How to make money off your short film: A guide.

If you, like many filmmakers, are wondering how to make money with a short film, you’re in the right place.

Creating short films can be incredibly expensive. Even simple movies can cost thousands of dollars to produce. To complicate things further, short films aren’t necessarily fantastic at earning that cash back. 

While you can make money on a short film, the vast majority of them make nothing. Most people see short films as a route to larger, paid commissions. If you make a great short film, then that could pay off in dividends.

Of course, short films are not always going to be huge loss-makers. There are a variety of ways to monetize them which, hopefully, should prevent your bank account from being seriously depleted while you are chasing your filmmaking dream. 

Today, we’ll be examining how you can make money with your short film.

Online Advertising

Upload your short films to YouTube and Vimeo. Join their partner program.

Each view your video gets has the potential to earn you a little bit of cash. You are probably only going to be able to get $1 or so for every few thousand views. However, if you have a successful viral video, then you could make a decent chunk of change like this. 

We do want to point out that you may be excluded from certain film festivals if you upload your video online, so make sure you do your research beforehand. We don’t want you to be missing out on certain awards just because you wanted to make a couple of dollars. Want to learn more about the pro’s and con’s of posting your film online, and the festivals that don’t care? Check out our recent post.

Product Placement

Big movies make whopping sums of cash from product placement. Think about all of those long, drawn-out shots that you have seen of certain brands. Companies are paying millions for that sort of advertising.

While it is unlikely that you are going to be fighting off offers of millions of dollars for product placement in your short movie, you may be able to make a few thousand dollars. You will likely need to have a bit of proven success with short movies before you can do this.


There’s a misconception in the idea that crowdfunding is ineffective

Yes. It can be more difficult to succeed in the world of crowdfunding. However, if you have a good idea, and you aren’t asking for too much in the way of cash, then there is a good chance that you could get your project funded.

While the chances of profiting off of this method are low – it’s a useful tool for gaining awareness towards your film as well.

Branded Content

If you want to make short movies, then you could always look into creating branded content. This means quick advertisements and the like for businesses. While you may be a bit more restricted when it comes to your creativity, it is a great way to get the money flowing in – check out our sister site, FFBranded, for some ideas on successful branded content

Asking For Donations

Friends, family, and your network are all great resources for funding your film. Similar to crowdfunding, your goal is to ease the financial burden of your film – not eliminate it.

There are a variety of services that you can use here. Patreon is a big one. However, simply asking for donations through PayPal can work wonders.

Trust us. If you make a quality short film, people are going to want to be donating to you anyway…so why not set up those systems beforehand?

Short Film Festivals

There are some short film festivals out there that have cash prizes. If you genuinely believe in the quality of your short film, then why not enter a couple of film festivals?

Do make sure that you check the terms and conditions for any short film festivals that you enter. Some may bar you from entering other festivals, and some may require you to not monetize your short film in any other way. As we mentioned before, there are some that may even limit whether you are able to upload the short film online beforehand. 

Save on locations

Another way to make money off your short film is by picking locations that are both great and fit into your budget. While there are many high-end locations that are expensive, there’s also a versatile range of shoot locations at any budget. Spend some time to find the right locations for your short film and use sites like Scouty where you can book thousands of spaces in just a few clicks. 

Look For Film Funding

If you really want to know how to make money with a short film – you should look into funding contests, like ours!

To enter, all you need to do is submit a one-sentence idea for your movie. If our judges choose your pitch, you’d be receiving the cash you need to get your movie off the ground.

Ready to fund your short film? Enter our contest today!

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