• Chalkboard

How To Make A Short Film - A Step By Step Guide For First Time Filmmakers

PART 1 - The Introduction



If you're new here. Hi!

We are Chalkboard. And by we I mean myself (Olivia) and my co-artistic director Amy. We produce Art. We dedicate our work to the playful reinvention, discovery and the power of story.

Last year I was the main producer (and star) of our first short film - The Dinner Party. It was a project that spanned over 365 days, brought together 14 creatives and shot over 4 days. What you can't measure is all the other stuff.


The sleepless nights, breathless excitement and crippling anxiety. The elation of creative harmony and the black hole of: "I don’t know what the fuck am I doing!". The reality is, this is the stuff that often comes with as part and parcel of the creative process. I'll say that again for the seats at the back. It’s NORMAL. YOU’LL BE OK.




One year on (almost) from finishing the project, I wanted to reflect on this. To re-evaluate (with the oh-so-great power of hindsight) the whole process. This is the result.

This series will be a practical checklist and emotional support for first-time filmmakers. It will cover:

  • Scripts - how to write a short film script, or choose one

  • Budgeting - how to finance a short film and create a short film budget, or make a film with no budget!

  • Pre-Production - how to produce a short film alone, or with others, a checklist of what you need to cover (including locations, insurance and kit)

  • Casting - how to find actors, what actors to use and why to use them

  • Production - how to create a great set environment, how to handle the challenges of being on set

  • Post-production - the editing process, film festivals and more

This is what I wish I had thought about. The things I wish I had read. The truth I wish I had known. And proof of the joy of making a short film. These are the failures I made. The things I planned for and the things I didn't. The lessons I have learned. The things you can put into practice, to enable you to make a great short film.




I've put together this guide to help first time filmmakers. Because we are some of the bravest, coolest and most naive people in the world. Which is why I love us. Because if we weren’t like that no one would make a film in the first place. We’d just talk about it. I love first-time filmmakers so much I created a festival to celebrate them (but more on that later).


We'd love to stay in touch too, so sing up below more tasty creative morsels in your inbox.


This is a series on the film production process, with filmmaking tips for beginners.

Part 1: The Introduction

Part 2: The Script

Part 3: The Pre Production Checklist

Part 4: How To Run A Film Set

Part 5: What Now? Post production Tips For First Time Indie Producers

Author: Olivia Foan