Short Film Scripts For Students

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. QUESTION:
    Does anyone have any short film comedy ideas or scripts?
    Does anyone have any short film comedy ideas or scripts?
    Me and some guys need to make a short comedic film for a high school film fest. It should be like 5 to 10 minutes. If it could be a high-school related story it would be great. I would give you credit.

    • ANSWER:
      Just make up your own idea. I write plenty of scripts, and most of them are based on the trouble me and my friends get into. One thing I did when writing a short film script when I had a writer's block was ask my self a question like, "what would my friends and I do if a really attractive foreign exchange student from France came to our school for only two weeks and we all wanted to date him?" Or whatever works for you, good luck on the test.

  2. QUESTION:
    What Short film ideas do you guys have?
    I'm starting out to make a short film script. I am not yet a film student, but it would be nice to start out one.. Any ideas or tips will be much appreciated. :)

    • ANSWER:
      Depends what you wanna do.

      What's the type of short you're doing?

  3. QUESTION:
    Question about making a short film with a copyrighted script?
    During the summer I would like to start making short films, mostly because I want to have some experience at it. I was just wondering if I could make a short film out of a copyrighted movie script (Scream 4) and just tweak the script up a little (Change character genders,names etc). The movie would just be made for fun and for my own experience, no money making or anything. Would I get in trouble for doing this?
    By the way, I'm 17

    • ANSWER:
      Well, because every movie at the start says; COPYRIGHT. and has that annoying blue screen saying' "Don't even think about ripping this off," i would be careful. but because you are doing it for experience, you could get away with it, because of a thing called "Educational Copyright" i think that's what it's called but it's a thing where students are protected by school, to use songs, movies, anything with a copyright, and not get in trouble because it is for education. so if you ARE using it for school, you will be fine, the big bad government can't touch you. but if it's not for education, you will still be fine, as long as you ether give the real movie credit, or you call it something else. they have no right to call you on something if you don't use the name, or you give credit. and as long as you don't make money, or sell it, you are really doing nothing that can put you in jail. but i would really call it something other then Scream 4. i would call it, i don't know, screech 4, or something, just in case you do get into trouble, which unless you sell, or don't give credit, i really don't think you will go to jail, or get in any other trouble.

  4. QUESTION:
    How do I find out about short films? I'm an actor and I don't know where to start!?
    I want to act in short films but don't know where to start. I live in London and i'm 16. Please help...10 points for best answer! Thanks

    • ANSWER:
      Hi - they are advertised on websites like CastingCall, StarNow, Spotlight, that sort of thing. But you should be careful what you apply for - make sure they sound professional, and when you go for the auditions, take someone with you. Some are cons, and they really want strippers, waiters, pole dancers or porn actors, but you wouldn't find out until you got there!
      If they are genuine, they will send you a script if they are interested in you, and then invite you for audition. Read the script thoroughly and if it's poorly written, full of spelling mistakes, ghastly sentences, weak characters or really bad content, you should refuse it and tell them why. Loads of these are student films, and some are so bad it wold kill your future career if you were ever seen acting in them!
      Some are really good, but there will be loads of other actors all competing for the role, so make sure you're ready. You should have had a good training at drama school and experience on stage at the very least. They are not easy to get into, even though they are short or student films, and don't expect any pay - if you're lucky you might get travel expenses.
      However, they are great experience, and some might even get you noticed. They also provide great material for showreels.
      Good luck.

  5. QUESTION:
    How does it work when an actor is represented and you you're a newbie with just a decent camera?
    I'm trying to make my first short film. I posted a casting call. I got mainly students, and I also got a few actors who have an agency. What does that mean for me? As all I have is a camera, a good script. There's no money involved. As I have none. Can someone tell me what that will mean if I do decide to work with her or him?

    • ANSWER:
      You have to go through the agency for those actors, you cannot deal with them directly.
      Since you have no money, the agencies will not let the actors work for you.
      Stick to the students, and get them to sign model releases clearly stating that they are not getting paid now, or EVER, regardless what you do with the film.

      Best of success.
      ~Moz

  6. QUESTION:
    How to make a short film with zero budget.?
    I am a high school student and I would like to make a 5 minute film. I would like to know some techniques that may help me, or a website I could go to. I have a digital camera and a tripod. That is it. I know that I can make a good short film, but all I need is some advice.

    • ANSWER:
      1. Choose your equipment, something that can record video. There are many choices. This process might take months or even years, but you have to keep looking. Make sure your video recorder works with your VCR or editing equipment.
      2. Learn a few features, and review how your recording device works. Learn how to start and stop recording, fast forward, rewind, playback, and anything else you might need. Save the special effects for your second or third project.
      3. Choose a subject -- what you want to make a film about. Remember, you'll need to complete the project. Think about who, what, and where you'll shoot. Form a basic idea for a story and if you're having trouble, read short stories for inspiration.
      4. Type out a script. Make sure to develop your characters with different personalities; your movie won't be interesting if everyone acts and talks the same.
      5. Draw out a storyboard, illustrating the shots you plan to use. Don't worry about following the storyboard perfectly. It's just a good idea to get your thoughts on paper and a great way to see if you can communicate an idea "visually" rather than needing the actors to verbally communicate the concept. The viewer is watching first and listening second.
      6. Find people who aren't busy and are willing to work hard on your film. Provide food for your crew. They'll appreciate it and be able to hang around longer.
      7. Shoot your footage. If you want to highlight your pet, you can shoot video of your pet eating, sleeping and playing and perhaps put it to music.
      8. Edit your film. Many cameras edit in limited ways and some have special effects. Learn how to "cut" pieces of your footage together and put music or speech over your video. Check your camera's manual or use a software package like iMovie to make your final cuts.
      9. One way is to use your VCR or DVD burner to make copies for friends and auditions. If your film is digital, you can also output your final edit to a readable format to send via email. Also if your film is in digital format you can upload to YouTube or another video sharing site. Check up with the website's video formats to see if you can upload your movie.

  7. QUESTION:
    What can you do while being high to loose a girlfriend.?
    Basically, I need help writing a script for a short film that I am going to be shooting soon.

    Part of it calls for a high school student, who is a drug addict, to do something while being high that would make his girlfriend break up with him.

    I am on a sort of a writer's block here since I've never done drugs and don't really have any crazy experiences from being high.
    The drug will probably something along the lines of a pill, cause if I showed someone smoking weed i wouldn't be able to put it some school-friendly film-fests.
    Just breaking up with someone for doing drugs would NOT make compelling entertainment - there has to be a certain event that makes the girl do it.
    THIS ADDRESSES EVERYBODY WHO ANSWERED THIS QUESTION: I AM NOT SHOOTING A PORNO, i want it to be borderline pg13. I dont want to have any rape or especially gay sex in the film

    • ANSWER:
      Cheating on her, being obnoxious around her friends and/or family, hitting her, not showing up to an important event for her I.e birthday party, etc., treating her badly in front of people, stealing from her to buy drugs, breaking something that was important to her. etc etc

  8. QUESTION:
    I want to shoot a realistic fight secne?
    I'm a senior high school student and I love films. I mostly write scripts but this time apart from that im also directing and starring in a short film.In this film I want to have a fight scene between me and the "bad" guy. Changing angles and putting the correct music score will be enough to make it vivid or do you have any extra tips that would make more realistic? Feel free to advise on anything from the camera to the characters movement. Thank you in advance.

    • ANSWER:
      Here are some fun ideas where nobody gets hurt…

      1) Film only the feet scuffling on the ground. It gives the illusion of struggling.

      2) Film the “good guy” head on with shoulders squared. He draws his fist back and throws a punch at the camera. (Actually, to the left of the camera).
      Cut to: an empty frame, camera pointing towards the ground. The “bad guy” who got punched falls into frame onto the ground with a bloody lip.

      3) The camera is behind the bad guy. Bad guy throws punch and misses. Good guy grabs his shoulder with left hand and punches bad guy in the gut several times. You can’t see the punch but it looks real enough.

      4) Good guy puts his fist on the face of the bad guy and quickly draws it away. Run the video in reverse. If needed, run it at 2x the speed. It looks like the bad guy really got hit.

      Have fun!

  9. QUESTION:
    How can I film in/fake a courtroom for a student film?
    I'm working on a short film that I need to make as part of my applications to art colleges and my script contains a courtroom scene. The problem is, I have no idea how I can get a hold of a court room. Any ideas on how to either actually do this or fake it? I've considered green screening it, but I'm having trouble finding the right angles I'd need in online photos of courtrooms.

    • ANSWER:
      Go to your local county court and ask them if you can reserve a court room on the weekend, or sometime in the evening. It may cost you a small fee to rent out the room, but usually it is free. I used to do this when I coached my mock trial kids, and never had a problem.

  10. QUESTION:
    How can I film in/ fake a courtroom for a student film?
    I'm working on a short film that I need to make as part of my applications to art colleges and my script contains a courtroom scene. The problem is, I have no idea how I can get a hold of a court room. Any ideas on how to either actually do this or fake it? I've considered green screening it, but I'm having trouble finding the right angles I'd need in online photos of courtrooms.

    • ANSWER:
      Contact your local theatre (or sometimes a school will have a good drama unit) and ask if they have any scenery flats or furniture. tell them what it is for and that you need it in order to progress and they may be able to help? Also, go to a courtroom, have a real good look at it and ask yourself if it reminds you of anything else that you may be more easily able to utilise, a church say or a village hall perhaps? Near me in Marlborough is an old Masonic hall that would pass for this so keep your eyes open, think creative and you may find it right under your nose?
      Lastly, does it have to actually `look` like a courtroom in a modern city? Old Eastern block, archaic rural community or Congolese, Arab or South sea island courtroom drama's might have a whole different space to represent? If they have asked you to do this as a `brief` for film school then don't fall into the trap of thinking of the first set of images that come into your head as they, the academic body, might want to see how you cope with thinking `outside the box` perhaps? (unless the brief is very specific) If your local courthouse wont let you film in there then try a local lawyer who might have influence and who might ask you to return the favour when you are famous???
      Stephen Hope this helps

  11. QUESTION:
    How can I improve my work ethic with my filmmaking?
    I'm a film student and make short films but my movies are getting worse and Im not improving as a filmmaker and Im getting worse... I got lazy and my pre-production on my last movie was horrible and the actors didn't know there lines and my shots weren't planned out and the movie was a train wreck... How can I be a better Filmmaker?

    • ANSWER:
      How can you be a better filmmaker? Keep doing what you're doing!

      Look, it's very important for you to understand that you are learning something from every experience. In fact, people tend to learn more from "negative" experiences than from positive. If everything always went the way you wanted them to, how would you ever progress as a filmmaker and as a person?

      People who haven't failed, aren't pushing themselves hard enough. Just saying that you're "getting worse" means that you're still out there trying and THAT alone means that you're doing better than the majority of people out there who only SAY they want to do something. Actually DOING it is a success in and of itself.

      So, keep making movies, but if you find that you're not advancing your skills in some way, here is my very sincere suggestion. Push yourself to do a larger project. I don't know what you've done so far, but instead of repeating yourself, put the camera down for a while and invest a lot more time into writing a longer form script. Write a feature length story that is A) produce-able within your capabilities and B) has potential to get noticed at a festival or bought at AFM or Cannes Film Market.

      To help you do this successfully, you NEED to learn everything you can about how the professionals make movies. What I'm getting at here is that if you want to become a successful professional Director, then embrace the specialization working protocol of "Hollywood" and bring on people who can help you. Find an experienced Cameraman who wants to shoot your movie. Find a Producer who will help you with the logistics. Find experienced Actors who are looking to expand their own careers with a promising project. Fill out your crew with people who are excited about working on a movie... YOUR movie.

      I've listed a few resources below that will definitely help you. There are a lot of different books and resources out there that claim to be helpful, but most are just out to sell dreams to gullible naive aspiring filmmakers. But there are a few honest resources out there that will actually help you to create the career and life you really want. In addition to those listed below, be sure to check out the "Resources" page at http://www.whatireallywanttodo.com for countless other websites and job-specific books that may be able to guide you for future projects.

      Creating success takes enthusiasm, perseverance, and passion and you seem to have all of that. So keep at it. You're learning from everything you do so don't let it discourage you. Just keep moving forward and you'll get there. Good luck!

      Brian Dzyak
      Cameraman/Author
      IATSE Local 600, SOC
      http://www.whatireallywanttodo.com

  12. QUESTION:
    Do actors prefer cold readings or prepared monologues at casting calls?
    Hello. I am a student filmmaker holding a casting call next week for a short film. I am trying decide whether to ask the actors to do a cold read or the script or to come with a prepared short monologue-or both.
    Is there one of these options that is best for the actor? Does anyone have experience with what works best to see the actors abilities?
    Thanks!

    • ANSWER:
      I dont have experience as an actor but I would point you in the direction of diversity. do both that way you can gauge different aspects of who they are and how they preform. you don't want to restrict them to one option or the other.

  13. QUESTION:
    What is the craziest thing you did/ have done as a student?
    I'm in the early stages of writing a script for a short docu-film based on student life. I want to know the crazy experiences which students have gotten up to! Preferably sober experiences but I'd take drunken ones too! So.... what is the craziest thing you did as a student? Still a student? What is the most insane thing you have ever done!

    • ANSWER:
      When I was younger, I threw my binder over the stairs. It barely missed the teacher walking below and I got in trouble. Another is when a teacher randomly said, "Guess what." one day. I said, "You're pregnant?" Not really that bad, but those are the craziest things I've done...

  14. QUESTION:
    How do you go about directing a film when you're an amateur?
    I haven't directed a film, nor attended film school. I've directed multiple animated shorts and I've written several short films but never have I directed a film and I'm still only 18.

    Would actors respect a short 18 year old baby faced man that wants to hire some actors (cheap) for a no budget film but I expect that it WILL attract attention because in my opinion the script is brilliant.

    But how do you go about attracting actors or even amateur actors? I mean everyone has to start somewhere

    • ANSWER:
      I'm 22, so it's been a few years since high school. I took a film class, so I know what "amateur" is like, believe me. Really, though, it's not about professionalism. I should know, because some of the students actually won in the local film festival, and they weren't professional. My advice: get some close friends together, then practice, practice, and practice some more. Also, why not try to practice in front of an audience? Your parents are nice to practice in front of, but why not try it in front of, say, a teacher? A teacher would be a bit more of a tougher critique then your parents would be. And, most of all, as I'm sure you know from your animated shorts, you have to accept criticism with your head held high. Don't look at it as something to tear you down, but rather to build you up. Everyone has to start somewhere, right? So start off with your friends and maybe family.

  15. QUESTION:
    can you give me an idea for a short film?
    I'm filming a short film with some friends over the end of December. We are film students! We have a lot of locations and a really high quality camera :) can you give me an idea to start with so I can write a script?

    • ANSWER:
      Write what you know about. Write about your town.

  16. QUESTION:
    How do you begin an acting career?
    I've really gotten into acting over the last few years and I've been often told that I'm good and that I should keep it up and I'd like to make a career out of it but I don't really know how. But I've been often told that acting is a tough and competitive business to break into. But I'm willing to do whatever it takes because acting is my passion. Like I've been attending an acting school for the last few years, I'm part of the drama society in my college, been going to as many auditions as I can and I've acted in a number of productions and done a few monologues and I acted in a short film. But I often feel like this is not enough. Like I don't know how to get an agent. Or should I move to somewhere like London or New York or Los Angelos where all the big casting directors are.

    • ANSWER:
      Before moving you really should research the business end of things so you know how things work. It's great that you enjoy acting, and you can always do that. But professional acting is a business. You're not going to be "discovered" by some big casting director. That's not how the industry works. It's more like starting a business and YOU are the product you have to market and sell. No one is going to give you an acting career. And there are a lot of scams and ripoffs out there. So start reading the industry trades like Variety or Backstage and check out industry websites (like backstage.com). Read books about how to have a professional acting career. Then do some self examination and make sure this is something that you really want to do.

      SOME of what you'll need for a professional acting career:

      * Talent.

      * Acting training. Voice lessons and dance lessons can be helpful too.

      * Experience. Continue to audition for what you can.

      * Marketing Materials: Professional head shot, acting resume, and an acting reel (video of your on-screen work if you're interested in film/tv) some actors even maintain a website and a presence on social media websites.

      * A licensed talent agent. You get an agent by convincing one that you have the talent, training, experience and commitment to book professional jobs. Agents are paid on commission (never pay an agent up front). Since they're paid only if their clients are paid, they are picky about who they take on as clients. The best way to get an agent is through networking. Sometimes if you attend a well respected acting program they will attract talent agents to their showcases where students perform. Another way is by making a list of potential agents, research to make sure they're legitimate and how they want submissions, then submit your head shot and resume to them blindly. If they're interested, they'll contact you. If you don't hear anything, they're not interested in you at this time.

      * Several well-developed monologues for auditions. Read plays and scripts - all kinds - and keep an eye for characters and monologues you want to develop.

      * Great auditioning skills. Talent agents get you auditions - it's up to you to book the job.

      * To be a member of an actor's union (SAG-AFTRA for screens or AEA for stage) or at least an understanding of how unions work.

      * An understanding of the business end of acting. You're going to have to research to understand the casting process, who the players are, what they do (and don't do), industry contracts, and other things. So read the industry trades. Check out industry websites. Read books about managing an acting career.Books that might help: "Self Management for Actors" by Bonnie Gillespie "Acting Make It Your Business" by Paul Russell's and "Acting as a Business" by Brian O'Neil.

      * A good network of connections in the industry. Build a reputation where you are locally as a strong, talented actor and hopefully you can start to make connections in the industry in other larger markets before you move. Taking off for LA or NYC and expecting to just get an agent is sort of like buying one lottery ticket and expecting to win a million dollars.

      * A strong foundation and healthy ways to cope with the stress of trying to work professionally. You need to be able to handle rejection, competition and instability. You'll be rejected far more than you'll be accepted. There's a lot of judgment during audition including your looks, you need to be comfortable with yourself and your looks and not get obsessed with your appearance. Professional acting is EXTREMELY competitive. There just isn't enough work for everyone.

      * A way to support yourself. Every acting job you get is temporary, so you always have to be concerned about when/if you'll get another job. Most professional actors don't support themselves by acting alone. So you probably won't get paid anything at all when you first start off.

      Good luck.

  17. QUESTION:
    How can you find student films/short film auditions?
    Instead of using community theater and school plays to build my resume i wanted to do student films/short films/indie films, etc. i was wondering WHERE i could find these auditions? I know www.actorsaccess.com is one but you have to pay to audition for those and usually they are quite far away. I was looking for local ones for colleges near you,

    If you could give me any tips on the actual audition and tell me HOW AND WHERE to sign up that would be great :) thanks so much! And i will give the 10 pts for best answer as fast as possible 😀

    • ANSWER:
      You don't 'sign up' to anything. You'd just contact the film-making department of nearby universities and submit your resume and headshot, and a covering letter asking if they'd like to consider auditioning you should the opportunity arise.
      But doing short/student films is NOT an alternative to doing theatre. You need to have lots of experience in both.
      Uni students make these films to get a degree - they're important. They usually only accept newly graduated drama students, or equally well-trained and very experienced actors. My daughter has done a few student films, and she had to audition and compete for the roles just as you would for a professional production. The ones she won, she was up against at least 10 other actors, and all of them were drama school graduates. The auditions were much the same as any - a couple of monologues, two songs, a duologue with another actor of the section of the script they'd sent her, and a cold-reading of another part of the script.

      Other short or indie films are only advertised on websites such as actorsaccess or spotlight - they only want the sort of actor who is prepared to pay for subscriptions. You don't pay to hear about just one audition - you pay to become a member of the site and find lots of auditions.
      Yes, it's expensive, but being an actor usually involves paying out a lot more than you'll ever earn!

  18. QUESTION:
    What do I need in order to shoot a short film, on a budget?
    I'm a college student and am interested in shooting a short film. I want to start by organizing a list of EVERYTHING that I need in order to execute a short that isn't horrible. Any suggestions would be incredibly helpful.

    i.e.: Free public locations in Orange County;what kind of camera; lighting;job responsibilities;copyrighted music, etc.

    • ANSWER:
      In my experience as a film student you can have the best camera, crew, locations and equipment there is...but unless you have a good script it will suck. Script is the ONLY thing required to make a 'good' short film. Money and equipment don't come into the equation. However, if you're seriously in the market for equipment I would advise recording onto Mini DV as this is the best quality. There are currently high definition camcorders in circulation that use Mini DV (I use the Sony HDR-HC9). I'm not sure about your level of experience, but if you really want a 'Film' look and think you have the skills, hire the Red One camera for about 00 a day (this price may have gone down since last year).I live in Australia so I can't tell you where to hire though. Find a place that hires out equipment and get your lighting from there! DO NOT BUY YOUR OWN LIGHTS!!! Waste of money. You might even get away with natural lighting, I've done it many times. First step in acquiring crew is beg all your friends and family to work for free. The less money you spend the better. As for music, pretty much the only un-copyrighted material worth using is classical music. I tend to ask my music loving friends to score my films, but your choice.
      Just remember, story and script before 'lights, camera, action'!

  19. QUESTION:
    How can I have my film made?
    I want to find someone in Melbourne to make my short film. I have a script I just don't know what to do next. Any suggestions?

    • ANSWER:
      Go to this link, then on the upper left you should find a link that says "post ad" or something like it. You can choose which category, I'd suggest "gigs", or "tv/film/video". you can let people know what you're doing, let them know if you're paying them or not, or if they just get their name in the credits. You can get a crew for everything you need. If you have no budget, probably mention that it's a good project for film or video students. Hope that helps.

      http://melbourne.craigslist.com.au/

  20. QUESTION:
    What college courses should I take if I want to study Film Production at university?
    UK college courses. I'm thinking about doing something to do with film making as a career and I'm not sure what I would need to study for it.

    • ANSWER:
      you will need a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Film, and to get that you will Bachelor's degree programs in film include classes in film history, film development, screenwriting, acting and production. Many film studies programs offer directing concentrations, which help students develop skills such as casting, rehearsal procedures, text analysis, acting technique for film and camera application. Students also learn how to create and use storyboards, shooting scripts and brackets. Students are typically required to participate in a predetermined number of student films as part of their coursework. Most film schools strongly encourage internships within the film industry in order to develop technical skills, understand the ins-and-outs of film production and develop professional contacts.

      or you can go further and get a Master of Fine Arts in Film, and you will need to have Master of Fine Arts in Film degree programs help filmmakers develop their own voices as directors. MFA in film programs emphasize theme development, advanced cinematography, film theory and history and film editing. Directing programs often focus on management skills because directors are responsible for overseeing large amounts of people across many different areas of film production. Most master's degree programs require the development of a thesis, typically in the form of a short film, as well as the development of a professional portfolio.

      but mostly you need ambition, motivation, imagination and creative arts might help. good luck and you just really need to see the vision to succeed.

  21. QUESTION:
    How do I go about getting my script turned into a movie?
    I'm currently writing a script, I think it'll turn out pretty good but I don't have many connections how can I go about getting my script read by the right people?

    • ANSWER:
      Is it a feature? Getting funded for that can be very tricky if you don't have any connections in the industry.

      I would advise you to write a screenplay for a short film first and maybe you could go to your local arts centre and find some amateur or budding filmmakers there? Or newly graduated film students? Go to festivals and meet people there or try film networking websites.

      Good Luck.

  22. QUESTION:
    I want to become a writer more than anything but I just don't know where to start?
    recently I've been thinking more about what I want to do with my life the shortcome of that is I want to write film script and even produce the film if i can but I just don't know where to start story wise?

    I don't have the money to buy all the software needed but I know I have some good ideas floating about inside I just dont know how to unlock them?

    is there any advice other writers can give on how to get started or even about how I can get my foot in the door writing for someone else?

    • ANSWER:
      Celtx is a great free screenplay writing software. I would start out writing short films and finding people to produce them such as college students. You can also get involved with writing competitions like the 48 hour film festival. Short films are a great way to start and get exposure. Write for others and become part of a team. Making connections is the best way to eventually sell that screenplay.

  23. QUESTION:
    For an open casting call for a short student film, do I need to have a monologue memorized?
    Or are they just gonna give me the script and have me recite some lines from it on the spot?

    • ANSWER:
      Even student films like to use well-trained and experienced actors - not beginners. Their films are important to their degrees, so they won't want a beginner messing it up!
      All actors and student actors always have lots of monologues memorised and rehearsed so they can perform any of them with a few seconds' notice.
      And they've also learnt how to memorise very quickly - so if they give you a few pages of a script, you should be able to memorise it in maybe half an hour, along with your cues, gestures, movements, entrances and exits.
      Or they may ask you to cold-read - just take the script an immediately perform it while reading it.

  24. QUESTION:
    how do i get accepted to UCLA Film school?
    my future goal is to get an MFA Directing and Producing. Basically I want to go to UCLA after high-school. So yeah I want to become a filmmaker. Well I've been making short films and scripts, for god sakes I'm 16 and I run my own business as a photographer and videographer for weddings and special occasions. I'm also an A or B student in high-school. So what should I do to get into UCLA.

    • ANSWER:
      You need to have a REALLY great gpa first off. Along with taking AP classes. Get involved right now in school, and stay involve throughout your senior year. Try and hold some leadership positions, colleges like to see that. Take some art classes or anything that would help you with your major. And test scores are really important, so make sure you do well on the SATs etc. And lastly would be to write a REALLY great personal statement when you apply. These are very important, and good make or break your chances of getting into the school. Here are some stats from 2007 for entering freshmen to UCLA http://statfinder.ucop.edu/statfinder/drawtable.aspx?track=1

      Also, you didn't mention if you are an out of state student or not. This is very important also, because UCs normally favor students in CA. So if you are out-of-state, your chances decrease more then they would if you were in state. Good luck! =D

  25. QUESTION:
    How does one go about getting financing to make an independent film?
    I have written a script and I don't have the funds to make it myself, so how do I go about getting someone to fund the project? I was told by a film student to just try to get someone to fund it, but how do I find someone or a company who'll want to fund a film? It's a drama, and I already have a few of the actors, so the budget won't be huge, especially if some will work on deferred payment.

    • ANSWER:
      I hope this will help you.

      First off I will tell you this, that once you sell your script or give it to a director, it is no longer yours. If you have a certain vision for the film, you will need to direct it ! On to the meat of
      it.

      If you are looking for funding, there are several ways to go about doing so.

      First is to figure out how much you are going to need total, and if it is a short film or a feature length. This is includes equipment (renting or buying), feeding your cast, cast costs, location cost, consumables (gaffer tape, camera film/tape, lightbulbs etc.), costuming, effects both CGI and physical application, stunts, and the list goes on.

      Once you have your budget drawn up, I suggest you ask your relatives. I know it sounds bad, however if you express to them that this is your passion and career goals. It will also help out your portfolio for professional or film school reasons,they may be more inclined to help fund it.
      Go to your local Film commission (if there is one where you live) and present your project to them. Film commissions are designed to help you find locations, cast, crew and other industry professionals. They can also point you to local businesses who have expressed interest for people to come film. That is where you can barter for locations i.e you let us film here from x date to date for x hours or days, and your business will get screen time for x amount of time and listed in the credits.

      The best way to show people that you are serious about shooting your film, is to create a teaser, a one sheet, a synopsys and a budget with a make shift business plan.

      I hope some of this has helped you out. If you need more information there are several books that go more into detail about film funding that explain better than here.

  26. QUESTION:
    Really need someone to tell me about filming a short film? Beginner. First timer here?
    Really need someone to tell me about filming a short film? Beginner. First timer here?
    Im not a film student or nothing. I love watching student films and short films. It hit me, that i would love to do one in my neighborhood. Showing how it is growing up in the "tough streets" my friends and i really want to get started. We trying to find out what equipment we need, cameras, microphones, evrything their is to know to create a good short film. We are under a budget. Now im not expecting to make an official short film. Something decent to start off, with quality. I want someone to open up my eyes and tell me everything their is to know to make this happen.

    • ANSWER:
      First you need a good script.

      Then you need to break the script down into a shooting script.

      From there, you will be able to decide what lighting and lenses you will need to shoot the raw footage.

      If you need actors, you will have to supply them with their dialog and rehearse their scenes a few times before you start shooting the video.

      You may want to put together a team that have special skills like lighting, stage building, a sound person, a continuity person and a good video editor.

      The equipment you need will not just include a video camera and fluid head on the tripod, but a super fast computer and a good video editing program.

      Shooting a film or a video requires a team effort, so choose your team wisely.

      Once you have your shooting script, spend some time looking for the locations that will best suit the script.

      Many film makers spend from four to five years in film school, so for you to expect someone to "open up my eyes and tell me everything their is to know to make this happen" will not happen on this forum.

      Get hold of a book called the Five C's of Cinematography as a starting point.

  27. QUESTION:
    How to become a film director?
    I have no idea what course will I take in college (and school) if I want to be a director for films and movies. Is it expensive to enroll in a filmmaking school? How many years will it take?

    • ANSWER:
      Oh man, could I give you an earful. But I'll make it short.

      I put my ex-husband through 5 years of undergrad work in film and theater, and then 4 years of graduate studies to get his MFA in Film Production through UCLA.

      He now owes 0K just for the UCLA experience and works at FRICKING BARNES AND NOBLE because he won't do anything else if he can't be a director (but I digress).

      What I learned from being around film students, film moguls, actors, writers, directors, and everyone else I hung out with for 4 years in LA... having a degree in film doesn't mean s**t. You have to have a product that someone likes. Many directors start as writers and get to direct their own work... in fact, for new directors that's almost the ONLY way you're going to get in.

      So, write a spec script and get it out there. Or, make an inventive short film and get it into festivals and posted on web sites. Keep working and trying new things. Don't forget television, lots of people got started that way and made their way into film. GOOD LUCK!

  28. QUESTION:
    Is there a way where I can pay for a short film to be produced for me ?
    Hello,

    I want to make a short film, I have the ideas but I do not know how to produce one, is there a way like a website that can do that for me ? & Does it cost a lot ?

    Thank you

    • ANSWER:
      There are companies who do this, but they'd expect you to give them a really professionally-written script to check out first. They wouldn't get involved in anything that was amateur-looking or badly-written.
      They would, of course discuss your thoughts on the production, but they'd provide their own director, actors, camera-operators, sound technicians, etc, and make all of the decisions as necessary.

      It can't be done on a website - you'd need personal contact. And of course, it would cost a lot of money. You'd need to pay the salaries of all those employed and whatever charges the film company make. At a guess, I'd say if you needed six actors, and all those techies, and a director, you'd be looking at a minimum of ,000 (£45,000) for their pay alone, not counting the company fee, for a month's filming.

      You'd do better to get on a university film-making course and as part of that, you'd get to make a film with the other students, having first learnt all the processes. Then you'd really know what you were doing! The best films made also get entered into national competitions.
      Good luck!

  29. QUESTION:
    Regarding a high school students choice of a career in film, please read details?
    Hello, I am a high school, and for a career choice I really want to be a film maker. My grades arn't exquisite, although I am still passing. My strongest subject is English, if that helps any.
    I am in grade eleven, and I live in central Queensland, Australia, were there is basically only construction and beauty styled career paths.
    I was wondering, perhaps, if any of you may be able to give me some or something on how I should go about becoming a filmmaker. Should I go to some sort of film school or...?

    Thank you for your time.

    • ANSWER:
      Film makers make film.

      So grab a camera, doesn't need to be the latest and greatest, it can be whatever you can get your hands on and start making short films.

      Try for five minutes, then have a go at ten minutes and so on and so forth.

      Most PCs come with some sort of basic editing software, Macs are even better. Learn the basics of editing, build your skill set. Enter into film festivals, have fun with it. That's the important part, if it's not fun why bother?.

      Use your friends, use whoever you can but tell stories.

      Grab a few scripts online to see how this stuff goes on the page and download Celtx to give you a free formatting program for screenwriting.

      Find a copy of El Mariachi on DVD. Robert Rodriguez has a ten minute film school in the extras that will inspire you. Pick up a copy of his book, Rebel without a crew for further inspiration.

      But seriously, just make films. People will think you're mad, hell, they'll tell you to your face your mad but keep going anyway.

      It's not an easy road to walk but it has its moments.

  30. QUESTION:
    What would be a good video camera and software for my movie?
    I finished my script and have had it copyrighted and writer's guild approved and now I need to get a camera and some good production software. What would you suggest because I have about 00 dollar budget but don't know what to get.

    • ANSWER:
      Camera:
      Canon HV30 0
      It's the only camcorder I'd recommend under ,000. It's an HDV camcorder, which means it records to miniDV cassette tapes which go for about a piece. Don't let anyone tell you any different: HDV is sooo much better than Hard Drive, miniDVD, or SD card camcorders:
      -easier to store: miniDV is cheap
      -best quality: least compression
      -miniDV is compatible with virtually any NLE system

      Regarding the HV30: the Canon HV30 has excellent picture quality. It produces extremely sharp HD footage. It also has excellent color saturation on it's suprisingly impressive single 1/2.7" CMOS chip. It also has an excellent automatic mode, meaning it's super easy to use. I'm more of a manual guy myself, but I shoot with the HV30 in auto because it's so good; it has the fastest autofocus I have ever seen.
      http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/539289-REG/Canon_2680B001_VIXIA_HV30_HDV_Camcorder.html
      It also has a 24p mode, which is excellent for movies, short films and documentaries. 24p makes your digital video look more like celluloid film. It's not perfect, but still.

      Several problems with the HV30:
      it's a consumer camera so it's manual controls suck, but it's good enough to keep in auto. All it's manual functions are hidden in its menu, except for focus, which merits a flimsy focus dial near the lens.

      Software: the best is Avid Media Composer, but it only works on Macs and very powerful PCs. Next best is Final Cut Studio, but it only works on Macs. Final Cut Studio (FCS) is actually my favorite cuz it comes with Final Cut Pro (for editing), Soundtrack Pro (for music composing) Color (for color correction) Motion (for 3D effects) Compresser (for professional compression) and DVD Studio Pro (for making DVDs). Next best is Adobe Premiere Pro.

      The problem is, Adobe, Avid and FCS are extremely expensive. However, if you are a student, or know a student you could use, you could get them for huge discounts!!!
      AVID MEDIA COMPOSER 5 (regular price:,500)
      FINAL CUT STUDIO 0 (regular price ,200)
      ADOBE PREMIERE PRO 0 (regular price 0)
      http://journeyed.com/home.asp
      http://store.apple.com/us/browse/home/education_routing/

      Both Avid and FCS have pretty hefty computer requirements, but Adobe is pretty lax. I have a PC with 1GHz processor and 1GB RAM, and Adobe Premiere Pro CS3 worked fine (but I wasn't editing HD)

      Assuming you get a 0 camcorder and a 0 program, you have about 0 to spend on accessories. Here are some things you may need to make your movie:
      1) Microphone: probably a shotgun: RODE VideoMic 0 http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/363083-REG/Rode_VIDEOMIC_VideoMic_Camera_Mounted.html
      2) Lighting Equipment: don't spend ,000 on a light kit. Just get a high wattage lamp at Home Depot or something.Two or Three 200W lights should be fine.
      3) Tripod: don't get anything fancy. Just get something to hold up the camera. Getting a nice tripod will only encourage you to keep in on the tripod for the whole movie= boring. Take it off the tripod. Borrow a Wheelchair and use it as a dolly!

      That should be under ,000. So, anyways, I hope that helps, and happy moviemaking!

      PS: for your added moviemaking pleasure:
      http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=ten+minute+film+school&search_type=&aq=f

  31. QUESTION:
    Any film producer interested in working on a short film project?
    Hi, I am a NYFA student, currently taking a semester off. I've been working on a script and looking for a producer. I need all the help I can get from Cast, Crew and equipment.

    Limited to Boston, Massachusetts.

    • ANSWER:
      Fuck that shit this is what you do because this is how my cousin got a very famous producer to help finance and produce his films....

      You walk into the office of say for instance, James Cameron.. You fucking barge into his office (ignore assistant) stand on his desk! And pull your pants down and take a biig sh1t on his desk all over his paperwork and in his coffee mug. Then say something to make the shit seem signifigant like, "look Mr. Cameron look! All you have produced in the last decade is sh1t! Produce my films and I promise people will take you seriously." BAM that's how you do it! Just don't do it to anybody who is actually good in film like Quentin Tarantino, P.T.Anderson, L.bender, Martin scorsese. And u just wasted money on film school!!! Ur damn television is more of a film school!!!

  32. QUESTION:
    Do you have to go to film school to be a film producer?
    I studied history as an undergraduate degree, and I'm currently studying an MA in Film & Photographic Studies. It's theory of film only.
    I've decided I love film enough that I want to work for the film industry, and that I'd like to be a film producer. Do I have to spend another 3 years in film school to do this?
    I understand that a producer is more or less a manager and helps deal with a film's budget. For what it's worth, I'm 22-years-old, and currently working for a big company, managing a small team. Will this experience help?

    • ANSWER:
      I'm a screen writer and director. I went to Film School for a year, and not to sound arrogant or a know-it-all, but I found that I knew most of what they were teaching me already. I was an older student at University and I had spent many years before already studying and reading books on film. You do NOT have to go to Film School to work in the film industry. You can literally take the Independent route and start up your own film production company (which is what I did) and start working.
      As they say, it's not always what you know, but who you know.

      There is nothing wrong with taking the "educational" route to try and break in, but it's not the only way.

      Most big film directors today didn't actually go to film school, they just started making films. I write, direct and produce my own films, and I also get to work on other peoples work as well and give my input, because that's the path I chose. You can create your own path. You don't have to do everything the traditional way when it comes to the creative/artistic business.

      Film school can help, but if it's something that is already in you, it's already in you. I didn't feel like I was learning anything new so I left. I started to actually use my time more wisely by getting out there and doing things myself. Personally, I'm doing well and I'm working on some big feature stuff right now, but it takes determination and hard work. I'm a director and writer more than I am a Producer, so some aspects of how you do things could be different for you. All I need to do is get a good camera, get out there and start shooting. As a producer, you probably need to do a bit more networking.
      Maybe start script writing and try to produce it yourself, or even direct it. That's always a good way to start. Perhaps start out with short films.

      You don't need a degree to make a film or to be apart of the industry. It's about your talent, not your credentials. It's a myth that you need high education to get into the Arts.

      Art comes from your heart, not from your education.
      Directing is innate, same with most other jobs in the film industry. No one can teach you it. If it's in you, it's in you.

  33. QUESTION:
    What is the process of adapting a video game into a film?
    I'm not asking about the process of actually writing the script but what happens after the script is written. Do you have to shop the script to the actually publishing company of the game or a movie studio? And how does the studio go about getting rights to make the movie? There's a game that I grew up playing that I would love to write and maybe even direct a movie of it. So in short, how would I go about doing that.

    • ANSWER:
      talk to film students at your local collage

      you can im me I have done this myself and could share alot of info with you

  34. QUESTION:
    Need an Editor and a Producer for our new short film. Can anyone help me?
    I have a good script for a short movie. Im in search of an Editor. No need for an expert, any Visual Communication student who is good in using editing software is enough.

    • ANSWER:
      i have no information about film making ..

  35. QUESTION:
    I just finished writing my very first screen play for a short film, whats my next step?
    I have got nothing but great reviews from everyone I have shown even from the worst critics I could possibly find. I am very confident in my work but I would like to know what I should do next. I dont have a degree and make ok money.

    • ANSWER:
      Your next step depends on what you want to do. Do you want to produce the movie? Do you want to market the screenplay? If you want to do the first, you can produce the film on your own if you have the technical know-how, or you can assemble a crew and have them do the production work or you can find a college nearby with a film department and advertise there for a film student to collaborate in making the film.

      If you want to market the script, my first suggestion is to register it with the writers guild (you need not be a member) and most studios will not take unsolicited scripts, so you would need to find an agent, the writers guild has resources for that also.

      You can also do an online search for “screenplay market” or “screenwriters market” but be cautious of places you find as many are rip-offs. Do your research into any company before you send them work, and beware anyplace that asks for money, most legit agancies take work on spec.

  36. QUESTION:
    Is it hard to become a film director?
    I'm an aspiring film director. Any tips?

    • ANSWER:
      I assume you mean a successful one :)

      Yes, it's very difficult. I think it might be even more difficult that trying to become an actor, becuase you basically have to create your own career. I've worked with many aspiring directors on indie and short films and you really start at the complete bottom of the barrel. Do you write? One thing is start networking now to meet writers, cinematographers, etc. You will really start by producing your own films - writing, directing, maybe even acting unless you can pull some friends in. You should also learn how to edit, becuase you will be doing this yourself too, unless your have enough money to pay an editor. Do some trial runs. Most early stage directors I've worked with have basically formed production companies with other people who fill various positions and they all work together to make the films - so eventually you have built in writers, DP's, cameramen, editors, etc.

      You can move onto shorts. Just write a 5 minute script. Post an ad looking for actors and hold auditions. You don't have to pay them, just provide the basic FCC - food, copy and credit.
      As you get more experience, begin looking around for local film festivals to submit to. Just keep doing this, going bigger and bigger, eventually submit to places like Sundance and then you can make features and begin looking for distributors and at some point, looking for theatrical release. As you get more successful, you'll get more notice and you'll be able to cast better actors (evenutally you many want to work under SAG contracts and employ all SAG actors, though you WILL have to pay them) and have more sophisticated films, overall.
      I would also recommend reading biographies of film directors to see how they all got started. In every case though I think you will find that they all created films on their own, they didn't just end up at a studio.
      It's tough. You really create your own path and in addition to being very creative, also be a great business-man - you need to be very PR savvy and network A LOT.
      In any case, I am not a director, but have worked with many at all stages of careers - MFA students doing grad films who are jsut learning, people more mid-level with some experience under their belt and people who do it full time.

      I'm sure there are books about this as well. Check them out. Get as much info as you can.

      Good luck!

  37. QUESTION:
    How can I start my acting career?
    Well, to cut the long story short I Love Acting. So, I want to start acting professionally. My mom has enrolled me to an performing arts school(acting, dancing and singing) that I will be starting very soon. I really just asked this question to find out what: should go on my resume, how to get an agent and are there any other things I can do to help build my career?

    Thanks :)

    • ANSWER:
      A performing arts school should be a helpful thing for you. Focus on having fun learning and growing as an actor and build a local reputation as a strong, talented and mature actor. Some things you can do. In addition to the acting, voice and dance lessons you can:

      * Audition for what you can - school plays, community theater, student films, local productions.
      * Perform with choir or dance troupe or other performance group.
      * Read plays and scripts - all kinds - and keep an eye out for characters and monologues you love and want to develop.
      * Read books and websites about acting - the craft/technique and the business end of things too.
      * Join Speech/Drama club and look into competing in the acting divisions of forensic competitions.
      * Contact local film schools and ask how they find actors for student films and check those resources. It's a bit of a long shot since generally they're looking for older people, but you can try.
      * Keep up your grades in school. Embrace learning, you never know when you can somehow use that information later.

      While you do that, your parents can research the to research and understand the business end of acting. You need to understand that you're not going to get "discovered" or anything like that. That's not how the industry really works. Professional acting is a business and there are a lot of scams/ripoffs out there. Since you're a minor, your parents will have to be the CEO of any professional acting career you attempt. They will need to understand the industry enough to make sure no one takes advantage of you. They'll need to understand the entire casting process, who the players are, what they do (and don't do). They'll need to be familiar with industry contracts, acting unions, legal requirements for minors in the industry. They will have to make connections and network with local people in the industry. Networking is how actors find out about opportunities. Some helpful websites for you and your parents:

      http://www.bizparentz.org/
      http://www.backstage.com/topics/kids/
      http://youngperformers.sagaftra.org/files/youngperformers/YPH_FNL3.pdf

      Your acting training, experience and special skills go on your resume. Never lie on your resume. You (or your parents) can do an internet search to find examples for you to follow.

      You get an agent by convincing one that you have the talent, training, experience and commitment to book professional jobs. Agents are paid on commission (never pay an agent up front). Since they're paid only if their clients are paid, they are picky about who they take on as clients. So again, networking is the best way to get an agent. Talk with your acting teachers/coaches, directors you've worked with and the like. Let people know you're thinking about getting an agent and if you've impressed someone with your skills, they may be willing to refer you to an agent.

      If your acting school has a good reputation, it's possible they may attract agents and casting directors to showcases. So you might be able to get interest in you that way.

      Another option is to research and make a list of of local talent agents (that you've verified are legitimate) and check into how to submit to them. Usually they want you to mail in your head shot and acting resume. If they're interested in you, they'll contact you. If you don't hear anything back, then they're not interested at this point. Some places that list legitimate agents:

      http://www.sagaftra.org/agency-relations/sag-franchised-agents
      http://www.sagaftra.org/agency-relations/aftra-franchised-agents
      http://www.backstage.com/resources/search/agent/

      Good luck.

  38. QUESTION:
    How to get on the fast track to becoming an actress?
    Hello, I'm 14 and I really want to become a professional TV and film actress, but who doesn't? I know I'm young and don't really have much experience, but that's what I'm asking advice for; what do I do to get noticed by someone who could get me in the business? Anything is helpful, and thanks to all who answer! Wish me luck! 😀
    Xoxo,
    Cassidy

    • ANSWER:
      "Fast track" to becoming an actress? Have Will Smith as a parent since he has a ton of pull in the industry. Other than that - there's no such thing as a "fast track" to an acting career.

      Professional acting is a business, if you're interested in trying to do that as a minor, your first step is to talk to your parents and make sure they're on board with it. As a minor your parents HAVE to function as a CEO of your career and you can't do it without them. It's going to be a huge investment of time, effort and money for both you and your parents. And there's no guarantee of a return on that investment. If you're looking for fame, popularity, attention or the like - you're going to be disappointed.

      Then you can look into acting classes. Voice lessons and dance lessons could be fun too. Keep auditioning for what you can in your area - school plays, community theater, or other local productions. Join a choir, dance troupe or other performance group. Your parents could contact any film schools/programs in the area to see where they get actors for student films. Check the website for your local film commission to see what's happening in your area. Check into if there are any speech/drama clubs (or maybe starting one) so you could compete in the acting divisions of speech/drama forensic competitions. Read A LOT - plays and scripts, to keep an eye out for characters and monologues that you love and want to develop. Read other things - novels, short stories, poems - because an understanding of language and storytelling will help you as an actor. Play improv games with your friends, create your own home movies, put on your own productions Basically have fun learning and growing as an actor.

      While you do that, your parents can research the business end of acting. There are a lot of scams/ripoffs out there. Most of them prey on people who mistakenly think all you have to do is get "noticed by someone who could get me in the business". That's not how things really work. SOME things you'll need for a professional acting career:

      * Talent
      * Quality acting training/classes
      * Experience (on stage and in front of the camera. At first you'll have to start with low-to-no pay jobs)
      * Professional head shot
      * Professional acting resume
      * Acting reel (video of your on-screen work if you want to work on TV/movies)
      * A licensed talent agent (good roles are cast through talent agents - not open audition or websites)
      * Several well-developed monologues for auditions
      * To be a member of an actors union (SAG-AFTRA for screen or AEA for stage) or at the very least an understanding of how unions work to know when/if you should join.
      * An understanding of the business end of acting - the entire casting process, the players, what type of work is available in your area, industry contracts, how to best market yourself to talent agents and managers
      * A good network of connections in the industry
      * To be where auditions are held.
      * A strong foundation and healthy ways to cope with the stress of trying to work professionally. You need to be able to handle rejection, competition and instability.
      * As a minor you may need an entertainment work permit and trust account established in your name.

      There's a website run by a non-profit group for families with children who want to be in the entertainment industry. You and your parents should look it over:

      http://www.bizparentz.org/

  39. QUESTION:
    How do independent filmmakers ever get anything done?
    I've written a short film for a contest and was reminded that I would be needing permits to shoot, well, anywhere. I don't know if I've read these articles wrong, but they say that in order to shoot in a public place I would need an insurance policy rider of ,000,000. Now I'm not grad student, but that seems a little difficult to obtain.
    I have also been told that the possibility of ever getting permission from anyone to shoot on private property is extremely slim and that most people would only offer their land to seasoned professionals.

    How is that independent filmmakers ever get off the ground?

    I am 18 and have not started film college yet, so I understand that not only is my knowledge of all this severely limited at the moment, but that it is very rare that I will be taken seriously, even when attempting to film a simple short film in a few locations.

    Thank you for your answers.
    Not to sound rude but I can only get so much out of answers with only 3 letters. 😛
    I'm guessing DSD is Direct Streaming Digital?

    • ANSWER:
      You can shoot for free without insurance if you can establish a rapport with the property owner and you are not asking to take over the property for an extended period of time or make extensive changes. Many filmmakers rely upon connections to property owners through family and friends. Your cast and crew can also help with connections. As far as permits, you need them when shooting in a public place. They are enforced by police. If someone turns you in or a passing officer sees you, then you may get shut down. Guerrilla filmmakers rely upon small crews and shoot quickly.

      The best bet is to make a list of locations available to you and write your script to fit those locations. If you write a story that takes place at an airport during a hurricane then good luck with that. Kevin Smith used the convenience store that he worked at to make Clerks. Plan your movie around the resources that you have.

  40. QUESTION:
    where can i get software to help me write a script for tv?
    I really want to write a script but I need software to help me do this. please please help!

    • ANSWER:
      This Celtx screenwriting software is free, and it's good! Be sure to always back up. http://celtx.com/overview.html
      http://www.ehow.com/how_2364028_write-screenplay-using-celtx.html

      Also, if you're a student, you may be able to get academic prices on screenwriting software. I like Movie Magic Screenwriter, it feels more intuitive than Final Draft for me.

      You can try out free demos of Movie Magic and Final Draft:
      http://www.write-bros.com/
      http://www.finaldraft.com/

      One place to find academic software: http://www.academicsuperstore.com/product/search?qk_srch=movie+magic&x=0&y=0

      If you haven't been taught, see if there are classes at a local community college, credit or no credit.

      Books to read:

      Screenwriting for Teens: The 100 Principles of Screenwriting Every Budding Writer Must Know by Christina Hamlett - Good for teens, and adults.

      Filmmaking for Teens: Pulling Off Your Shorts by Troy Lanier and Clay Nichols - Best to understand how films are made to help your screenwriting.

      The 101 Habits Of Highly Successful Screenwriters: Insider's Secrets from Hollywood's Top Writers by Karl Iglesias - Inspirational!

      Writing Screenplays That Sell by Michael Hauge - A great book to start with.

      The Screenwriter's Bible: A Complete Guide to Writing, Formatting, and Selling Your Script by David Trottier - Another really good guide.

      Save The Cat! The Last Book on Screenwriting You'll Ever Need by Blake Snyder - Very entertaining and instructional.

      Classics you're going to have to read -

      Screenplay: The Foundations of Screenwriting by Syd Field

      Lew Hunter's Screenwriting 434

      Story: Substance, Structure, Style and The Principles of Screenwriting by Robert McKee

      The Writers Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers by Christopher Vogler

      Good luck!

  41. QUESTION:
    What was the best writing assignment or project you ever had in high school?
    I'm a creative writing teacher going back to work after a year off with my baby, and I'd love to hear some really wonderful ideas. What made those assignments so meaningful?

    My students are juniors and seniors. The class is an elective, so assume they want to be there. I have a lot of ideas myself, but I've been thinking about them for a long time and I'd like to have some fresh material. Thanks! :)

    • ANSWER:
      Spring of my senior year, my English teacher decided to give us an option to the usual essay assignment. We had just finished reading the book "The Princess Bride", a break for us from the usual, more intense novels. (By the way ... this was in 1987, before the book was ever a movie. It's a fabulous book ... funnier than the movie .... a must read!) Anyway, our teacher said we could be imaginative and complete the assignment in a creative manner of our choice ..... poem, song, drawing, and so forth. Or, we could just right the standard essay, if preferred. There were really no limitations; we just needed her approval of our idea prior to starting the assignment. My friend and I teamed up and we made a 5 minute movie of our version of "The Princess Bride", using selected scenes from the book. For cast members, we made clay "Mr. Bill" figures (remember him from the SNL days?). We wrote the script, edited the video, made a soundtrack with voices for the characters, and added in fun sound effects. My dad was even involved, shooting video for us. The funny thing is that it actually took MORE time and work to do this short film than to write an essay ... but we had SOOOO much fun! And, it was a great break from the usual work (the teacher normally made us work our butts off), and it helped ease the bad case of senioritis we all had. Best of all, it helped us assimilate material in a new way ..... using different parts of our brain than usual. I think this is what makes learning experiences most memorable for students.

      Hope this idea helps. Have fun! :)

  42. QUESTION:
    Does it matter what school you go to in order to become a successful filmmaker?
    I'm an aspiring filmmaker. I hope to be an independent filmmaker in New York and make films that have independence, but at the same time success, such as Little Miss Sunshine, Juno, Lost in Translation, etc.

    I was just curious if it matters what school you go to or if you have to be in Hollywood to be successful.

    • ANSWER:
      Well, here's an answer (an opinion) from someone who's worked with a lot of film-makers, gone to a "well recognized" film school, and works in the arts.

      Yes, having a solid education is important. In a positive educational experience, you'll learn the craft, be *challenged* in the way you do things, and you'll make positive connections with mentors and your contemporaries.

      I suppose what I hear in your question is whether it's important to go to a "good" school. In my experience, a school that's too puffed up about how "good" it is, can be too narcissistic to be there for it's students in realistic ways. It may have famous filmmakers on faculty, but they also are often too busy and involved in their own careers to be good teachers.

      That being said: no, I don't think it matters what school you go to. Ultimately, you are going to create your educational experience. As you go through your studies, you can make note of the ways in which your school is falling short, and find alternative resources to give yourself a full education: join a film coop, take a video-art class, send your short-films to festivals, take a creative writing class (especially if you intend to be writing your scripts!), make a lot of small scale projects that challenge you to step outside of your comfort zone (you may know exactly what kind of films you want to be making, but the more you know about different approaches, the better you'll be able to tackle your own approach), don't be afraid of failure, and actively seek-out constructive criticism. The more you step out of the school setting and see what else is out there, the more people you'll meet, the more prepared you'll be for life after school, and the more opportunities you'll come across.

      I'm saying all this with regards to becoming a good filmmaker. As for being a successful one... who knows. Success is one of those things you can work hard for, but ultimately is the meeting point of a million different factors.

      I've answered your question as though I was talking to my younger self... Hopefully it's the kind of thing you're looking for :)

      good luck!

  43. QUESTION:
    Really need someone to tell me about filming a short film? Beginner. First timer here?
    Im not a film student or nothing. I love watching student films and short films. It hit me, that i would love to do one in my neighborhood. Showing how it is growing up in the "tough streets" my friends and i really want to get started. We trying to find out what equipment we need, cameras, microphones, evrything their is to know to create a good short film. We are under a budget. Now im not expecting to make an official short film. Something decent to start off, with quality. I want someone to open up my eyes and tell me everything their is to know to make this happen.

    • ANSWER:
      There is not enough room here to tell you everything you need and need to know.

      Outline the project. Flesh it out and add more and more notes until it finally turns into a script. Create a shot list. This is the video capture plan. You MUST stick to it. EVERY second is based on this list. Storyboard the whole thing so you know it flows and the shots work together. All these items are the "project plan". Stick to it. If you fail to plan, then plan to fail.

      After all that, start thinking about the equipment you need.

      If it was my low-budget project, at a minimum:
      Sony HDR-FX1000 (two or three preferred)
      Fostex DC R302
      Sennheiser G3 wireless lavaliere with portable base station (2)
      Audio Technica AT-8015
      Tripod (Bogen-Manfrotto)
      Camera crane (Kessler) and counter weights
      Steadycam vest system
      lighting/reflector ("shinys")
      dolly/track system
      power supplies, batteries, cables, video monitor (for the camera at the end of the crane), LANC, cases and bunches of others stuff... A grip truck+crew and equipment can be hired.

      And all this assumes the computer planned for editing can deal with importing and editing the video. And we don't even know what the project story-line is.

      The "boom mic, stand, camera" are merely a few parts to a much bigger system. Then there's the script outline, story-boarding, script, shot list/project plan, talent, wardrobe, makeup, permits, legal, stunts, drivers, and LOTS more...

      Your questions indicate you have never been on a set of a production or used any of this sort of equipment. Rather than jumping into a "low budget film" you will be doing yourself a favor by taking some classes and learning about how all this stuff works together, first... not after you have wasted a bunch of money and time working on the "low budget film" project.

      And assuming they are really "tough streets" expect your equipment to be stolen.

      Even "documentaries" have lots of planning to deal with. If you choose to capture all sorts of random video and somehow stick it together, you'll run into issues. Target a specific topic. A single family that has been impacted by something. A single person who has been impacted by something. A building or open lot that has somehow changed. Each story has a start, middle and end. The tricks are making it interesting and when it ends, the viewer wants to see more. PLAN PLAN PLAN. And stick to it.

      You can start collecting equipment now - if you focus on writing the outline, script, storyboard and getting the plan together, you have about three months to get the equipment you need. And since you can't use everything at the same time, plan on finding people you trust to help you. Many times there are more people behind the camera than in front of it.

  44. QUESTION:
    How to produce a animator short?
    I see a few writers/directors going this direction perhaps because it's cheaper, I know the movie 9 was originally a short before becoming a feature film.

    My question is how much would something like a small short (5 minutes long) cost? I am also having trouble finding animators or flash animators, any specific website to go to?

    I already have a script written out and a storyboard I just need to find a animator.

    • ANSWER:
      It all depends on various factors:

      1. Who the Animators, Directors, Writers are; School Students or professionals
      2. The Quality of animation that you are producing
      3. What type of style you are using (2d, or 3d, frame by frame or bone tweens)

      I am currently in High-school and for my senior project, I am producing a 4-6 minute traditional frame-by-frame animation, and I will admit that it is not an easy process by any standard. I have completed about 1 minute of my animation, and it has taken me about a month. I spend 3 hours a day in making animated scenes that last an average of 3-5 seconds.

      Obviously, detailed and quality techniques such as traditional Frame-by-frame will cost a lot more money. For example, A 1940's Disney short costs 10x more than the average anime of the modern day. This is because in disney shorts, all frames are animated, where as in anime, only about 20% are actually animated. If you are going to produce animations on a budget, I suggest you use cost-cutting techniques, such as bone animation, 3d tween animation, or limited frame-by-frame.

      Next is the animators that will be creating the animations. If you have college students, many of them will work for a small price, but will be able to produce quality animations. Pros out of college that work for companies will charge a much higher price. Highschoolers will work for free, but their animation quality is generally poor.

      If you are going to be paying animators for their work (especially quality animations), expect to pay them at least 0-00, unless you have some seriously dedicated folks that will work for little to no pay.

      You mentioned flash as your medium for animation, and although flash is a good entry-level animation solution, you should find animators that use more dedicated solutions, such as Toonboom, or anime studio. I am currently unaware of any websites you can go to recruit animators. I suggest that you ask local people who will be willing to work with you. Otherwise, if you are going to be hiring anonymous people, expect to pay them a lot of money.

      I hope this helps. Good luck on producing your animation!

  45. QUESTION:
    What are talent acting agents looking for in a resume?
    ok,im 15 years old and i live in NYC and i would like to know exactly what talent agencies are looking for in teen resumes. i know some people would say student films but i really dont trust them that much so is there anything else that they are intersted. also, are all the non-union auditions found in the backstage magazine reputable?

    • ANSWER:
      Hi - at 15 you're going to be competing with adult actors, not kids, so you're going to need an adult resume. And there's nothing wrong with student films, as long as you're selective. Choose ones being done by college students or graduates, check the script and don't do it if it's poorly written or has a stupid plot. Many good actors have started off in student films - they often get shown at festivals and competitions and are seen by some very influential people!

      But you should start by building up a resume which included -
      Your contact details and personal information, such as playing age, height, weight or build, hair length and colour.
      The name of the drama school you attended, how long the course was, and when you graduated.
      The details of extra courses you've attended, such as stage combat, accent and voice training, dance grades, singing grades, mime, mask, etc.
      What accents you can do convincingly, what languages you speak.
      A list of stage plays you've performed in, in public, and they should include all types of play - Shakespeare, Greek tragedy, comedy, drama, farce, musicals, period drama, etc. naming where they were performed, and the director's name.
      A list of short films, student films, naming the directors.
      A list of other experience, such as commercials, educational tours, promotional work.

      You will also need a good selection of professionally made headshots.
      A professionally made showreel and voicereel.
      Ideally, your own website, with all the above displayed and with links to your membership of professional organisations.
      I think that's about it.
      Hope that helps.

      Most genuine auditions are only found through agents, and agents won't be interested in you until you have had professional training and loads of experience. Most open calls are just scams or publicity stunts.
      Good luck!

  46. QUESTION:
    What is the best way to get into acting?
    I am a student currently studying at a Uni a course on Accounting and i wanted to know what was the best way to get into acting as well, as in experience wise and leaning wise.

    • ANSWER:
      READ:
      "ACTING IS EVERYTHING (GOLD EDITION)"-JUDY KERR

      "SO YOU WANT TO BE IN SHOW BUSINESS?"- STEVEN R. STEVENS

      "ACTING TRUTHS AND LIES" (purchased at www.info4actors.com)

      TRAINING
      I think the first three classes that you should take before even engaging in a scene study/acting class are: Cold Reading, Commercials, and Improv.

      Why a cold reading class? How do you get the role? By auditioning! Auditioning and acting are two DIFFERENT worlds! In L.A. especially, the majority of your auditions are cold reads. You're lucky if you can get the sides the night before. Cold reading teaches you how to make sense of the script within a short period of time and also with in a limited space (you don't physicalize as much on auditions as you do when actually do the scene). After you get the part, you can always get an acting coach.

      Why commercials? Because those are the money jobs. Build your foundation with commercials so you can afford the best training and materials needed for a successful acting career. Commercials also don't require you to bust out your Meisner or Strasberg techniques. The commercial cds and clients just want to see real people.

      Improv is a must period. It teaches you how to not be self conscious, to use your imagination, and to make bold and quick choices. It also goes great with commercial auditions for a lot of them are improv.

      Stay away from those OVERPRICED "Acting/Modeling Schools" like JRP, John Casablancas, and Barbizon. All of those LA schools that I mentioned before JRP, JC, and Barb. are A LOT more affordable and actually RESPECTED in LA. Of course you can have those three scammy schools on your resume and get LAUGHED OUT of LA and any other MAJOR market.

      AGENTS
      To get an agent, you need to get GREAT headshots, a good resume, and training from the best. These are enough to get you a commercial agent at least. Getting a GOOD theatrical agent (Film/tv) takes longer. Most good theatrical agents won't see you unless you're SAG, have a polished resume, and a demo reel. Commercial agents are more lenient about that. What the best Commercial agents want to see on your resume are good commercial classes, improv, and cold reading.

      You can get an agent multiple ways. Here are a few common ways:
      -Attend a showcase and impress them
      -Mail in an unsealed manilla envelope with a CONCISE coverletter and headshot with the resume stapled on the back. If you have a demoreel include that too.
      -Get a referral from a friend who is with the agency that you're interested in

      DON'T
      -Email them unless they tell you to. IT'S UNPROFESSIONAL!
      -Call unless they tell you to. ALSO UNPROFESSIONAL!
      -Walk in and ask for a meeting. UNPROFESSIONAL THREE!
      -Sign with them if they ask for upfront money, make you take new photos with THEIR photographer, or take THEIR classes. Agent's ONLY make money when you do. Agents usually make 10% on film/tv and commercials and 20% on commercial print

      RESUMES
      Here's the standard LA format. In NY, it's usually the same but with Theatre being higher up than Film/TV (/ denotes column breaks):

      At the top and centered:
      Name (Centered and is largest in font size)
      Union affiliation (if any)
      CELL Phone Number
      Email

      Far Left side below the top and centered stuff:
      Height
      Weight
      Hair color
      Eye color

      Right side opposite of statistics:
      Agent logo with contact info (sometimes if you have an agent, you can remove your own cell phone and email address. Then weirdos that find your stuff in the dumpster can contact them instead of you)

      Film
      Title/(Lead, supporting, featured)/Director

      Television
      Title/(Lead, guest star, co-star, regular, featured)/Network

      Theatre
      Title/Specific character played/Production company or director depending on who is more prestigious.

      Commericials
      ALWAYS put "List available upon request!" Do keep a separate list of the commercials with the Casting directors involved in case an agent asks.

      Training
      Skill learned/School or teacher/Location (LA, NY?)

      Special Skills/Abilities
      Be creative with this. When I was starting out and interviewing with agencies, they would usually go straight there and talk about my special talents and even had me demonstrate some of them

      DON'T:
      -Put extra work
      -Put Modeling/Print gigs. You make a separate resume for that.
      -Lie
      -Put age. If an agent asks you when you meet with him or her, then tell the truth. It's for legal reasons. ie. Under 18 can't work normal hours or you have to be at least 25 to do a beer commercial.
      -Put your home phone number or address unless you weridos coming to your house.
      -Put dates. It ages you!

      If you don't have too many credits or none at all, have a lot of training. That will show that you're still serious. Also be creative with your special skills and abilities.

  47. QUESTION:
    How get a movie script I wrote made into a movie?
    Hello, I wrote a movie script, but I was wondering how I can get it published/noticed so that it can be made into a movie? What steps should I take for it to be noticed by "movie makers..." haha, I don't really know anything about the movie bussiness...I'm just good at writing. Help me please!!

    • ANSWER:
      There are multiple ways to get noticed, but do keep in mind it can take a lot of time. For every instant success story you hear, there are hundreds that are still fighting for their shot. Don't let it bring you down, just be sure to be persistent and patient.

      Method 1: Submit the script to studios. Send a querry letter (a short, one page letter with a brief synopsis of your script and contact info). Should it pique their interest, they'll request to read the full script. After that, if they like it, they'll contact you with further details and option/purchase deals.

      Method 2: Submit the script to agents: Using the same querry letter, contact literary agents. Again, if it interests them, they'll ask to read the full script. If they like it, or like your writing style, they'll contact you with details for representation (they'll then submit your script to their contacts at the studios for you)

      Method 3: Enter contests. There are hundreds of screenwriting contests every year. Enter your script in at least a few contests. Wins and top finishes will help garner recognition and credibility. Also, some of the bigger contests have representatives from the industry (agents, studio readers, ect.) that judge or participate as consultants to winners.

      Method 4: Submit your script to local filmmakers. This might not get you a big paycheck, or maybe any pay at all, but it can get your script made. There are many independent filmmakers, film students, and people interested in getting into the film industry. If they like your script, they may decide to film it. This can also open the door for you to work on the film itself, learning the different aspects of the film industry on set. Also, getting it made into a film brings attention to the script. Should the film win any awards, get distribution, and so forth, it'll get your attention as a writer.

      One very important point: Study the proper formats for screenwriting before submitting. Nothing will get your script dismissed faster than not adhering to general formatting. There are multiple outlets for learning (books, internet sites), so there's no excuse for improper format. Also, you can have a professional critique done before sending, if you like. There are companies (for a fee) that will break down your script, offering insight and suggestions, including some editing, to help bring your script to industry standards as well as let you know the possible marketability of the script.

      Hope this helps. Good luck!

  48. QUESTION:
    i need help writing a short movie script?
    ok so im making a short film for class that deals with a film student that couldnt get ideas and ended up stealing one from the internet (ironic right?) but later wins an oscar for it and pays the price for taking someones idea without giving them credit.

    i just need something to fill 3 pages so i can turn in tomorrow and yes you will be named for credit lol. please help i really need this grade!

    • ANSWER:
      I'm in the same position as you mate, expect i have to make up a film, and film it :P.
      With the scenario you have you could focus on mainly the increasing build up of guilt within the character, like at first it doesn't bother him, then as he takes more and more credit the pressure of lying gets to him and turns him into a complete wreck. That one thing you can play with when making a film, the development of a character in that way. Ummmmmm if you need to fill three pages, take some time over the dialog and make sure that you give the lines some subtext, give interesting actions to the characters as they do their lines and make sure you include a range of camera shots in the 3 pages, a well shot film is always one worth watching ( even if the story is shit)
      I hope this helps man, if you want to talk about it in detail or need some help with anything give me and email.

      Titan D (A.J)

  49. QUESTION:
    Is Colorado Film School a good place to go for screenwriting?
    And by good, I mean does it have a good ciriculum, and a good surrounding area, preferably near some bars?

    • ANSWER:
      The Colorado Film School has a strong emphasis on screenwriting and has excellent writing faculty.
       
      All students in the BFA program, including Cinematographers, Editors, and Actors are required to take Short Script Analysis and Feature Script Analysis.
       
      Exemplary students in the Feature Script Analysis can apply for internships with ICM (International Creative Management) the #2 agency in Hollywood, and provide coverage for agents of scripts coming with “A” list attachments.  After successfully completing the internship students are accredited readers for ICM and can generate income providing industry standard coverage for them.
       
      Writing/Directing and Writing/Producer BFA majors also take Writing the Short Script, Writing for Broadcast Media, and Feature Script Writing I, II, and III.  They also take Production Prep where they write and polish scripts and pre-produce their Production III projects, and Advanced Production Prep where they hone scripts for their Advanced Production (IV) class.
       
      The strongest emphasis throughout the program is on story, structure, and character development. The script is seen as the blueprint for the 1000+ films generated by the school each year.
       
      There are a couple of bars in Denver, some of which are located near the school.

  50. QUESTION:
    How can I make a short film/movie?
    I really want to make a short film, it can be anything... documentary, animated, movie etc...

    I don't even know what my first steps are, so if anyone has any experience in making short films or anything similar please give me some advice on where to get started.

    Many thanks.

    • ANSWER:
      i am a media student and have done quite a few shorts, and trailers.

      here is your steps:

      1: equiptment ( you need a decent video camera, either one with that uses mini DV tapes, or a camcorder that uses memory card. i recommend one with inbuilt or memory slot because using a DV tape requires a capture dec to be wired to your PC so it can copy the tape)
      you will need a mic, a rifle mic is the best, otherwise if you have a decent camera you can use the inbuilt mic, a boom pole is recommended if you want a seperate mic. you need a blank DVD R if you want the film on a disc. you need a laptop or pc with some good editing software, i suggest final cut or adobe premier (these are costly) windows movie maker is fine if you want to keep it simple.

      2: planning. this is essential if you want it to be good. first brainstorm your ideas or a plot and then draw a stroyboard, do this with what shots you will use, secondly u need actors and where and when you film. (this is called a recce) if you plan a fictional short you will need to write a script (search google for a script template) if you are directing people and the plot you need to know exactly what u are doing.

      3: shooting: when you shoot make sure you keep the camera smooth and still and use a tri-pod to do this, use handheld if you are steady, if you want to keep it looking professional make sure it is smooth and never jerking or suddenly moving, get varios shots, it will be boring if u use the same frame over and over, get some close ups, some mediums, long shots, tilts, zooming is good if you use it at the right times (it will look very amatuer) get someone to help record sound if you use a seperate mic.

      4: editing: this in my opinion is the most fun yet important part of the production. learn how to edit with youtube tutorials, its very easy if you use final cut or movie maker. dont over do it with video filters or transitions. make sure to edit quickly and keep the footage fluent. it will look silly if there are long pauses with no action going on. also you might want to colour grade the footage, again look on youtube about colour grading in editing.

      thats pretty much the gist lol. i really dont want to drone on forever, but there ARE many more things to consider in each step, if you need more help add me and il email u,
      also to show you what can be achieved with simple equipment me and my friend made a short trailer in college that takes all these steps into account. (its a bit creepy lol)

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m0o-hB_z2Dw good luck :)
      EDIT; when i said edit quickly i meant make sure the frames are joined quickly without delay from the last shot. lol not literally edit quickly. its important to take all the time you need in editing because this is what ultimately achieves your final piece


short film scripts for students