1. A Great Script

Something that I've noticed about many shorts coming out of film schools and most film festival submissions is, that there's a wealth of "well directed" shorts, or beautiful films shot on super 16mm, using Cooke lenses helmed by super-talented cinematographers.. but do I care for the actual film? Rarely. 

What I know about the short films that have really nourished my life, are that those shorts that I'd happily pay money to see, such as Alexander Payne's 14th Arrondissement and Wes Anderson's Hotel Chevalier, is that they are wonderfully written.

These screenwriters have created truly interesting three-dimensional characters that I care for, and have a level of sophistication to their writing, which credits the viewer with intelligence - just like a well-written short story does. All of my favourite shorts are in no way poor relatives to feature films, rather they are their artistic equal.

 

 2. A Great Script

 

3. A Great Script

 

4. A Great Script

 

 5.  A Great Cast

I don't think that you need to cast famous actors, or even actors who have ever acted before, but you must cast your short with extraordinary, interesting individuals that an audience is going to love watching.
Too often, people settle for a lacklustre cast when given a bit more time, and possibly an element of risk-taking, they would be able to find amazing talent, even though it might not be found in obvious places. Do you adore your cast and celebrate the day you first met them? If the answer is "no", then you might want to reconsider your casting.

 

Want to learn even more about how to make a great Short Film? Check out our other articles including 7 Rules For Writing Short Films and Commissioning Music For Short Films

 

Col Spector
Col Spector is an award-winning director who began his career producing and directing documentaries for the BBC and Channel 4. These include “Just Enough Distance” “The Lost Supper” "The Real Alan Clark", and “Trouble At The House.”

He then went on to write and direct the short comedy drama “New Year’s Eve” (starring Stephen Mangan & Keira Knightley) before making his feature debut with the low-budget unromantic comedy “Someone Else” (starring Stephen Mangan & Susan Lynch) which was distributed by Soda Pictures in the UK and the IFC/Sundance Channel in the US. His second feature, the relationship comedy Honeymooner (starring Gerard Kearns) was also distributed in the UK by Soda Pictures and recently broadcast on BBC1. He is currently in pre-production on a new dramedy feature.

Col teaches the popular Documentary Foundation Certificate at Raindance, and runs a bespoke documentary consultancy service for professional and non-professional documentary-makers. To see how Col Spector could help you with your film and to read some testimonials from filmmakers who have used his service go to www.thedocumentaryconsultant.com.