I’m a post production artist in Chicago. I mostly stick to editing, motion graphics and VFX’s, But recently I’ve done something different. I’ve written a short film! Most of the paper work is done– Storyboards, Shot list, Prop List, even a Budget.

Now I’m stuck and I’m not sure what the next step is. Any advice?

–Charles J. Williams

You have all the successful elements for a great short film, Charles. Now all you need are the people.

Video is an art that demands collaboration.  Unless you’re shooting scenery or possibly your cat, you’re going to need other humans to help you shoot.

In the simplest film collaborations, the other people are your subjects.  But if you’re doing anything more ambitious than shooting a couple of people talking, you’ll also need collaborators to find locations, help with the lighting, record sound, find the props, cast the background actors, handle the money, shoot an extra camera and more.  It takes a village to shoot a movie.

Obviously these people will help do a lot of work when the time comes to shoot. Less obviously, just the act of getting them signed on to the job will help unstick you. You’ll have to explain what you’re planning, step by step, to everyone you talk to.  The ensuing discussion will force you to re-think and clarify your video.  They, in turn, will poke holes in your plan, question your creative and, if they’re the right people, provide ideas and answers you would never have come up with on your own.

I used to resent having to explain everything over and over to crew, clients, financiers or networks.  I mean, it took so much time.  But now I understand it as a key part of the process.  It gives me an opportunity to consider my work from other points of view, make it better through the input of others, and meet great collaborators I enjoy working with time and again.

And more than once the mere act of asking for help has gotten me unstuck.


Hey, are you following me on Twitter?  You probably should.  In addition to video, I tweet about beer a lot.  And beer is good.

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