Filmmakers, Use Your Community Resources

April 6, 2010 at 7:36 am Leave a comment

Short films have been with us since the birth of cinema.

Cinema history texts often cite the apocryphal story of audiences running and screaming as the Lumiere Brothers’ steam train hurtles toward them from the screen. Today, it has never been easier to produce low-budget short films and find audiences with the phenomenal success of YouTube and other online viewing platforms.

Your audience is there, the opportunities exist, now all you need is a film. Not sure where to start? Take a look at your available resources; your filmmaking ideas may come to you easier than you think.

The best place to check out available resources is within your community. Many schools will rent equipment such as cameras and tripods, and local theatre companies are great places to borrow costumes and props. Then scout out your town for locations to film.

However, you are not limited to the community in which you live; check out your digital community as well. Sites such as and Student provide references for new and independent filmmakers around the world. Here, filmmakers of all levels share ideas and collaborate. But your digital community is not just going to yield information; it can also provide content and inspiration for your films.

Julian Gomez, an 11th grader at Miami Coral Park Senior High in Miami, used his digital community to create a mock public service announcement geared toward the YouTube population.

To start, Julian set about researching “popular” YouTubers and “Volggers” (video bloggers to all those non-techies out there). He contacted each with an individual script, asking them for their assistance with his creation.

“I politely asked them if they would like to take part in the video and explained the idea behind it as well as sharing the entire script with them, “Gomez said. “Once I had a script written for every one, I put it all together in an order that made sense. Some of these YouTubers I had already worked with in previous collaboration videos, and others I knew either through networking or because they had seen me around as an active member of the large YouTube community.”

The finished film, the comedic “YouTubers Are Masochists“, features popular vloggers such as John and Hank Green, Alan Lastufka, Craig Benzine, Bill Martin, and Eric Schnieder, who warn the public about a disease named masovloggerism, which infects well known vloggers everywhere. The mock public service announcement has gained over 2,700 views on YouTube and has also earned Julian Gomez a spot in the Young Minds Digital Times Student Film Contest SemiFinals.

So when making a short film, use the resources you have, including your online and neighborhood communities. Let your resources inspire you and make your filmmaking process a fun one. Bur remember, true short filmmaking comes down to one thing: the story.

“It’s not about who you know, it’s about how you present your idea (assuming it’s a good one),” said Julian Gomez. “I learned a lot from the first collaboration video I made.”


Entry filed under: OneSeventeen Media.

Making Your Film Stand Out The Semi-Finals are On!

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