A good short film could well be your gateway to the world of cinema. Find out how to tap into your inspiration and go from script ideas to film festivals.
Get inspired by short films from the world of cinema
A short film can be as captivating as a novel. Similarly, good shorts contain the same narrative elements as good feature films (a triggering incident, a conflict, and a resolution), but in a shorter format. Each genre has its short formats: documentary, comedy-drama, horror, romance, etc.
“A short film is a concentrated film. It can be 2 or 23 minutes,” says director Helen Alexis Yonov. It provides you with a piece of life with a start, middle, and end that grip together. I think short films deserve our respect because it’s difficult to create a meaningful film in 8 minutes. A good short film can influence audiences, win awards at film festivals, and become your calling card for landing a job in film or video production.
Prefer short films of 15 minutes maximum for festivals
Short films are generally 5 to 15 minutes long. Some are longer, others shorter. The very short is less than 5 minutes. From 50 minutes, it’s a feature film. “I generally recommend a duration of fewer than 15 minutes, because of the formats imposed by film festivals”, recommends Helen Alexis Yonov. “And if you have a captivating 8-minute movie, you don’t need more. It is the short film that tells you the necessary duration.
Brainstorm short film ideas
Like short videos in the marketing world, the success of a short film depends on the engagement of the audience. Perhaps more importantly, a good film script is the fruit of an idea that captivates the screenwriter first. The goal is to come up with script ideas that you think are important, and then figure out how to make them interesting for the audience.
“Be original. Keep your audience spellbound. And do something that speaks to you, as a director,” insists Helen Alexis Yonov. “Regarding your audience, don’t just ask yourself if so-and-so will like and give you a job. Do it for yourself too.
Look for script ideas everywhere you go
Short film ideas can come from multiple sources: an overheard conversation, a beautiful painting, a press report. Important moments in your life, reflections you have on the lives of others or real events reported by the press can be sources of inspiration for a film.
In your quest for movie ideas, remember that all you need to do is find a nugget. For instance, you might be captivated by an article you read in a magazine. Peel it to keep only this little nugget. The key thing is to uncover the piece in the story, which makes it attract you.
Let the inspiration flow and have new experiences, even if it’s just watching a new movie, reading a recently released book, or going to a coffee shop you’ve never been to. On each of your outings, take a notebook or use the note-taking application on your phone so that you can always record your ideas.
“I find a story out of the blue, then I write the outline of it in the note-taking app on my phone,” says director Jhosimar Vasquez. “When I get home, I go over my notes and try to develop my idea and put it to music.
Ask yourself what would happen if…
If you have trouble getting a full story out of your experience, ask yourself questions and make assumptions about the events in your day-to-day. If your ex rang the doorbell?Tthe man you saw on the subway was actually going on a date to meet his father for the very first time? What if the information you just read in the press was told from a completely different point of view?
Let yourself be guided by your emotions
One way to find inspiration is to tell stories related to the social issues that concern you. “I try to relate my ideas to reality”, explains Jhosimar Vasquez. I know I’m on the right path when I think I need to tell a story to the common people.
Try to find an emotion related to an event and see how you might communicate it to an audience. “Ask yourself what you want viewers to feel. Start with the emotion you feel at the moment. Then, let yourself be guided,” recommends Jhosimar Vasquez. Once I was seeing footage of a girl escaping from Syria. I immersed myself in the reality of her situation to the point of feeling the same emotions as her. When this happens to you, it’s the winning ticket to producing a good script. »
A short film can help you transform a difficult time that you or another person experienced into something useful for others. I see the traumas of my life. I see them everywhere, every day. Directing is an approach to get out of my relief zone and change those strains into something else.
Break into writing scripts for short films
A short film script should be around fifteen pages. Generally, a page of writing makes one minute of film. Prioritize simplicity. It’s easy to get carried away and want to do too much in a short. You should only follow one idea, one guideline. It is like being in a jungle, with all these paths you may follow. Follow only one so you don’t get lost.
Send your drafts to people you trust to read and provide feedback. Reviews will help you remove anything not directly related to your main story. However, you do not need to follow all comments. Trust your instincts about how to tell your story.
Get to know your protagonists
The more detailed the personality of your protagonists, the easier it will be for you to write about them. Create a detailed description sheet for all the main characters, even for a short film. Approach this process as a game of 50 questions.
These sheets will make the actions and reactions of your protagonists more realistic. For example, a character may be distant with his father in a scene because he has a strained relationship with him. “It’s not about predicting your character’s reactions. The dialogues come spontaneously because you understand how he feels.
Give a precise artistic direction
Not all shorts require full storyboards for every scene, but you do need to think about how your protagonists and sets will look. Start by creating a mood board or lookbook for your characters, locations, and desired aesthetic for your film. Include your own photos or inspirational images found while doing your research.
A mood board or a lookbook will allow your team to better understand your vision and can help you achieve it. The more facts you can give, the better. I started to create more detailed mood boards, in which I talk about shadows, music, lighting, angles, intonations. I made a 30-page report for my cinematographer.
Finance and film your short film
Unless you call yourself Coppola, your first short will be an independent film. In other words, you will not have the same funding as a director supported by a major studio or a Hollywood production company near me. The small budgets of novice directors create difficulty, but it is not insurmountable.
“If you have money, invest in yourself. If you don’t have one, find people willing to invest in you and your team,” advises Helen Alexis Yonov. “Then take your camera, your iPhone, or whatever you have and shoot. Just because you’re short $100,000, $50,000, or $10,000 doesn’t mean you shouldn’t film
Form a production team
To break into the film industry, you need to build relationships with other people who have the same aspirations as you. Some may agree to work on your film for free, or for a small fee if you offer to send them the favor. But never ration food because of budget concerns. “Feed your team well. If they don’t have a full stomach, your team members won’t be happy,” says Helen Alexis Yonov.
Create a community with other directors who will be happy to collaborate with you in the future. And if you’re lucky, you’ll find mentors with more experience than you. “Surround yourself with people who know more than you,” recommends Helen Alexis Yonov. My cinematographer knows a lot more about lenses, color, and depth of field than I do.
Edit your short film
With Adobe Premiere Pro, you have everything you need to edit your movie. For example, you can add smooth transitions, Adobe Stock audio clips, and video companies near me. Do it all from one app. Then, when your movie is complete, export it to any format.
Participate in short film festivals
By registering for a festival, you will set yourself a deadline to finalize your project and share your film with the rest of the world. Additionally, awards won at certain festivals may also make your short film eligible for the Oscars. These festivals include Sundance Film Festival, Ann Arbor Festival, Tribeca Film Festival, LA Shorts Fest, Hollyshorts, Austin Film Festival, and many more. You can also contact 3d movie maker to get the job done.
Compile a list of film festivals that interest you and note the genres they accept, maximum durations, registration deadlines, and special rules for participating. You will be able to submit a compliant project to them on time.
Get out there and find out how to bring your vision to life in the format of a short film. You could win an Oscar. Don’t be afraid to try. But don’t be afraid to fail either. Don’t be afraid to get out of your house, gather some friends and film something.