The Benefits of Making a Short Film First.

So we have ideas for stories, we have ideas for scenes, we may even have ideas for series and feature films, but why work on an idea for a short film?

What benefit is there for a filmmaker to make a short film?

Making a good short film is a very important skill to learn.  It’s like making a good feature, only cheaper, less hassle and it takes a lot less time.

This may seem like an obvious point to make and maybe it is a bit, but it’s one worth reminding ourselves of.  The skills you use to make a short are exactly the same ones you will use to make your feature.  Developing the idea, writing the script, finding locations, casting, raising money and budgeting, hiring crew, scheduling, feeding everyone, and post production, distribution and marketing.

We all need flex our filmmaking muscles, we all need to become better and better at everything we do and there’s no smarter way to do that than to actually make something.  Making a short film is a less pressured way to make all your inevitable mistakes and to learn from them. We’ve all seen major studio movies with huge budgets and massive marketing that are rubbish…the latest X-men movie comes to mind, you know, the one the director is actually apologizing for.  It seems like a better idea to make a bad, cheap, short film than a bad 300 million dollar studio film…unless you are a white guy under 40, then it will probably get you a three picture deal!

If you can make an entertaining, well-balanced, well-shot,  interesting short film with little to no money, then you can make a feature.

I’m in pre-production right now on my first feature with a tentative shooting date of the end of January 2020. After producing more than 60 short films, writing and directing more than 25 of them, I think it’s time to take the leap and just get on with it.  I have my script, I have my locations and some of my crew and cast already. Now I need to continue casting and organizing and making it happen.

But I never would have got here without all those shorts…never in a million years.  Especially because I fund everything myself.  These days it’s much easier to do that of course, with digital and such fantastic and way cheaper equipment in general.  But think of what’s more important than stuff is story and style and a ferocious energy to do it.  Again, I would have none of this without shorts and I certainly wouldn’t have the confidence…the ovarian balls – the “ballvaries” to do it.

Shorts made me a filmmaker.

Shorts proved to myself that I am a good writer, a good director, and a pretty damn good producer willing to do just about anything to get the film made.

I urge you to make many, many short films.  Develop yourself as a filmmaker.  Learn exactly what you are good at.  Find your cinematic voice and keep doing it until you are so confident you will be dying to make your feature.  I know I am!!

Samantha Simmonds-Ronceros
Author: Samantha Simmonds-Ronceros

Samantha Simmonds-Ronceros is a British writer and filmmaker living In Los Angeles.