3 Tips for Writing a Short Film

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Image credits – Pixabay

Writing a short film is never easy because you have to explain the entire story to the audience while maintaining logic and coherence in every frame in a very short time. It has to be hard-hitting and gripping. You won’t get too much time to build a sequence, reach a climax and then reach the end.

Change in perception

Till some years ago, short films didn’t seem to have a future. They were considered a film maker’s calling card but apart from that, they were not of much use when talking from the perspective of commerce and business. But the scene has changed drastically with the explosion of the internet. Now short films can be released on You Tube or other video screening sites and get instant notice, fame and with that make money as well. There are also a number of prestigious festivals where, if lucky, your film may get screened. Writing a script or screen play for a short film requires as much creativity and skill as you would need when writing for a long feature film. But the challenges are slightly different.

Short script writing rules

  1. Remember that films are visual media: Don’t make the script too verbose. A good film script communicates with the audience without the use of too many dialogues. It is the most economical way of making a film. A good short film scriptwriter would use the props, the status of the characters, their habits, the way they move and visual objects to create back stories. Remember, in a short film, you won’t get the time to establish a back story by using the voice of a narrator in the background or showing everything from the past. If you use the right clips and links at the right place, a viewer would understand it. You should leave some scope for imagination as well.
  2. Keep the film short and enter the scene of conflict as soon as possible: A short film can’t be two hours long. If you are making a fifteen minute film, the background of the story should be established within the first one or two minutes. The rest should be used to establish the conflict, create a knot and then to untangle it. You may also leave the untangling part for the viewers. But the hook should be introduced quickly before the viewer loses interest.2
    Image credits – Pixabay

     

  3. Focus on the main story or character: A short story doesn’t have the time to deal with subplots, secondary characters, get into unnecessary background plots or explaining every sequence in great detail. You will have to plot and follow the journey of the main character. You may use a twist somewhere in your film. You should give a scope to your viewers to “think”.

A short film script should engage the audience in every frame. A long feature film may be entertaining in parts. If the audience loses interest midway, the director or the script writer has the time to draw his attention back to the film by using a twist or something. A short film script doesn’t enjoy such a luxury. The audience should be able to connect with the characters immediately. Also, make sure to keep your film free from stereotypes if you want it to be truly outstanding.

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