In this book, Charles Merzbacher offers a concise, definitive guide to the essential skills, techniques and logistics of producing short films, focusing on the practical knowledge needed for line producing and overseeing smaller-scale productions. Drawing on insights from real-life production scenarios, veteran filmmaker and instructor Charles Merzbacher takes producers through every stage of the production process, from fundraising, preproduction and planning to the producer’s role in postproduction and distribution.

Key topics include:

  • Finding a worthy project;
  • Schedules and budgets;
  • Managing the casting process;
  • Recruiting and managing crew;
  • Location scouting;
  • Legal and safety issues;
  • Running a production;
  • Negotiating music rights;
  • And much more!

An accompanying website—available at theshortseries.com—offers document templates for contracts, call sheets, budgets and other production forms, as well as sample production documents and short video guides featuring top industry professionals.

chapter |11 pages


Looking Before Leaping

chapter 1|13 pages

Getting Down to Business

chapter 2|12 pages


chapter 3|13 pages

Script Breakdown

chapter 4|8 pages

Breakdown Sheets

chapter 5|17 pages

The Schedule

chapter 6|14 pages

The Budget

chapter 7|14 pages

Beyond Budgeting Basics

chapter 8|9 pages

The Crew

chapter 9|19 pages

The Cast

chapter 10|17 pages


chapter 11|12 pages

Production Paperwork

chapter 12|12 pages

The Shoot

chapter 13|13 pages


chapter 14|13 pages


chapter 15|17 pages

Promotion and Distribution

chapter |4 pages


The Long and the Short of It