You've signed up for the 48FILM Short Film competition. Now the big question facing your team is, "What story shall we tell?" This is a challenge, because you must include the three elements thrown at you when you set the clock ticking, and you only have 48 hours.
Learn From The Best
Watch commercial advertisements and see what makes them work. They often tell a mini-story in which the product is embedded. Often these stories have heart, which the audience remembers, and they associate the product with it. Most top brand names use this kind of advertising now. The competition for eyeballs is fiercer than ever, and professionals are under pressure to keep raising their game. New entrants to the game can learn much from studying how they do it.
The emotional factor helps to avoid producing a trite piece. You don't want your audience left wondering what it was all about, or may be you do, but that's a different topic.
The best result is when your audience walks away feeling something, or remembering a key theme.
Shoot From The Hip
The 4-to-7 minute short film is ideal for comedy, because you can deliver a punch line. Check out some examples from the old days of silent movies – Harold Lloyd, Charlie Chaplin, Laurel and Hardy. How much can you say without dialogue? A message delivered visually is always more powerful.
Planning is great but stay open to the surprise moments. Shoot from the hip, off the cuff, on the run. Sometimes those purely spontaneous moments work brilliantly and add the twists and turns.
Ready to sign up to 48 Film Project's contest 2017? Spend some time in the screening room and look at previous winners. Ask yourself these questions.
What did I take away from this story?
Did it move me, give me an insight, or make me laugh?
Maybe it was pure entertainment. That's good enough too. Whatever, there needs to be a point to your story.
Probably your budget is tight for your short film production. You're unlikely to be looking to make a mini-version of Fury Road. Start with emotion. It only costs you your heart. And that's for free, so go for it. Be generous.
Think about how you want your audience to feel after watching it. What experience do you want to deliver? How you stir the emotions of your viewer is what makes your film memorable.