As independent filmmakers it can be difficult to tell a powerful and innovative story and stay on a limited to zero budget.

BUT, it is possible.

I know this because it’s what I do for a living.

Dig follows a divorced couple who find themselves together at the end of the world, searching their backyard for a time capsule they buried with their kids. I co-wrote and directed the film in 2016, for the 48 Hour Film Project, meaning we had only 48 hours to write, produce and edit the film.

Ok, so I’m biased, but when you pull something like this off, you want to share it with the world. Not only to share what you’ve done, but to give hope to those out there like you who are trying to ‘live the dream’ too. It’s a story for independent filmmakers to hold on hope that they can do it too.

I encourage you to watch for the good, the bad, and the ugly. What makes this short film powerful? What’s lacking? And as you watch, keep in mind these few tricks we used to make a simple yet powerful short.

1. The story is confined to one place and time

When it came to the writing process, we knew the most powerful version of this story would to be to confine the characters to one location and because it’s a short film, one point in time. It forces us to write strong dialogue.

2. We wrote in props we’d have easy access to

Let’s be honest, indie filmmakers don’t have the luxury of buying new props. Instead, we beg, borrow and steal from our friends and family (and from their friends and family too.)

To avoid extra costs for props, keep them simple, like something someone is bound to have in their garage.

3. We shot outside (instant production value)

Nature is beautiful, even when it’s ugly.It immediately increases your production value, creating an authentic and natural aesthetic.

You may not think about this when it comes to writing your award winning script, but you’ll want to, nothing adds value like the great outdoors.

Enjoy Dig. Watch and learn what you can from your fellow innovative creatives and independent filmmakers extraordinaire.


  • Charis Joy Jackson

    Producer, Director, Writer, Actress

    Charis Joy Jackson is a writer, director, producer and teacher working with The Initiative Production Company. During the day she makes movies and in her spare time writes short stories and novel. She's a self-proclaimed nerd who wishes she could live in Hobbiton. You can follow her on Instagram @charisjoyjackson


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