How To Make A Short Film That Will Be Festival Worthy with Filmmaker Sheru Arora

Monday 25 March 2019

Today's interview is with guest Sheru Arora, who is a writer, director and producer who has had several of his short films showcased and selected at film festivals such as the 2017 Los Angeles CineFest and the 2016 Cannes Short Film Festival. 

So,if you'd like to know more about creating a brand as a filmmaker and the secret to creating a short that's worthy of being a festival official selection - then let's hand over to Into The Script's glamorous assistant Laila, and find out!

The short film “Orbiting Without Sugar” is the most recent project you’ve worked on as a producer. It was an Official Selection in festivals such as Cannes Short Film Corner, LA CineFest, among others. What are your tips for beginner filmmakers who want to get into festivals? 

Do your homework in advance. 

A lot of film festivals have guidelines that, if you don't meet, will automatically disqualify you from acceptance. 

Film length, max budget, language; if you pick the ones you want to go to before you go into production, you'll have a better shot of getting in. Also, keep it under 10 min.

Festivals like to screen as many films as possible and only have so much time in day. The shorter the better.

Why would you say branding is critical for filmmakers, actors, and anybody who works in the film industry?

 It’s crucial in all industries - ALL!

Just pick any item off the shelf – Coca Cola, Apple, Pedigree; they know their market and design both their advertising style and their merchandise for them. 

The same goes for an artist.

When you think of Tim Burton you think of A Nightmare Before Christmas or Beetlejuice, Christopher Nolan Memento or Inception, Angelina Jolie you think sexy and tough.

I can promise you Jay-Z isn't wearing pin stripe suits and smoking cigars while rocking his kids to sleep, and Pitbull isn't on a yacht party every weekend - he's almost 40 and constantly working!

He can't drown his genius in alcohol and women every night, but when you hear his music, that's what you wanna do. 

That's the brand doing its thing!

Figure out your brand and do it better than anybody else.

One for the writers: writing a short script can be challenging, especially for self-producers on a budget. What lessons would you share with fellow writers and producers who want to write a quality, affordable film without dealing with future production issues?  

Real geniuses can create within limits.

2 characters, one location, 7 minutes.

Anybody can sell tickets with explosions and CGI but can you afford it?

Some of the best films were simple - just watch 12 Angry Men!

You have not only written and directed your upcoming project, “Killing McCarren”, but also starred in it. Your life on set must be hectic. How do you organise and manage all your tasks with a bustling schedule?    

1. Delegate!

On a proper production there's a body for every job, so do the same. Give the bigger jobs to experienced pros and smaller to friends and PAs.    

2. Plan ahead, plan ahead, PLAN AHEAD!

Know your shots, know when and how you're doing them, schedule your day to the hour; nothing runs smooth if you wing it. When one aspect of production is slacking, everything is affected.  

3. Set the tone in advance. 

The professionals know their deal, but smaller productions tend to employ friends and family which will very quickly turn your time sensitive film production to a Saturday afternoon hang out.

Make sure everyone is aware and on the same page as you from the start. Otherwise, tempers will fly and crew will quit.

What would you say is the best lesson you’ve learnt from working in film? It’s okay if it’s a harsh truth – we’d love to know. 

Patience & persistence is the golden key to all the successes you ever wish to achieve.

I live by that rule.

Let that be what fuels you and keeps you humble.  Without either, you might as well quit

If you would like to find out more about Sheru, please check out his social media profiles below!


Laila Resende: I'm a 20-year-old freelance copywriter and a Feature Writer and Social Media Assistant at Into The Script. My insatiable passion for movies and blogging got me here. I share all of Into The Script's news on my Instagram page (@lailarsnde) and Facebook.

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