A short film is always the best card for professionals in the film business. Whether you are a writer or director, cinematographer or producer, a short movie always projects your work at its very best. If you think it's easier to write a short than a feature, you are wrong. In fact, you need exactly the same talent as for writing a feature, but more than that, you need an ability to tell everything in a few minutes. This sometimes is even harder, mostly because you need to develop your main idea with a start, a middle and an end, in a short time frame.
Many of the very best directors and writers started with a short film and most of them found their agent, or got booked for a feature, because of their short. But no matter what, a short film is the best way to develop your talent and practice your creative writing ability.
These are some important rules you should remember when you writing your short movie.
1. The Shorter the BetterUsually a short film is a movie between three to forty five minutes in length. The shorter your film, the tighter you will make it. Avoid … endless shorts, mainly because these are costly. On the contrary, the shorter you make them, the less you risk making your audience lose interest.
Always when you are writing a short, you need to keep in mind the cost. You need to avoid expensive locations, helicopters and a cast of thousands. Don’t try to impress; try to tell the story as concisely as possible. Don't stretch the point. Leave the audience wanting more, instead of making them die from boredom. This is the emotional state the viewer experiences, when all they want to do is to escape your story.
Also, keep in mind that festivals like shorter shorts, simply because they want to be able to screen as many of them as possible. Real emotion can be created in a few seconds, so stay short! Don’t risk stretching your script and losing the impact.
2. Keep it practical and minimal.Imagine having to shoot a short that has complicated and expensive scenes, involving car crashes and action scenes. I have read short scripts that followed the rule of simplicity and truly rock, while super-complicated scripts turned me off from page two.
Practicality is important for filmmakers and especially for producers. A short can be about anything, but you need to seriously keep in mind the practicalities of writing your script. Visions of hundreds of horses running free and thousands of extras on a protest march certainly look amazing, and tempting, but only if your best friend is a horse trainer and you are also president of a union. If your access to resources is limited, think minimal.
3. Tell us the truth visually.Avoid fake stories. Beware of complicated ideas that tell and don’t show. Film needs to show because it is a visual medium. You don't go to the movies with your eyes closed! Don’t start thinking how you will be smart, how you will make it unique. Start telling the truth. This is your best bet. You need to create a story with heart. You should always try to tell a compelling story. Talk straight to the hearts of the viewers. No matter what the truth is, be sure it comes straight from your soul. Feel it, and don’t try to impress anyone but yourself.
Give your hero a goal to achieve. Send him down every possible path in order to achieve his goal. Visualize every single moment and every single line of your story. Don’t be afraid to break the rules, but keep in mind how to use visuals to emotionally engage your viewers. Short movies most of the times push the boundaries and overcome obstacles only if the images and action truly convey every feeling. We need to see the temperament of your characters, their feelings, their agony, their emotions, and if necessary, their backstories, in visual terms.