So you’ve got your short film idea and script. Now you need to plan out how you’re going to get it made. That’s where the short film business plan comes in.

A short film business plan is a document that outlines all of the aspects of your production, from start to finish.

Short Film Business Plan

What Is A short film business plan?

A short film business plan is a document that describes in detail how your short film is going to be made.

You may have heard of a business plan being used for other types of businesses, but you may wonder why you need one for something as small and simple as a short film.

The fact is, even though making a short film is not as big or complicated as making a feature, it is still a major project with many moving parts and people involved.

You are still making something from scratch and you are still spending money to do so. That’s why you need a short film business plan.

The main purpose of this plan is to get your short film off the ground. It will help you find financing and investors for your project, which are necessary to make sure that everything goes smoothly throughout the production process.



What Is A Short Film Business Plan?

A short film business plan is a road map for your entire production. It is a living document and should be updated during the film production.

Think of it as the roadmap to success on your short film project.

It can help you to:

  • Raise short film finance
  • Attract investors
  • Increase your chances of success

The purpose of a short film business plan is to summarize the potential of your project and describe how you intend to generate profits from it.

Often investors and other stakeholders will want to see some type of business plan prior to making a decision on investing in your project.

Film Business Plan Template

A film business plan template is a document that outlines the plans for a film project and how it will be carried out.

The business plan documents all of the information relevant to the production, including the finance, marketing, and distribution aspects of the film. A film business plan template should also include a summary of the script, details about cast and crew, and a brief biography for each

A film business plan template should contain details of the project’s budgets based on estimates of its costs, research into the industry and market areas, and potential profits.

It is also common for investors to ask for a synopsis of the film’s plot so that they can have an idea of what they are investing in. Film business plans often include details about similar films that have been made previously and their success rate, as well as information on any other films that are planned to be released around the same time frame as yours.


The business plan should also detail where you expect your audience to come from, what kind of advertising is going to be used to promote the project, who your target audience is going to be and how you expect to generate revenue through ticket sales or DVD sales. 

This can help potential investors decide whether or not they are interested in investing in your project or if they think it is likely to succeed.

Structure Your Short Film As A Business

There are many similarities between the independent film and music industries, since both are largely built on passion and word of mouth. But the film industry is also a business, and if you want to make a living from it, you need to treat it as one.

A film career can be a daunting one to pursue due to the fact that there is no set path or even any guarantees that your hard work will ever pay off. You have to take responsibility for your own success.

Any artist knows that creating something is only half of the process; you also have to be able to sell it and distribute it in order for it to find an audience and generate revenue. 

Film companies are already difficult enough to work with, so why make it more difficult on yourself? One effective way to open doors in Hollywood is by treating your short film like a business.

Do your research before you start writing and filming so that you know what you’re selling. Be prepared with a clear distribution plan because distributors don’t want just a good film – they want an easy sell as well.

Your short film should be structured around this key component — a great concept. The most important thing about your script is its concept, so be sure that it’s unique, exciting, and well-written.

What Is Included In A Film Business Plan?

Every business plan is unique and will vary depending on the nature and scope of your project. There are, however, some basic template plans that can be used as a starting point for your film business plan.

The following is a list of topics you should include in any well-written business plan:

  • Executive Summary: The executive summary describes the business’s mission, primary audience, target market, and products or services being offered. It also includes the organization’s financial goals and objectives as well as projected sales information and marketing strategies.
  • Description of Company or Product: This section describes your organization or the product you are selling. Include any relevant details about your company including its history, founders and management team, as well as an overview of the product or service being offered; also include detailed descriptions of what makes your product or service unique from competitors.
  • Description of Market: Begin by describing the total size of the market you are pursuing. Next explain how many segments exist within this market and how you will serve each segment.

Short Film Marketing Strategy

It’s easy to make a list of the things you think you need for your film, but figuring out how much it will cost is a different story. The first step in getting your film funded is coming up with a budget and an idea of how much money you’re going to need.

I’ve met many people who have gone through the process of trying to get their films made only to be left with a raw deal and no money.

To help keep you on track, we’ve created a short film budget template with six different categories to help you figure out your budgeting needs.

Genre of film

First-time filmmakers often underestimate the production costs of their projects because they don’t understand the differences in what it takes to make a documentary versus a narrative fiction film


Your project’s genre can have an enormous impact on many aspects of the production process — for example, a narrative fiction project will incur more costs than if it were to be shot as a documentary.

Script Length

If your script is 100 pages long, don’t expect it to be shot in ten days like most short films are. 

Every page in your script equates to at least one minute of screen time — a 100 page script would take at least 20 minutes to shoot.  

Factor in additional days for casting, crew prep and location scouting, and you could easily see why a 100 page script would require anywhere from 30-60 days to shoot.

Short Film Budget Template

The Film and TV Industry is a big and dynamic place. There are many ways to make films, and the budgets can range anywhere from under $10,000 to over $1 Million.

The costs for a short film will usually fall somewhere in between those figures.

Trying to figure out how much a short film will cost you? Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered! 

Here’s a breakdown of how much it might cost you to produce your film.

You’ll be surprised at how little some films cost.

If you’re planning on hiring cast and crew members, renting equipment, or using locations then you definitely need at least $10,000 to make it happen.

If you plan on doing everything yourself then $5,000-$10,000 might be plenty if your equipment is minimal and you don’t have any locations. 

Film Budget Template (PDF)

Crew costs are an important factor in the total budget for any film project because it will affect many other areas of the production. Your crew is going to be one of your biggest expenses so make sure you get them right by hiring experienced people who are reliable and professional.

It’s better to have less crew members that you know will deliver quality work than a ton of people who are struggling and not getting the job done!

Short Film Funding

Short film funding is a difficult task, no matter what. Producing a short film requires much more than just the money that you need for production.

You need money for all the post-production costs, marketing, and distribution as well. A lot of people think that because it’s a short film, they can do it on their own and save some money.

But unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. A lot of times when people are trying to produce their own short films or documentaries without any financial aid, they fail miserably because they don’t have the right crew and equipment to get the job done.

If you are a director who has been working with really small budgets, you should start looking into getting some financial aid for your next project. It will give you the freedom of producing something you really want to do without compromising so much on the quality of the project.

One tip  on how to find short film funding. Is to identify your target audience. 

You need to know who your target audience is before you can market your film somewhere. You need to make sure that whatever source of funding you choose will be able to provide you with an audience for your movie.

This way, when you get the funding for your short film.

Short Film Production

A short film production is a fascinating process. It is a realization of an idea into a product and an investment of time, energy, and money.

Making a short film is not an easy task. It takes some effort, and it takes some planning.

A well-made short film can be an excellent calling card for any aspiring filmmaker, as well as a source of joy for the audience that views it. Truly great films – those that become timeless classics – are few and far between.

However, there are some common characteristics that truly great films share, regardless of genre or style. Understanding these traits can help you make a short film that will stand the test of time and enjoy widespread popularity with audiences.

  • A Sense of Style: While the underlying subject matter may be serious or emotional, the best short films infuse their stories with an element of style. Ultimately, this sense of style comes down to good storytelling technique, which must be carefully crafted to engage viewers in a limited amount of time.
  • A Sense of Humor: Humor is often an undervalued element in filmmaking, but it can be one of the most important elements in creating a truly memorable short film. Humor makes even the most serious situations more bearable for audiences.

Close Film Investors

What’s the quickest way to get your film funded? Film Investors.

The first step in getting your film funded is coming up with a budget and an idea of how much money you’re going to need. I’ve met many people who have gone through the process of trying to get their films made only to be left with a raw deal and no money.

The more money you have to make your film, the more freedom you will have and the better results you can get. With that being said, there are some great films that were made for very little money.

But for each of those successes there are many more films that never got made because they couldn’t raise enough money.

Short Film Revenue Predictions

Let’s take a look at the numbers for films with budgets of $1-5 million. These are the films that the Producers Guild defines as low budget and the Screen Actors Guild defines as micro budget.

What do they predict? 

Intrepid Pictures, a short film production company, predicts $2.7 billion in revenue from short films in 2015, up from just $1 billion in 2010. Additionally, they predict that North America will produce $1 billion of that total figure and all other countries will produce $1.7 billion.

In 2012, North America produced just over $500 million and all other countries produced almost $1.6 billion. This shows an upward trend for North America and an upward trend for all other countries outside of it.

Is this growth sustainable?

Well, it depends on how you look at it. If you compare the growth to 2010 where short film revenues were only $1 billion then yes, they are sustainable.

However, if you compare them to 2012 where short film revenues were growing but still only reached $500 million then no, they are not sustainable, since growth is slowing down. 

Short Film Production Forms

Here’s a link to the famous short film production forms. I’m sure you’ve all seen these before, but in case you haven’t, or if you are interested in a different aspect of the film industry then please read on.

This is a set of forms which can be used by a film producer to help structure the early stages of any short film production. Most of us have probably been involved in some kind of short film production at some time, so we know that it is all too easy for things to get out of control.

These forms are intended to help keep everything organised and make sure that everyone is clear about their roles and responsibilities on the team. These forms should be used by all members of the filmmaking crew and anyone else who is involved in making the film.

These pages have been designed so that they can be printed off, filled in, and then submitted as part of the planning documents for any short movie production. 

Obviously there will be variations from project to project, but hopefully these forms will prove useful as a basis for your own personalised versions.

If you would like to suggest any other useful additions or amendments to these forms then please just let me know through the contact form on my blog.

Short Film Contracts

Short film contracts are generally a legal agreement between the producer and director of the film, or between the producer and a writer for a film script. A short film contract should be used if there is any money involved in the production of the film, or if any work is being done in the name of the company.

How to Write Short Film Contracts

When writing short film contracts, it is important to make sure that all parties involved have signed on to do labor in exchange for money. 

It is also important to make sure that each party has signed on willingly.

If a party feels like they are being forced into signing a contract, it should be redone so that both sides agree on what will happen in regards to their agreements.

 It is also important to note that there should not be any technical terms included in short film contracts.

This means that words like producer and director should not be used when describing those people who have agreed to work on a film project. 

This can cause problems down the road because different people interpret these titles differently, which may lead one side to think one thing while another thinks something else entirely.

Short Film Distribution

A few years ago, a friend of mine was selected to attend the Sundance Film Festival. He was a producer on a short film that was chosen to screen at the festival, and he was one of three producers who received an all expenses paid trip to Utah for the event.

I asked him how to go about distributing his film after the festival and his answer surprised me. He said, “I have no idea what to do.”

What followed was a confusing conversation about distribution — he wasn’t sure if he wanted to show his film online or in theaters. 

He didn’t know how to find an audience or how much it would cost; he hadn’t researched any aspect of distribution. 

Distribution is not an easy task, but it’s also not hard if you know where you want to show your film (theaters or online), if you have a plan for reaching your audience, and if you’re willing to do some work once your film is ready for viewing.

I’m going to focus on the first step — how do you decide where you want your film distributed?

The two main options are showing your film online or in theaters. If you have a good reason for focusing on one over the other, such as wanting to reach as many people as possible then focus on online.

Short Film Business Plan Wrap Up

So now you’ve got a business plan for your film. Hurray! 

But, how do you plan to implement it? What exactly will you do to acquire financing and make this film?

Well, the first step is to take some time and really think about what an independent film is.

Write down the answers to these questions:

  • What kind of equipment do I need?
  • How much am I looking at spending on equipment?
  • Where can I get the financing for my equipment?
  • Do I have any connections with people who can help me get the equipment at a discount?
  • What other locations or things am I going to need to secure in order to make my movie happen?
  • How much am I looking at spending on locations and things?
  • Where can I get the financing for those things and locations?
  • Do I have any connections with people who can help me out with my locations and things at a discount? 
  • Who else is going to be involved in making this movie happen besides me? 
  • Are they working for free or are they getting paid as well? 
  • If so, how much are they getting paid?