Every film-maker starting out wants to make the best short film, and get the best people and equipment to make it happen - but often with little or no budget at all, all in the hope that the idea is strong enough to get investors and potential co-workers to commit.
But that’s not usually the best route to go if you want Hollywood quality and, more importantly, the commitment from your team to make it so.
The biggest mistake most film-makers make is ignoring the post production cost of their production and instead getting trapped in a tunnel vision view that says that film making is all about the camera, set and props and actors - forgetting that it’s actually post production that ties it all together to present your finished film to your audience.
It's not the intention that counts
As a VFX Supervisor in the industry, mixing my projects between paid high-profile projects for Film and TV, short films (unpaid) and music promos (low paid or unpaid), I have seen what happens when you agree to help out on a short films. You start with the intention of dedicating a fixed number of hours (in-between paid jobs or full time job) to the film, to only find out later the director wants ever more ambitious requests met on the already tight budget.
Most of the times the film makers that throw that curved ball are usually ones who don’t understand the work and time required to achieve the required VFX (or audio, or music) because they have just watched the “behind the scenes” of Lord of the Rings and think it’s as simple as sticking a few green screens behind the actor.
Bank of piggy
If you are going to make a film then save some money aside in a piggy bank to make it and don't expect well established talented people to work for free - especially when you are an unknown making your first film, but more importantly, if you are serious about making your film and want it to look and sound like an actual feature film then you need to understand that you will need to spend. It’s like buying a house or car: if you really want one, then you save for it. Of course you negotiate for the right price but you are still spending money on something you really want. The same principle applies to making your film which is a “product” as much as a car is.