Small Town Filmmaking Tips From Raindance Film Festival

I got this email out of the blue this afternoon. I was quite touched. My new email buddy Chase wants some small town filmmaking tips!

Dear Mr Grove,

My name is Chase, I recently read your article online, “19 Great Ways To Brainstorm Short Film Ideas“, and I enjoyed it a lot. I am a very young, 15-year old filmmaker, and I enjoy the art of cinema and the production of it a lot. I run a small off-the-books company called Reduce Studios, with a staff made up of friends and close acquaintances. We have made a few shorts, but have reached a point in where my ideas are centred around full-length films and not short 10-15 minute productions.

I am trying to use the K.I.S.S method, but my ideas are too elaborate and I don’t want to fall when I can’t create them. I need some tips on ways to create very simple, short ideas in my small town of Bayfield, Colorado, with limited location and production value.

Thank you for your inquiry.

CEO, Reduce Studios

Dear Chase

Thanks for reaching out, and well done with the Facebook and Youtube channel.

A few pointers: Why not use actual pictures on your Facebook page? You are an ’emerging visual content creator’. Surely you will have pictures of your crew making films? Try to get pictures showing your happy people doing happy things.

As for the actual movie process, one way is to use our Low Budget Story Tools resource. Basically, make a list of all the stuff and people that you can get for free.

small town filmmaking tipsOnce you have that, see if you can cook up a story!

Essentially you want to create stories with limited locations and limited actors. Think stage play if you like. And look at classic micro-budget films like Paranormal Activity and the Blair Witch Project.

If you have time, keep an eye on the short film competitions we run at Raindance. Who knows, a film you make might end up showing at Europe’s largest independent film festival in the heart of London’s theatreland!

Here’s our current one. And there is still time to submit!


Hope this helps and Yours in Filmmaking

Elliot Grove

PS to readers: You might want to follow Chase on Facebook here



Photo Credit David Martinez / BIFA 2018

Few people know more filmmakers and screenwriters than Elliot Grove. Elliot is the founder of Raindance Film Festival (1993) and the British Independent Film Awards (1998). He has produced over 700 hundred short films and five feature films: the multi-award-winning The Living and the Dead (2006), Deadly Virtues (2013), AMBER (2017), Love is Thicker Than Water (2018) and the SWSX Grand Jury Prize winner Alice (2019). He teaches screenwriting and producing in the UK, Europe, Asia and America.

Raindance BREXiT trailer 2019

Elliot has written three books which have become industry standards: Raindance Writers’ Lab: Write + Sell the Hot Screenplay, now in its second edition, Raindance Producers’ Lab: Lo-To-No Budget Filmmaking and Beginning Filmmaking: 100 Easy Steps from Script to Screen (Professional Media Practice).

In 2009 he was awarded a PhD for services to film education.

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