How to make a short film… !

Ok this isnt really a guide on how to make a short film, obviously. The real way to make a short film is to… make your own a short film.

But what I can do is show you how I planned my short film ‘Ekki Mukk’.

The video below is what I call an ‘animatic’. Its an animation of the sketches I first drew, scanned and then cut to music to make a rough plan of how I wanted “Ekki Mukk’ to flow.

In terms of action, very little happens in the film. And yet, a lot of big themes, life/death/love/etc etc are all present in the brief story.

I knew it was not going to be a very ‘verbal’ piece, also the music by Sigur Ros was very strong in any case, and I wanted to work with that, not against it.

So I had written my script as a short story of sorts, from the Man’s point of view, and then I drew a load of sketches of the angles and so on that I imagined filming, as every aspect of where you put the camera, what kind of lens you use, and so on, tells the story with a different emphasis. Then I scanned my drawings and cut them together over the original Sigur Ros music.

note 1 : I cannot draw…!

note 2 : I can draw enough to show the kind of body language, eye lines, camera movements and so on that I was hoping would tell the story the way I wanted to tell it. These drawings are very simple, but that is exactly what I needed – clear,

After this months of ridiculous work occurred which changed everything – and, in retrospect, really changed very little… I think this was because I knew what I wanted at the core of the film, and the details that did change didn’t matter too much really – for instance, the film was going to start with a sequence involving a cow, which I would still love to shoot (!) but which would have been a ‘health and safety’ nightmare, having a cow left unattended above a busy road, and since we were shooting the film on a tiny budget, the sequence got dropped! … but one day, you’ll see, I’ll shoot it!

‘Ekki Mukk’ animatic from nicholas abrahams on Vimeo.

Compare it with the finished article:

Sigur Rós – Ekki múkk from Sigur Rós Valtari Mystery Films on Vimeo.

I hope that’s of some interest to some of you out there – and gives hope to people who don’t feel they can draw!! This was a really useful tool to show people (even if they thought I was bonkers).

Also I drew things that were what I hoped would be filmed – the magic happened when, for instance, the actor and fox interacted and … well, that is cinema.