Saturday, May 4, 2019

How to write a script for a short film?

Short films are best source to draw attention of movie studios, film makers, film directors and reputed actors. With increasing film festivals each year, short films have become best medium to build career in the film industry. There is no doubt, with increasing digital platforms there are tremendous opportunity waiting for potential writers. But at the core the only one question keep on rising and that is how to write a script for a short film?

how to write a script for a short film

If you are absolute new, then read: How to write a screenplay for absolute beginners?

If you are not aware of the difference between script and screenplay then read: Difference between script and screenplay

If you are not aware of movie screenplay format, then read: Screenplay Format

How to write a script for a short film?

No matter whether you are trying to develop a script for three hour long movie or 30 second ad film, the basic grammar behind it is same. Therefore you must have to understand the craft of screenwriting. 

Hard to believe, screenwriting is a craft and with out proper right training hard to understand it. Thats why most aspiring screenwriters script get rejected because of this reason. Such writers script loudly speaks about the potential of the author. To become screenwriter training is compulsory. 

Okay, now what?

Short film Script development:

You are well aware about screenwriting. Now its time to focus on short film. Following things matters most in a short film:

  1. Theme

  2. Theme: If you could able to express your entire short film in one word, then that would be the theme. For example Die Hard: Rescue. Once a viewer watches your film completely then he or she must clearly see the theme of your short film. If your approach is right then each scene should point to your decided theme.
  3. Premise

  4. Premise: One sentence narration of the short film. It should inform where we reach at the end. The goal of the short film. Once a viewer watches the short film completely then he or she should realise the premise. Its the duty of the author or writer to develop the script in such a way.
  5. Duration

  6. Duration: Film Makers often commit silly mistake by making larger duration film in the name of short films. Remember in film making business, even 10 second is a long duration. So if you could tell your story in one second then avoid 2 second narration. The best duration is in between 15 minutes to 40 minutes. But film festivals have their own guideline for short film submission.
  7. Plot

  8. Plot: Story of the short film. A story always begins at a point and ends at another point. Plot is always linear where as script can be non linear. The point here is, once the viewer watches the short film then he or she must clearly understand the linear flow of the incidents in the story. Where it all started and where it ends.
  9. Structure

  10. Structure: Three act structure is the common structure followed in film making. But in short film, people often follow the same structure. Which is not wrong but three act structure has its own requirement to deliver the information to the audience. Rather one act is suitable for short films. So stick to one act projection of your short film.
  11. Characterization

  12. Characterization: As human we love to watch behaviour of humans. Human behaviour can be projected on screen with clear cut characterization of characters. Characterization of a character can be drawn on screen by putting the character in a situation or a situation tickle the character to react. The point here is, what is the character going to do in a particular situation?
  13. Ending

  14. Ending: Your short film must have started at a point and it should end at another point which should justify the starting point. Most new film maker dont focus on the ending. Ending plays important vital role in short films.

As screenwriter you must have to focus on above mentioned points while developing script. Another question which you are going to encounter for sure is,

what should be the page length of short film script?

In general people assume, one page script is equivalent to 1 minute visual content on screen. In this manner, your script page length should be in between 15 page to 40 page long (15 minute to 40 minute long short film).  However this information is for reference purpose. But it is also true Sometimes, one page script can occupy ten minute long visual content on screen and sometimes one page script can occupy one second visual content on screen.

You should not restrict yourself with the number of page scripts. Rather you must focus on content you want to deliver to the audience.

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