How long does it really take to make a short film?

About 18 months ago the press reported that I was receiving £160 per hour to make this film. Now that the film is nearly complete it seems a fun idea to work out how much time has actually been spent on it (just in case anyone wants to do a recalculation!). It’s obvious to most people that  shooting a film is a small percentage of the time you spend on it, but I find many people (especially my film students)  underestimate how much labour it actually takes to make a piece of creative work.

Obviously this film is unusual, most short films only take a few days to shoot and you don’t end up with any where near this level of footage.

So on the way home from a day spent colour grading I wrote down some rough figures on how long it took to make this particular film.

Shooting the test film 4 hours

Editing the test film 8 hours

Writing proposals budgets etc 25 hours

Building the platform 4 hours

Shooting the film 60 – 70 hours

Editing the film 500 hours
Recording the music took 5 people 8 hours

It took 2 of us 8 hours to grade the film.
And it will take another 10 hours to do the sound design

Before I shot the film I made a test film. I spent six weeks recording almost every day and then edited this into a three minute film to show to funders. This and writing out my ideas for the piece was about forty hours work. I then spent the winter before filming going out with the camera at regular intervals to make sure I had the time right for the shoot in terms of light.  I also had to find the right spot for the camera and build platform to put it on.

I haven’t asked Fraya how long it took to compose the score but I am guessing this will be at least 40 hours..

This doesn’t even include office time doing accounts and admin for the project or the time I spent creating this blog.

Now the film is finished and I have started to receive feedback on it I don’t feel like I have anything to prove anymore (and I would be preaching to the converted here). I feel incredibly proud of the level of work I and everyone else has put in and fortunate to have received public funding to make this. It has just confirmed to me that to do something well it has to be about love and not money.

Here’s a picture of the film projected on the big screen for the first time (see the wee laptop in the corner).

Seeing the film on the big screen


2 responses to “How long does it really take to make a short film?”

  1. Very honoured to be given an advanced screening of Stay the Same. I really wasn’t sure what to expect and I have to say it was excellent. It really makes you think about all sorts of things from the changing seasons to the weather but mostly about how we change from day to day. Was really striking how your expression changes with the mood of the scene behind you. I think you’ve really produced a first class film you can be very proud of.

  2. […] S. (2017) How Long Does It Really Take To Make A Short Film? [online] available from < > [11 January […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: