Writing and directing a short film is an effective way to learn the art of filmmaking, but it takes skill to 5 Tips for Generating Ideas interesting short film ideas.
Before directors like George Lucas, Sofia Coppola, Guillermo del Toro. And Wes Anderson made big-budget feature films, they chose to showcase their skills by directing short films. A good short film can be a great calling card for a fledgling 3d movie maker or a fun side project for an established screenwriter who has a short story they’re dying to tell.
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What is a short film?
A short film is a film that does not meet the time requirements to be considered a feature film. Generally, a film is considered “short” if it lasts between one and 50 minutes.
Shorts can be live, animated or computer generated. Like feature films, short films tell closed stories with a distinct beginning, middle, and end. The best shorts have a clear purpose and are economical in their storytelling, using only one or two locations and a handful of characters.
5 tips for finding ideas for your short film
Inspiration for shorts can be found in a variety of places. Here are some tips to help you come up with your first idea:
Watch short films. The best way to find great ideas for your short script is to look at what other short filmmakers (screenwriters, directors, cinematographers) are doing and use their work to inspire your own. Figure out what draws you to their short film and translate those elements into your own story. Watch shorts that have won awards at short film festivals, premiered at major film festivals, or been nominated for the Oscars.
Watch feature films sparingly. Feature films are much more complex than short films and may tempt you to complicate your story too much. One of the best things you can do for your shorts is keep it simple.
Get inspiration from your own life. A lot of video companies near me draw inspiration from personal life experiences in their work. Consider looking through your past experiences for potential short film ideas. Ask yourself: What images or events can you remember clearly from childhood? What’s the weirdest interaction you’ve had with another person in the past year? If you feel deprived of your own interesting real-life events, it might be time to get out there and interact with other people. For example, award-winning writer David Sedaris never learned to drive a car. So, he uses public buses, taxis, planes, and trains to meet real people.
Start with what you have. Creativity thrives on limitation, so if you run out of ideas, you may feel overwhelmed by the number of possibilities. Combat these feelings by making a list of locations5 Tips for Generating Ideas where you would have access to shoot (even if you are just writing the short and not planning to film it yourself): Is your backyard big enough to shoot a scene? Would your workplace allow you film after hours? Setting your short within any of these parameters can help you think of new possibilities for a good story.
Evolve your characters. The turning point is the end of a story, the moment when something major changes (for example, when Anakin Skywalker becomes Darth Vader). The turning point is the most crucial moment in your short film script because it will leave the audience with their final impression. If you re-read your story idea and the character ends up in roughly the same place they started, your audience may feel like your story is falling a bit flat. Don’t be afraid to let your character make a life-altering decision, make a mistake, or close a door for good – these types of endings often tell the most powerful stories and will make for a great short.
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