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Making a Silent Film

Making a Silent Film is a true test of Visual Storytelling and can be a beginner project or an advanced project depending upon the complexity, effects, prompt, and timeframe. 

Silent Film Rules

1. Tell a creative, relatable, and understable story visually
2. No verbal dialog
3. Limited graphics / title cards, if any
4. Completely silent OR instrumental music
5. If you are using music - your story must align with the music.

The International Youth Silent Film Competition has an wonderful annual competition. . 


Silent Film Production Process

When making a Silent Film you should follow the 3 phases of the production process:
Pre-Production, Production, and Post- Production


1. Pre-Production

Pre-Production is comprised of brainstorming ideas, scripting,
and planning visual storytelling, i.e., film tone, production design,
camera shots, movements, effects, and transitions.


PRO TIP - Tech check all equipment prior to your shoot.

  • Charge batteries,

  • Prepare SD cards,

  • Choose your camera(s), lenses, how do you want your images to look?

  • Will you need any special equipment: gimbels, dollies, or a drone?


2. Production


Production is when you actually shoot your film, work with your cast and crew,
set-up your shots, set-up lighting, direct your actors, shoot like an editor,
execute any in camera effects and transitions,
and make sure you get all the shots your script requires. 


PRO TIP - Make sure you have proper scene coverage and shoot with the edit in mind.

  • Shoot the scene & check the script to ensure you get all of your needed shots. 

  • Check your background for miscellaneous equipment or items that do not belong.

  • How will you react when something goes wrong? Creative Problem Solving

  • Don't fix it in post, unless you REALLY have to. 

  • Feed your cast and crew if you can. People perform better if you take care of them. 

Post Production

3. Post-Production

Video Editors

Post-Production is where you get to bring your story to life by: 
importing your footage, choosing music (in some cases), editing your scenes,
creating effects, color grading your film, and creating titles and credits. 

PRO TIP - Paying attention to the details adds a professional level polish.

  • Color Correction is fixing a color problem, but Color Grading is using color to enhance the look of your film. 

  • Customize your graphics so they look/feel like your film (ex, and/or do something interesting with your titles, i.e., Masking Text

  • Make sure to get rid of camera audio.


Outdoor Film Set

Once you have a good story, and solid production 
and editing skills, you will want to elevate your work. 

Adding elements of complexity will, no doubt, take your silent film to the next level. 

Examples of ways to elevate your work: 

Storytelling Concept like A Twist or Story Symmetry
Set Design
Practical Effects
Digital Effects
Color Grading
Custom Graphics


Hx of Silent Film

Silent Film History

Silent Films
Award Winning Student Films

Student Silent Films
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