How To Make A Short Film By Yourself


Preplanning is the most important part of the video making process. Especially if you only have one actor (yourself), you have to get creative sometimes. Making a storyboard, a list of shots, or any other sort of brainstorming/pre planning you normally do is crucial for making your storyline make sense and tell a compelling story.

When thinking about different shots consider:

  • Wide Shot to establish setting
  • Medium Shot
  • Close Up Shot
  • Extreme Close Up Shot (in my opinion these really add to the visual story)

How To Add Different Characters

You want to include more than one character in your short film but you only have yourself. Give yourself a call! Pretending that you’re on the phone with someone is a great way to add another character. You can record a voiceover, pitch the audio up or down depending on the effect you’re going for and add it in post production. Some more ways to add more characters:

  • Change up your look with a wig, makeup, and a new outfit
  • Invite your pets, sure they aren’t human, but they’re cute
  • Text someone, like a call, but just words
  • Animate someone, I mean sure, I don’t know how to do this either, but it could be an interesting new medium

An Example of A Short Film I Made By Myself

I was sitting in a hotel room one night waiting for my sister and cousin to get back. I had this idea of doing a hotel horror story because I was alone. I was thinking about what could happen if someone was just winding down for the night in their hotel room in a different city and they get a text from an anonymous number. From there, I filmed a story. The final product can be found here.

Practice Practice Practice

Don’t get discouraged if your first short film isn’t everything you dreamt it to be, especially if you’re by yourself. The more you create, the more you’ll learn and the better you will get. Just making a couple 1-2 minute short films every couple of weeks with provide you with valuable information. Remember: you are only limited by the boundaries of your imagination.

A Word of Advice

Get creative: you only have yourself in this scenario so don’t be afraid to try new things and experiment. Make sure you have a clear story you want to convey before you film to make sure your story makes sense. Watching other people’s short films can also be beneficial, maybe they did something that you want to try or that you thought was a good idea. You don’t have to go to film festivals to do this, go on youtube, search short films and watch some of them you find interesting. Don’t get too caught up in the length of your film either, a good story can be told in a 1-2 minutes. One filmmaker I love is Natalie Lynn. She does a lot of what I want to do in the future and her films really inspire me.