How to Make a Pro Sci-Fi Short With a Small Budget

Writer and director Ryan Connolly, over at Film Riot, wanted to challenge himself to see if he and his crew could turn out a realistic, action-packed, science fiction short film with no script, three hundred dollars, and a whole lot of help from his friends. But, to be clear, when I say, "Pro Sci-Fi Short," there is an emphasis pro. If you're like me, a weekend, amateur filmmaker at best, don't expect this video to give you all you need to rock out this kind of content. I mean the gear alone is enough to make your head swoon and would obviously have put them way, way, way... way over budget if they had to purchase it. Not to mention the technical and creative prowess needed to pull off the planning, shooting, editing, and special effects are again, nothing short of pro. It takes years of experience to amass this kind of competence, and mastery. All that being said, Connolly and his crew make it look easy. If you are dedicated enough to have progressed to the level of "serious filmmaker" then the step-by-step insights you can gain from this behind-the-scenes video are invaluable. And if you're not there yet, watching this short just may inspire you to get there.

[via Film Riot]

Log in or register to post comments


Lee Morris's picture

This is really incredible. There is no excuse why more indie filmmakers are getting features into theaters.

Kenn Tam's picture

I agree. It's sick what people are turning out these days. I so badly want to start making video content but have so so much to learn.

Jeff Colburn's picture

The Film Riot people make great movies and tutorial. I love those guys and gals.

Have Fun,

Johnny Rico's picture

What is "Pro Sci-Fi Short"?

Kenn Tam's picture

Me being lazy and opinionated I suppose, as I consider this to be a, professional grade science fiction short film. :)

Johnny Rico's picture

Wouldn't professional be of Hollywood quality and not Indie. This being Indie. I don't get the need to slap Pro in front of everything to make one sound better.

Kenn Tam's picture

That's a pretty narrow view of professional, no? A lot of independent filmmakers are pros and I think the Film Riot crew definitely fit that bill.

Johnny Rico's picture

That's a very valid point. Just that the adjective pro makes makes me think of top tier which would be bigger things. Kind of like how you have professionals that shoot those crappy local used car dealership ads. Professionals, but I wouldn't refer to it as pro work. Once you add the qualifier pro I instantly think what is the top tier in that genre, mainly just semantics.

Greg Hastain's picture

I don't mean to denigrate this project because I think it's super cool, but for him to say "Can we, with the help of some friends *and no budget at all* make an exciting and interesting sci-fi action film" Seems pretty disingenuous considering they are using ~$50k worth of equipment.

Spy Black's picture

I agree about the hardware, but generally speaking, you should be able to do this with whatever gear you have. It would also be interesting (and/or incredibly frustrating) to do a project like this with the free versions of Blackmagic's DaVinci Resolve and Fusion. You can also use Blender 3D for additional freebie post production resources.

Ralph Hightower's picture

Two thumbs up!