Making a Short Film 101 Webinar Series: A to Z Guidance on How to Successfully Produce, Write & Direct Your Own Short Film

  • Cost of webinar: $40 per 90-min. webinar (non-members); $30 for members 
  • Dates: Every other Wednesday starting 9/17/14-10/29/14; 7:30-9PM ET 

Have you dreamed of making a short film – but weren’t sure where to start? Or, are you set to start a project to take that crucial step to become a professional filmmaker? When done right, short films can be a very powerful asset that could help you gain recognition by winning awards, receiving critical acclaim at screenings and festivals, attaining new work locally or even launching your Hollywood career. Most importantly, the creative process of making a short film in any role – whether you’re the director, writer or producer, or any hybrid title between those three key positions – is crucial to gaining experience and developing skills you could only ever learn by working “on set” on a production for which you’re entirely responsible. 

New Vs. Veteran Filmmaker? Here’s Why This Webinar Series Is for Both of You…

This webinar series is designed for both new filmmakers to learn the steps they should take to make a short film; and for experienced filmmakers looking to start a short film project they will either personally finance or seek funding from outside investors. This Atlanta Film Festival series will take place over the course of four webinars in September & October 2014. Students are not required to register and attend all webinars; and can also elect to attend specific courses based on the different areas of the filmmaking that will be covered in each course. Students who do attend all four webinars can expect to receive the soup to nuts knowledge they would need to know in order to plan, produce, successfully complete, market and distribute a short film. 

What Will You Learn? 

The following takeaways for the full series will give attendees the ability to realize what it will take for their projects to:

  • Have a well developed story that needs to be told in short amount of time
  • Professionally organize the production from start to finish 
  • Foster an environment where fellow executive team members work together for the best film possible in an efficient and rewarding collaborative process
  • Identify and cultivate the vision of a director ideally suited for the project 
  • Operate within a cost-effective budget that accounts for pre-production, post-production and marketing/film festivals – as well as tactics for fundraising 
  • Have a viable and successful outcome by educating key staff on what to do after the short film wraps, including strategies to have in place on the front-end to have your short film be a jumping off point for new opportunities, career advancement or project-specific plans (i.e. a short film to intrigue interest for a feature) and explore the benefits of film festivals, web distribution and other promotional options connected to the core goal of the short film. 

Filmmakers serving in all roles of the creative process can benefit by attending the full series as it will prepare and educate them to know how to select fellow lead team members, and how to effectively collaborate with them for the best possible short film they can make together. 

Descriptions of each webinar and the dates on which it will be offered follow: 

1. Free Webinar Date: Wednesday, September 10, 2014 – 7:30-8PM (30 min)

Free Webinar: 3 Reasons Why You Should Make Your Short Film NOW…and 3 Easy Tips on HOW 

Is now really the best time to make a short film? And, if you’re new to film, you’re not in film school and you don’t have industry connections… how do you even get started? 

In this free webinar and discussion (and sneak preview to the Short Film 101 series starting Wednesday, September 17), Kathy Cabrera will share the answers to these questions. She will address why now is the best time to make your short film; and three easy get-started tips that everyone from novices to advanced filmmakers can use to jump into short filmmaking like a pro.

Register for the free webinar.

2. Webinar #1: Wednesday, September 17, 2014 - 7:30-9PM ET (90 min)



You have an idea for a short film. Or, you may be currently stalled on the story in progress for a short film that should be underway. This webinar will cover the soup to nuts overview of the questions you need to ask yourself as a filmmaker to ensure the idea for your short film is worthwhile, and the essential steps you need to take to move into the planning and production phase of your short film. This webinar will provide:

  • A checklist of questions to ask yourself about the idea behind your film to truly vet it as worthwhile

  • Guidance on the team members you should have in place from step one

  • Preparatory steps you should take to familiarize yourself with short films as an independent medium to ensure a tight and efficient production 

  • Tips for funding and creating the timeline and plan to ensure a definite start and end date to your film

Hand-outs and examples of supporting materials will be provided. As needed, the instructor will also make recommendations for outside reading resources. 

Register for this class.

3. Webinar #2: Wednesday, October 1, 2014 - 7:30-9PM ET (90 min)



The vast majority of short films are independent productions, with many of the key creative team members holding more than one designated role on the project. If you’re a writer with sound organizational skills – you should seek out the opportunity to learn and lead and be one of the producers on the film as well. If you’re a lead actor or director whose name and reputation are riding on the film – you should definitely be involved in a key producing capacity on the film. If you’re strictly a well-organized, go-getter of a producer looking to deliver an amazing short film – partnering with talented writers, actors and directors is the key way to landing future positions and projects. To ensure everyone has enough information to be dangerous when it comes to knowing how a short film should successfully be produced, the following will be covered in this session:

  • Definition of different producers, and roles (i.e. the “investor-producer”, the budget-balancing “line producer”, the “creative” producer involved in casting and artistic decisions with the director) 

  • The key elements and how-to’s of producing during each phase (pre-production, production, and post-production)

  • Why the producer’s job never ends – key elements after the film is complete to effectively market and distribute the film (tactics such as what film festivals are most valuable; web distribution options; and high-impact, affordable marketing tactics)  

Hand-outs and examples of supporting materials will be provided. As needed, the instructor will also make recommendations for outside reading resources. 

Register for this class.

4. Webinar #3: Wednesday, October 15, 2014 - 7:30-9PM ET (90 min)



The screenwriter is the specific person responsible for putting the words to the page that will tell the story. However, all of the lead creative roles on the short film – including the director and producer – are essential to the storytelling process. Takeaways from this webinar for filmmakers specializing in writing, directing or producing will include:

  • How to effectively brainstorm as a team ahead of the “pre-production” phase of a short film
  • Collaborative tactics to embrace valuable feedback from all sources and seek outside neutral validation on the soundness of the story’s structure, plot and characters 
  • Screenwriting tips on script formatting, structure and key elements to develop characters and a plot that quickly engage a short film audience 

Hand-outs and examples of supporting materials will be provided. As needed, the instructor will also make recommendations for outside reading resources. 

Register for this class.

5. Webinar #4: Wednesday, October 29, 2014 - 7:30-9PM ET (90 min)



This webinar will give guidance not only to those interested in directing their own short films, but also to writers, producers, actors, directors of photography and camera crew on how to effectively work with a film’s director in a collaborative effort by gaining a better understanding for the role the director plays; and how to be selective about the projects they work on depending on the director’s attitude, openness to total team involvement and commitment to completing a high-quality film in a set period of time. Specifically, attendees of webinar #4 will learn the following steps it takes to successfully direct a short film:

  • Important directing decisions and preparations to make ahead of starting a short film

  • How to recruit and select key creative team members who will deliver on the vision you intend for your film 

  • When to be strategic and practical; and when to set boundaries to allow for artistic and visual creative time in every phase of the production

  • When and how to take constructive feedback from team members and outside, credible sources for the ultimate benefit of the short film 

  • How to balance artistic vision with budgetary limitations

Hand-outs and examples of supporting materials will be provided. As needed, the instructor will also make recommendations for outside reading resources. 

Register for this class.