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How to Make a Short Film for Tropfest

Home > Brisbane > Hobbies
Published March 1st 2012


What chance have we got to become an actor or a movie director? To be honest, none, particularly you, as you have no drive, no ambition. Me on the other hand, I have both. The beautiful thing about being a movie making narcissist, is you can get a crack at everything you want to be.

Here's how:

Trofest is an amateur movie making competition. All you have to do is make a short 7 minute movie, that incorporates the Tropfest tag (which changes every year). You only need to have a very tenuous link though, so you could make any movie and add something at the editing stage (if necessary), to comply. See their site, which has this year's winners and watch the top ten winning movies on the Trofest Site. It might give you some inspiration. I've had a look at a few, and they are always similar to these, so it will give you an idea what you have to aim for.

You could be in this crowd next year!


I'm giving you plenty of warning, so you've got 11 odd months to come up with an idea, write a script, cast and direct your actors, shoot the film. There is even a section in the competition for movies made on a mobile phone or tablet, and you can now get apps to do the editing on; so there is nothing stopping you. Although I reckon you should splash out on a HD Camera and a tripod, maybe some cheap halogens from Bunnings.

Hey who am I to be telling you how easy it is, truth be known, it's not easy, but it is possible. I made a movie for Tropfest maybe eight years ago, at the time I thought it was pretty good, but with repeated viewings it became worse and worse. Even though it was crap, there were a lot of positives to come out of it; my mates started to call me a completionist (which would have been better if there had been such a word, but I got the drift). Some called me an auteur boy, even though I told them I'd never been in a Catholic Church, let alone served as an acolyte (actually, I have attended a few of my cousins' weddings in Catholic Churches - I don't think that qualifies though?).

The wonderful thing about doing something like this is if there is anything you aren't confident about doing in the whole process, you only have to mention it, at the bus stop, at work, at the football, anywhere, and someone will say I can do that for you. If this is not the case, then there are plenty of forums you can leave requests on.

If you want to read up on the history of Tropfest look on Wiki here.

I had ideas to follow up my movie the next year, but I got lost in the desert of life. I'm back now though and this is my year, I'm going to make the movie this year. The idea I have, which again, is one that is possible to make with the resources I have except for two things, (talent for one) I need a particular type of music for the soundtrack and something else that requires me to do a lot of drawing. I've got the music sorted now, so I'm going to do the drawing from here on in. I've been practising faces in the mirror for years.

Come on though, you know it's something you always wanted to do. The final cut has to be uploaded to Tropfest early January. See the Tropfest site for details, there's a $40.00 entrance fee as well I think, although that may go up for 2013. There are a lot of useful resources on this site such as the forms you need for everyone who has anything to do with your movie. So if your uncle comes over for the weekend and he starts to tinkle the ivories, you ask "Do you have any original compositions?" If he answers yes, then record the piece/s, get him to sign one of the copyright assignment letters for you, and voila, Bob's your uncle and Fanny's your aunt, you've got yourself a soundtrack - who knows he could become famous too, or at least get discovered, another Liberace in the making tell him, if he's gay that is, otherwise you'll have to tell him Rufas Wainwright (is he gay? I don't think so).

Don't be just one of the crowd.


Australia needs renegade movie makers, I know you're out there, so come on, get on board Tropfest, after that who knows where we might end up? Probably back in the desert that is life.

By the way, my cousins didn't marry each other. Although, come to think of it, a couple came close.
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Why? To make a movie
When: Early January each year
Where: Anywhere
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Your Comment
Film-makers must wake up to the scam that is film festivals.

700 x entry fees at $ 40 for the privilege of making a commissioned work for Tropfest, with film makers consuming thousands of dollars in value of labour and equipment use just for an empty promise. On top of that you sign away up all your rights to the organisers. How crazy is that? There is no assurance that the film has even been viewed and if so by who and on what criteria.. Just look critically at Withoutabox. Tropfest just seems to be about the self aggrandisement and promotion of its organisers.

Even Sundance has been accused of not even having enough physical time available to look through entries.

Be angry very angry Film makers
by denwy (score: 0|2) 1519 days ago
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