Are you an aspiring filmmaker who is itching to hone their storytelling? It’s time to create a project to be proud of, so we’re here to discuss how to write a short film. Telling a memorable and meaningful story in a short window of time is an art, and requires a lot of work. From crafting your story to sketching out your characters, there is a lot to think about for your screenplay. No matter the genre, we’re ready to help you learn how to write a short film. Let’s get started!
How To Write A Short Film
Planning and organization will go a long way when writing a short film. Once you have your concept in mind, you can begin! Ask yourself what you want the audience to experience and feel, and make sure to always come back to this at its core. Unlike feature length films, you have a shorter window of time to make impact with a short film. Therefore, having clarity on what you want to achieve will help. Take some time to think about who your film would appeal to most, and make a note of your intended target audience. Then, simplify your plot and purpose, and you’re good to go!
Now that you have your idea narrowed down, you need to structure your storyline properly. Storytelling is an art in itself. Therefore, you need to think about how you can deliver your concept in a clear, concise and engaging way. Lay out the key events and the intentions for each, plus any story arcs and overriding things you want to portray in the script. There should be moments of heightened anticipation, action or intrigue, and lulls which build to this. Sketch out a timeline of events and include the exposition and how you want the story to end. How do you want audiences to feel after they have watched your short film?
Now that you have the structure sketched out, it’s time to fill in the details. Your characters, their backstories and the interactions between them are important to think about for your script. What information do you want the audience to know, and at what point should they find out for maximum effect? Jot down your ideas, and expand them further. Which ideas are important to the plot and the story you want to portray?
Questions To Think About
Talking of ideas and characters, here are some questions to think about. You should have a clear idea of what you want to do, as well as how and when to do it. Your audience will want to know:
- Who the protagonist is, what do they want and why?
- What adversity are they facing in reaching their goal?
- Who is the antagonist and what is their back story?
- How do characters react to the events that unfold?
Answering these questions will help your audience have clarity. These answers don’t need to be directly stated to the viewer, but knowing the answers will help you to make informed decisions when writing.
Your characters should feel like real people that audiences can relate to in some way. They should feel authentic, unique and interesting. Here are some ideas to make sure your characters are fully-rounded and well-informed:
- Jot down interview questions and what your character’s answers would be
- Write a journal as your character
- Sketch out what their outfits, home and worldly possessions may look like
- Ask yourself if they are inspired by anybody, and how you can allow this to inspire you whilst still ensuring they are unique
As this is a short film, avoid confusing your audience with multiple storylines and characters they can’t keep up with. Try to avoid using too many, as this will make it easier for you to deliver a tight, well-told story.
To recap, here are some steps to focus on:
- Clarify your intentions for the short film and your intended audience
- Make a timeline of your storyline(s)
- Break down the story, characters, events and get to know your characters inside out
- Draft, read, get advice, re-read, re-draft and rewrite until everything is covered and delivered to its full potential
Following these steps will help you to execute your concept into a polished piece of art to be proud of. With your script ready, you will be able to begin the filming process with confidence and bring your short film into the world! For more research and inspiration, check out our list of film festivals and some short film category winners.
How Audiosocket Can Help
When your filming is in progress, Audiosocket wants to help with music for your short film! Your best option is to license the music for your film correctly as to avoid any copyright issues and to stay within budget. Starting at $10 a month, you can have unlimited access to over 80,000 tracks! With various genres and moods, it couldn’t be easier to find music to take your film to the next level. Get started now!