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How to write a short film.

There is no better way to tell a story than a short film. With the explosion of social platforms, short films are widely accepted as a beautiful means of entertainment. A universe of emotions can be contained in a short film of 5 to 20 minutes. Writing and scripting a short film is easier if you know how to map your journey. The limitation and freedom in resources, both need to be understood, but not before you start writing. Let us learn more about your favorite storytelling technique.

The craftsmanship of writing demands ample time. It is good to take a head start way ahead of actual production. Improvisation is good but secondary. Taking your time in mapping a sensible script is necessary.

Clarity of Goal

You may have a concept in mind that originated out of some motivation or situation. First and foremost, make sure to pen down the basic thought process. The core ideas you might remember but the branching thoughts might not stay for long. Build a habit to write it down. During this writing down ask a simple question – what should be my audience’s emotion when they watch this?

One is about to engage their feelings and deep dive into your story portrayal. You can imagine this engagement and write it as the prime purpose of the activity. Whatever be the professional motive of the work, this emotional goal helps the discipline of writing.

One major reason to have a clear goal is that these films are short and you have a smaller time-cap to reach the emotional peak and creative transitions. Singularity is purpose brings the thoughts together and makes you sum up in lesser time. Note that a small diversion can simply lead to increased production costs.

The Structure

Once the goal is clear, the concept must be broken down into sub-parts. The more detailed deconstruction will lead you to understand the psyche of what the audience experiences. From characters, their dresses, locations, emotional state, their age, and everything that you can think of. This analysis makes sure that you know the subtopics and don’t ignore the basic cues.

Just imagine that you have a story about a soldier who is coming to see his daughter for the first time but has lost one arm in the battle that her wife doesn’t know of. At the point where he realizes he is not able to hold his daughter, every single element in the frame becomes precious. You can pull the deepest strings of human emotions if the details are perfect. Right?

You have certain insights to include in your story that brings out every flavor of experience you want to impart. For example in the same story:

  • What war is he in, the time, era, and country?

  • Where does he land at the start and what shows that he is incapable of one arm?

  • How does the wife meet?

  • Setup of the house telling the conditions of the home.

These are just some of the things. You structure every element that leads to the anchor point and then transits into the emotion as per your main goal. This all is the elementary knowledge of the scene.


Start filling more details now. What all possibilities that can be explored within each scene must be carved out. Each character might have their own world and perception. Take your time and dig deeper on how to explain the situation without saying so much. Beware! Never assume that audience understands. Take a second opinion from time to time.