May 28, 2024
Brendan Geier

Brendan Geier Discusses Independent Filmmaking: A Guide to Creating Your First Short Film

Brendan Geier, an independent filmmaker from Madison, New Jersey knows what it takes to bring a short film from concept to screen. With experience in various aspects of filmmaking and a deep appreciation for the art, Brendan guides aspiring filmmakers through the essential steps, providing insights that will help them turn their creative visions into reality. Whether you’re a budding director or just curious about the filmmaking process, this guide is a valuable resource for anyone looking to create their first short film.

Independent filmmaking has become an increasingly accessible avenue for aspiring filmmakers to share their stories with the world. With advances in technology and a growing array of distribution platforms, creating a short film has never been easier. However, making a short film involves more than just grabbing a camera and shooting a few scenes. It requires careful planning, storytelling skills, budgeting, and strategic distribution.

Brendan Geier Explains Step 1: Developing a Concept and Story

Every successful short film starts with a compelling concept. Your idea should be original, engaging, and suitable for a short format. Here’s how to develop a concept and build a strong story:

Finding Inspiration

Inspiration for a short film can come from anywhere—personal experiences, news stories, books, or even dreams. Consider what themes or messages you’d like to convey and what emotions you want to evoke in your audience. Brendan Geier suggests keeping a notebook or digital document to jot down ideas as they come to you.

Writing the Script

A well-written script is the backbone of any short film. Start by outlining your story’s key elements, including the main characters, setting, and plot structure. Keep in mind that a short film typically runs between 5 and 20 minutes, so focus on a single story or theme to avoid overcomplicating the narrative.

When writing your script, consider the following:

  • Character Development: Even in a short film, it’s important to create relatable and believable characters.
  • Conflict and Resolution: Brendan Geier says it’s important to ensure your story has a clear conflict and resolution, which will give it structure and momentum.
  • Visual Storytelling: Short films rely heavily on visual elements, so think about how to tell your story through images, not just dialogue.

Step 2: Budgeting and Fundraising

Budgeting is a critical aspect of independent filmmaking. It helps you determine the resources you’ll need and plan accordingly. Here’s how to create a budget and explore fundraising options:

Creating a Budget

Your budget should cover all the expenses involved in making your short film. This includes:

  • Equipment: Camera, lighting, sound, and other technical gear.
  • Locations: Rental fees, permits, and transportation costs.
  • Cast and Crew: Payment for actors, directors, cinematographers, and other crew members.
  • Post-Production: Editing software, sound design, color correction, and other post-production costs.
  • Marketing and Distribution: Costs associated with promoting and distributing your film.

Brendan Geier of Madison, New Jersey says to be realistic about your budget and account for unexpected expenses. It’s better to overestimate than to run out of funds midway through production.

Fundraising Options

There are several ways to fund an independent short film, including:

  • Self-Funding: Using your own money to finance the project.
  • Crowdfunding: Platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo allow you to raise funds from a community of supporters.
  • Grants and Competitions: Some organizations offer grants or hold competitions for independent filmmakers, providing funding opportunities.
  • Sponsorships and Partnerships: Partnering with local businesses or sponsors to support your film.

Brendan Geier

Step 3: Assembling Your Team and Pre-Production

Assembling a talented team is crucial to the success of your short film. This involves finding the right cast and crew and planning the logistics of your shoot:

Assembling Your Crew

Identify key crew members, such as a director of photography, sound technician, production designer, and editor. If you’re on a tight budget, consider multi-tasking or hiring individuals with diverse skills.


Brendan Geier of Madison, New Jersey explains that holding auditions or using casting agencies to find the right actors for your film is essential. Consider the chemistry between actors and their ability to bring your characters to life.

Location Scouting

Scout for locations that fit your story and are accessible for filming. Be sure to obtain the necessary permits and permissions for shooting.

Creating a Production Schedule

Brendan Geier suggests developing a detailed production schedule that outlines the shooting days, locations, and crew assignments. A well-organized schedule helps ensure a smooth filming process.

Step 4: Filming and Post-Production

With your pre-production complete, it’s time to start filming. Here’s what to focus on during production and post-production:


During filming, pay attention to:

  • Quality: Ensure your camera and sound equipment are set up correctly for high-quality footage.
  • Continuity: Keep track of continuity to maintain consistency between shots.
  • Safety: Follow safety protocols on set to prevent accidents or injuries.


In post-production, you’ll edit your footage, add sound, and finalize the film. Consider:

  • Editing: Use editing software to cut your film and create a cohesive narrative.
  • Sound Design: Add music, sound effects, and dialogue to enhance the viewing experience.
  • Color Correction: Adjust the color and lighting to achieve the desired aesthetic.

Step 5: Distribution and Promotion

Once your short film is complete, it’s time to share it with the world. Consider the following distribution and promotion strategies:

Film Festivals

Brendan Geier of Madison, New Jersey says to submit your film to local, national, or international film festivals. This can provide exposure and networking opportunities.

Online Platforms

Upload your film to online platforms like YouTube or Vimeo, where it can reach a wide audience.

Social Media Promotion

Use social media to promote your film and engage with your audience. Share behind-the-scenes content, teasers, and updates to build anticipation.

Press and Media

Reach out to local media outlets and film blogs to generate interest in your film. Write press releases and create promotional materials to support your outreach efforts.


Creating your first short film is an exciting journey that requires careful planning, creativity, and perseverance. By following these steps and focusing on budgeting, storytelling, and distribution, you can bring your vision to life and share it with the world. Remember to stay flexible, collaborate with your team, and embrace the learning process. Brendan Geier of Madison, New Jersey explains that with dedication and passion, your first short film can be a rewarding experience that sets the stage for your future in independent filmmaking.