Coming Up With Short Film Ideas
A lot of people assume that it’s easier to write a short film than a long one. After all, you don’t have to plot a long, complicated story. All you have to do is fill a few minutes. Writing only a few pages has to be simpler than the alternative.
But writing short films presents its own challenges. Because you have such a short amount of time, you have to tell a complete story in an incredibly concise way. You have to create a tale with a beginning, middle, and end that never feels like it’s rushed along the way.
The best short film ideas work within those boundaries. They utilize the lack of background story, and take advantage of the small amount of time they have. Some ideas can’t sustain a two-hour film, but they can certainly fill a twenty-minute movie.
If you’re trying to come up with ideas, it’s a good idea to compare the plots of short stories versus the plots of novels. How are the stories told in the shorter tales versus the longer ones? Make a note of the differences you see; it’ll help you when you start to think up your own ideas.
Of course, even a short story can be hard to translate to film. In fact, a lot of full-length movies were based on a short story. You’re not going to have time to explain everything. You’ll have to come up with shortcuts in order to fill in the blanks.
If you watch a lot of short films, one thing you’ll notice is that a lot of them are told in real time. This is something you usually can’t do in a longer movie. If you can think of a complete story that could occur in five or ten minutes, you could turn that into a movie.
With that said, you don’t have to wrap everything up in a neat, tidy bow. You can still leave plenty of things up to the imagination. Your goal should be for people to feel satisfied when the movie is done, but that doesn’t mean you can’t leave them wanting more.
In fact, many movies started out as short films. The writer and director successfully introduced a concept that a lot of people wanted to see more of. From there, they were able to get financing to develop the idea and movie further.
You should also think about what kind of stories your budget will allow you to tell. You aren’t going to be able to pull of a sci-fi epic if you only have a couple hundred dollars to work with. However, you could tell a smaller and more intimate tale.
If you take the time to study shorter films, you should have no trouble coming up with short film ideas. Start taking a look at what’s out there, and see how you can apply those kinds of concepts to your own original ideas. You should be able to come up with something special.