This year's BAFTA-nominated filmmakers on how to make an award-winning short film...

BAFTA SHORTS 2017 HERO
Oscar-winner and short film fan Eddie Redmayne introduced the BAFTA Shorts 2017  premiere

Oscar-winner and short film fan Eddie Redmayne introduced the BAFTA Shorts 2017  premiere

Have you ever wanted to write or direct a short film but don't know where to start or how to fund it? Do you have a finished work but no idea how to get your story out there?

We've compiled a list of handy hints inspired by the filmmakers and producers behind this year's innovative BAFTA-nominated British Short Film and British Short Animation award nominees.

At the shorts premiere in January, introduced by Oscar-winner Eddie Redmayne, we were lucky enough to hear behind-the-scenes insights from the talent involved, and we're passing on this valuable insider know-how.

 Watch all 8 shorts exclusively online on Curzon Home Cinema to see the best of the last 12 months, and check out their tips below. You can get more in-depth industry advice from exciting voices in film with BAFTA Guru

11 TOP TOPS FOR MAKING AN
ACCLAIMED SHORT film

  1. NETWORK, NETWORK, NETWORK
    Making a short film involves getting a team of like-minded filmmakers together, from writers to producers and animators. 2017’s nominees met their collaborators at friend’s parties, drama workshops and even on a plane to Sundance! 
     
  2. GET CREATIVE WITH BUDGETS
    Costs of short films can vary greatly, from around £2000 for a student production, to expensive multi-location shoots and self-funded projects. Richard John Seymour, writer/director of nominated short ‘Consumed’, came from a non-film background and didn’t have access to many resources, so started a crowdfunding campaign. Other producers contacted NGOs to support their politically-themed work. 
     
  3. SIMPLIFY YOUR STORY
    Don’t try to cram in all your ideas into one short. The director of ‘A Love Story’, Anushka Kishani Naanayakkara, worked with her writer to use a beat sheet (story sequence) to condense the narrative into 5 simple ‘beats’, with a key image to sum up each on, and Post Its to plan this. 
     
  4. CLEAR MUSIC RIGHTS
    Want to use your favourite artist’s new track in your short? Getting permission - and budgeting for this - is essential. Charlotte Regan knew that Skepta’s rap song ‘Shut Down’ was perfect for her short ‘Standby’, and made sure the rights were cleared for commercial use.
     
  5. PLAN YOUR FILMING SCHEDULE
    Schedule your shoot in detail and stick to it as much as possible with cast and crew. From 2 days to make a 5-minute student short, to 5 weeks to get enough documentary footage, and 5 hectic days to film the ambitious refugee story ‘Home’ - be realistic.
     
  6. DELEGATE!
    Learn to relinquish control when needed, and trust the talented team you have around you, advises Jac Clinch, director of 'The Alan Dimension'. For her time consuming stop-motion story, Anushka spent over 2 weeks training animators to work with her puppets, to complete the project faster.
The BAFTA Shorts 2017 nominees at the premiere on 26 January (L-R Anushka Kishani Naanayakkara, Daniel Mulloy, Andrea Harkin, Jack Hannon, Richard John Seymour, Samir Mehanovic, Jac Clinch, Jennifer Zheng and interviewer Danny Leigh

The BAFTA Shorts 2017 nominees at the premiere on 26 January (L-R Anushka Kishani Naanayakkara, Daniel Mulloy, Andrea Harkin, Jack Hannon, Richard John Seymour, Samir Mehanovic, Jac Clinch, Jennifer Zheng and interviewer Danny Leigh

7. USE YOUR INITIATIVE
Any filmmaker will encounter challenges mid-shoot, and have to solve unexpected problems. When filming his documentary about Chinese production, Richard had to pretend he was interested in buying items for the factories in order to get permission to film in this secretive environment.

8. ALLOW FOR EDITING TIME
Now you have your footage and have finished the shoot - great! But don’t underestimate the time it can take to finish editing your work, and factor this into festival submission deadlines. You could be two weeks full time on a 5 minute student short, or 4 months on a complex international project with many collaborators, as with ‘Home’. 

9. ASK FOR FEEDBACK
Show your work to people you trust, and with your best interest in mind –  get their honest feedback, even if you don’t want to hear it! Make sure you submit your best quality work to festivals, you may only get one chance. 

10. HAVE A FESTIVAL STRATEGY
Submitting to festivals can be an expensive business. Do you research and select the right ones for your film based on their audience, and be prepared for rejection. Make your submission even more professional by creating materials such as a trailer, quality stills and press details in advance. Your work could premiere at Cannes or Sundance, like some of this year's nominees. 

11. NURTURE INDUSTRY RELATIONSHIPS
Finally, try and develop contacts with festival programmers and directors ahead of submission deadlines to be top of their list. If they see your short at another event, they may approach you to submit and you could avoid the submission fees. 

GOOD LUCK – WE HOPE TO SEE YOU ON THE SHORTLIST FOR FUTURE BAFTA AWARDS!

WANT TO FIND OUT MORE?

Our friends at BAFTA Guru have interviewed the emerging and established talent behind 2017's award shortlist, to give you even more inspiration to make your BAFTA-nominated short film.  Get your work from script to screen and into the festival spotlight with industry insights, from to budgeting to editing and distribution. Watch all the videos here


Don't forget to check out the official BAFTA Shorts trailer to take you on a rollercoaster ride through the imaginations of the BAFTA winners of the future:

Watch all  8  BAFTA-nominated shorts exclusively online here on Curzon Home Cinema, brought to you in partnership with American Airlines. 

The winners will be announced at the EE British Academy Film Awards on Sunday 12 February.