure without reading your script & understanding your creative requirements & doing this can take a lot of professional time. Your film’s budget will get influenced by :

  1. By the number of locations you have in the script.
  2. The number of cast you have. Even if your actors come for free but still you need to feed them, provide for transport.
  3. The camera kit you decide to shoot with or in general the type & number of equipment you include in your project.
  4. Your crew size.
  5. The number of days you will shoot for.
  6. The duration of your film.

These are only a few factors that I have mentioned out of a list of many more. If your budget is less, it is understood that you keep all your requirement in the script itself to bare minimum.

It is advised to hire a producer who can provide you these whitepapers customized for your film for a consulting fees. Please understand that filmmaking is quite expensive & time consuming. The money you will put in your film will eventually show on the screen when people will watch it. If you have no money, then put as much effort as you can to achieve your film. Look for favors from friends & family. Look to raise funds. Give your best try.


Once you have finished your short film, your only goal for a period of time is to make sure that a lot of people are watching it. To be honest you will find that it was actually easier to make the film than to take it in front of the people who will actually watch it. Be open to sending your film to as many film festivals as possibly you can send to.

Do your research on each film festival & apply in the right competitions, somewhere films like yours have been previously previewed. Most good film festivals will ask for a submission fees when you apply. Make sure you have budgeted for the same as well. If you send your film to 50 festivals, you may get selected in 5 or even 10. That is the ratio, unless you are a genius.

Let your films move around the festival circuit for a year. The more awards it wins, the more chance it has to get distributed well. Take your films to distributors like Shorted, mx player & etc. Make a professional trailer & a professional film & the world will take your work seriously. There is no shortcut here.

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