Making a Short Film: Five Aspects to Keep in Mind When Writing Short Films

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Making a Short Film / screenwriting

Now that you have the basics of how to become a seasoned scriptwriter, there are a few tips to help shape your story. How your screenplay gets framed is what sets it apart from an amateur only keen to get their work out and someone aiming for a wider audience.

 

1. Keep it short

The general length of a short film is, at the very least, 15 seconds and could be as long as 45 minutes long. If you’re starting out, it is very likely that you won’t have a big budget to work with and so in that regard, the shorter, the better. Sure, there are a lot of free or reasonably priced technology that helps with aspects such as editing, but when it comes to hiring out equipment or feeding a crew, production costs are best to keep low to avoid strain.
It also helps to look at the requirements of the platforms and festivals that you want to share your film. If it’s too long, changes that organizers will opt for other shorter films of yours takes up too much time. You’re better off making a standard 10 minute (7-8 pages long) movie and take the time you need than doing something longer but have to shoot it fast because you can’t afford proper lighting. Think of how commercials can cause maximum impact. Yours doesn’t need to be that short but the ability to make a real impact in a short time is possible.

 

2. Be practical

The idea of writing a car chase or an Inception type fighting scene is exciting. When it comes to shooting, it quickly becomes evident that you don’t have the connections and resources to block off entire streets, build a set for your vision or hire a CGI specialist. As you continually write scripts and shoot them, you’ll begin to appreciate the technicalities of bringing ideas to life. Much can be done within a single location. Consider using familiar sites such as a restaurant or elevator but leave it ambiguous enough that it could be anywhere on the planet.

 

3. Show, don’t tell

You have to remain practical and realistic; keep in mind what aspects you can stay strictly visual in your short film to remove dialogue. When setting up a scene, create a visual backstory for your character so that a person can tell their social status, profession, and role by merely observing their mannerisms. Just as you ought to be practical with your scenes, keep your screenplay action oriented. It also makes the script and film shorter.

 

4. Brush up on your storytelling

Part of how to write a screenplay is creating a story that has a beginning, middle, and end, along with a hero/ protagonist facing a conflict/antagonist. Use the opportunity when learning how to make movies to write scripts that enhance your storytelling skills. They ought to have the ability to engage the audience emotionally. Be mindful not to do things that add no value but are only tailored to shock or break the rules. Ensure that you keep your reader/view engaged throughout the story

 

5. Avoid clichés

Stereotypes are often a miss, primarily if you aren’t providing a fresh perspective. One is encouraged to get great stories from films but avoid whole copying concepts for your movie. It may be hard to keep away from clichés when starting out but a question to ask yourself is what other film or stories it reminds you off. The superhero doesn’t always have to look a certain way, and neither does the damsel in distress have to be smart or slow with no character dimension. While it is important to be relatable, draw from your life in all the ways you and those around you aren’t walking clichés but complex characters.

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