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From Short Film to Feature: Navigating the Filmmaking Journey

Updated: Mar 30

a note from Carlos


BTS Image from the film "Big Man", Actor Karlton Ross,, Photographer: Andre "Dammitdre" Buchanan


The Launchpad: Filming a Short


Embarking on the journey of filmmaking is akin to setting sail on a vast sea of creativity, where every wave presents a new challenge and every gust of wind carries the promise of opportunity. For aspiring filmmakers, the road to crafting a feature film can be both exhilarating and daunting. However, one navigational beacon that many have found invaluable along this journey is the creation of a short film.


A short film serves as a launchpad for aspiring filmmakers, providing a condensed canvas upon which to hone their storytelling skills, experiment with different techniques, and showcase their artistic vision. In many ways, it serves as a microcosm of the larger feature film, offering a glimpse into the filmmaker's style and potential.


 

BTS Image from the film "Big Man", (Left ) Actress: Erinn Jones, (Right) Actor: Karlton Ross, Photographer: Andre "Dammitdre" Buchanan


BTS Image from the film "Big Man", 1st AC Linden Gonzales, Photographer: Andre "Dammitdre" Buchanan

 

Benefits of Starting Small


1. Creative Exploration: Crafting a short film allows filmmakers to explore various themes, genres, and storytelling approaches in a more manageable format. It provides the freedom to take risks, experiment with unconventional ideas, and refine one's craft without the pressure of a feature-length narrative.


2. Learning Curve: Short films offer invaluable learning experiences, allowing filmmakers to navigate the technical and logistical aspects of production on a smaller scale. From scriptwriting and directing to cinematography and editing, each stage presents an opportunity to learn, grow, and improve.


3. Showcasing Talent: Short films serve as calling cards for emerging filmmakers, providing a platform to showcase their talent, creativity, and unique voice to a wider audience. Festivals, online platforms, and networking events offer avenues for exposure and recognition, laying the groundwork for future opportunities.


 

The obstacles in the way


1. Scale: Filmmaking, even on a small scale, requires resources – be it equipment, crew, or funding. Securing the necessary resources for a short film can be challenging, requiring creative solutions, strategic planning, and often, sacrifices. A lot of factors can come into play when ironing out the needs of your story at a smaller scale. This is where you have to become crafty in your visual language and creativity in order to make your message clear at a smaller scale.

BTS Image from the film "Big Man", Carlos Bradley, SCC Photographer: Andre "Dammitdre" Buchanan



2. Constraints:

With the condensed format of a short film, filmmakers must make every frame count, effectively conveying their narrative within a limited timeframe. Balancing storytelling depth with brevity can be a delicate challenge, requiring careful planning and precise execution.

BTS Image from the film "Big Man", Director Edward Varnie Photographer: Andre "Dammitdre" Buchanan


3. Distribution and Exposure:

While creating a short film is a significant achievement in itself, gaining exposure and reaching a wider audience can be a hurdle. Navigating the competitive landscape of film festivals, online platforms, and industry connections requires persistence, networking, and strategic marketing efforts.


4. Money

Need I say more?

 

BTS Image from the film "Big Man", Actor: Karlton Ross , Photographer: Andre "Dammitdre" Buchanan

BTS Image from the film "Big Man", DP Carlos Bradley, SCC , Photographer: Andre "Dammitdre" Buchanan

 

Embracing the Journey


In conclusion, the road to making a feature film through the use of filming a short film is not without its obstacles, yet it is paved with countless opportunities for growth, creativity, and fulfillment. Aspiring filmmakers are encouraged to embrace the journey, to take risks, and to persist in the pursuit of their passion.


Every setback is a lesson learned, every success a milestone achieved. So, dare to dream, dare to create, and dare to embark on your own filmmaking journey. For it is in the pursuit of our dreams that we discover the true extent of our potential and the boundless possibilities that await us on the horizon. We will be launching a crowd-funding campaign soon to begin funding for the feature. More to come!


"All glory to God and peace on your filmmaking journey"


 

Carlos Bradley is an Atlanta based filmmaker, and the founder and President of the Society for Cinematographers of Color. His work can be seen on network digital platforms, and in various publications. Be sure to follow him on Twitter and Instagram and reach out — "I love meeting new filmmakers!"









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