However, having said that, here are a few basic tips for making a good short film.
- Make use of film as a visual medium: Short films aren’t always just about strong, economical dialogue. The beauty of short films is the ability to say a lot with very few or no dialogues at all. Visual manifestations are important with moments of pure color, texture, and sound, as well as other evocative, raw images.
- Writer/director must demonstrate a personal connection to the story: The creators’ connection to the material demonstrates a powerful and unique point of view. So keep your topic personal; you don’t need to address huge themes. By keeping your focus narrow, you will address those themes better than you could have imagined.
- Tell a story of one character’s or couple’s journey—but no more: A short film is not a feature and it covers a single dilemma and resolves it in some way by the end. It’s the chance to attack one major scene or conflict—nothing more. Limit your reach and utilize the “short” part of this medium by telling just one story and telling it well.
- Use available resources: Don’t ever try to replicate movies with budgets of hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars—because you can’t. Just make what you have and look as good as possible.
- Feature memorable characters: Short films demonstrate that the filmmakers can build characters that sear themselves in our mind, even in the space of just 10 or 15 minutes. Plot, twists, and story all are important, but without someone you can empathize with, your film will be forgotten easily. So don’t forget to give your characters strong personalities
- Make a twist at the beginning and a twist at the end: Don’t make a predictable movie. Put in as many twists as possible—especially in the first minute and the final minute.
- Give a largely optimistic outlook: If you can leave your viewer with at least a moderately positive impression, they’ll be more likely remembering your work. But do challenge yourself to see if the story ending can be more of an upper than a downer and end with a positive spin, if at all possible.