From a Single line to a Complete Film: The Magic lies in the Process!

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Where does a film emerge from? A story? No, A film emerges from a single line.

Every filmmaker or an aspiring filmmaker starts from the same point. What is your movie going to deal with? What is the tone of your movie? What is its concept? This is where everything starts and we see final products after a period of time.


The first step in creating what u want to create is finding your line. What is the concept that your film is going to deal with? It is the most important step. Because, when your base/ concept is bad,  there is no use in proceeding with your work. So honestly work on what your base is.

It can be an inspiration from anywhere and anything. But is must be true and deep. Is your inspiration worth turning in to a movie? Analyse your inspiration/base and then decide on what has to be done.

Among many short films that is pouring, let me take the example- “THE FORGOTTEN CUPID” by SAM PAUL. This short movie deals with the personified COFFEE MUG which once had importance in acting as a cupid for long and now has lost its importance. Interesting right?

When asked for its inspiration, he quoted an anecdote about how he saw a printed coffee mug lie lonely at the corner in a famous gift shop and how it was once used as a frequent gift.


Once you find an interesting and a convincing line, develop it. Developing your concept is the toughest part of the process. Your concept must evolve in such a way that it doesn’t affect the impact of your inspiration or concept. Never deviate your development from the core. The story that you develop must travel with the same intention as at the beginning of your core line. After you find your story, narrate and discuss it with people you know so that you can find the pros and cons of it. You can also get various criticisms that will help for further evolution and maturity in the script.


One question that must hit you before execution is-  “WHY THIS FILM?”

You must always know the purpose of your film and the purpose of doing it. Whom are you addressing it to? Who the audience is? This helps you find the pattern of execution and a better final product. Are you going to do this for film festivals? For youtube? For competitions? You must know the answer and act accordingly.

Taking the example of the same film “THE FORGOTTEN CUPID”, this film was actually made as a 3 min short film for Moviebuff. But, this one did not get through. It is actually obvious, because the 12 min version is now in Youtube, has proper depth around personified mug and eventually has more emotion to it. I am not able to imagine how the 3 min version would have worked in the first place. But the 12 min short film was so satisfying and gave proper impact with all perfect technicalities in place . Well, it was nice to see such silent films with much work and impact. But his start was for the Moviebuff that is actually weird.


After knowing your plot and its power, decide the way your film is going to be made. First know what your film demands. If your film demands lot of money, go for it, but make sure the film does justice to the money that is put in. Prepare a budget for the film and make sure you do optimum utilization of the budget. This is because we are able to see bad and mediocre content that are being made in a very high budget and that receives bad responses. Your short film must not be one of those. So do a very proper budgeting for your movie. 

But short films have no returns right? This is a very major fear for all short film makers. People are afraid to invest in short films because  of very low or zero returns. But when your content is unique and extraordinary, you do get returns and recognition from all over. This must be your goal, to make something unique, need not be extraordinary But it’s got to be unique. In the above mentioned film, the budget is set to be 1.25 lakhs. It seemed high for a short film. But if you see the film, you can find where the money is actually put in. The film is shot in RED camera, has perfect lighting,  nice blocking and shots. It is made to realize that all the money that is put in is to establish the MUG as the lead and convey its emotion perfectly. It was actually convincing.

Now taking abut people, Pull in people who meet your mind. Identical minds bring out good products.  Group in your editor, cameraman, assistants and other crew who support you genuinely. Small chaos in the crew can lead to greater loss. Concentrate on casting, on actors who can bring your dream to reality. Only proper performances can bring out your clear vision. Never compromise on artists as that will reflect on  the quality of the film.

Proper pre production and locations without any compromise is another important detail to be noted. Be it a single location film or a travel film, choose your location perfectly. Proper and concentrated pre production will help in smooth execution.


After your shoot, spend more and sufficient time on your post production. Everything that you do after the shoot must be in the same mood that initially was your idea. The edit, the music. The tone of dub, the sound mix, everything contributes equally to the mood and impact of your film.

This short film had everything in place. The music and the edit contributed heavily to the final product and it created a good impact.

The final step is to release your product. Reaching the masses is the primal aim of your film, so work and market it in such a way that it reaches your audience. Since there are a plenty of short films releasing from various sources, make sure your film acquires a place among the masses and their hearts.

There is always a process in doing things. Follow and go by the process, there is always a positive result if you know the whole syllabus.

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