Qualities of Short Films

In order to create a short film, I ought to have some idea as to what they might typically contain so that I can make my coursework as realistic as possible. I will do this by researching online and in the school library and analysing what I find, and after doing this I will watch a couple to see how these aspects have been put into place and whether or not all qualities I find in my research are essential into creating a well made short film.

According to Script, these are the ‘seven simple secrets into making an outstanding short film’:

  1. They need to be a visual medium. This means that they shouldn’t just include dialogue, but also utilise music, atmosphere, colour and should be manipulated to evoke emotions. Through including these aspects, the short film will be enjoyable to watch rather than just feeling like an omnipresent person in a two person conversation for the duration of the film.
  2. The writer needs to have a personal connection with the film. Since I will be taking on the role of writer, director, camera man, editor etc., I really need to enjoy what I’m creating and be immersed in the process completely. That’s why I will carefully think about my idea before I commit to anything, since I need to be 100% behind it all of the way.
  3. They tell the story of one or a couple of character’s journey- no more. Since my short film will only be a duration of 5 minutes, it really needs to be centred around one main protagonist or maybe a couple if they have a strong interlink. In such a short timeframe there’s not enough screen time to create a Magnolia like plotline, and through only featuring a handful of characters I will be able to fully explore their story rather than just only briefly introducing them.
  4. The films utilise available resources. Obviously this will change from one director to the next, but for me, my short film needs to be created to a fairly low budget cost and utilises the equipment available to me from the school’s media department. I think this will be best achieved by creating a film in the Drama genre, as these focus on real life people in real life situations, meaning that I will not have to go to elaborate extents to create a 1920s inspired flapper party when really I don’t have the access to much set design, costumes, actors or anything other than the things I already own or can be bought for a reasonable price.
  5. Include a twist at the beginning and at the end. Most cinematic pieces (including television shows and short films) set up an expectation and then ultimately subvert this, thus keeping the audience on their toes. I’m not quite sure how to include this into the initial ideas that I’ve already considered but if I find this is a recurring theme in short films I will find a way to make it work.
  6. Has a largely optimistic outlook or ends up on a high note. I can understand this reason since they are so short that they ought to include something positive, rather than just a short snippet of a seriously depressing story. I feel like this could easily be incorporated into my film, possibly by turning it around into a moral lesson of some sort if anything seems suitable.
  7. They feature memorable characters. Script advised that I…

“Give your characters strong personalities, quirks, wants, and goals. That way, we’ll care about them, and willingly follow them on their journey.”

… which I feel is an incredibly important aspect in creating a short film, since there’s such a short amount of time for the characters to make an impression on the audience, so by making them very distinct individuals they may stick with the audience even though the film is a much shorter length than normal.





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