5 Things You Need To Make A Short Film That People Will Give A F**k About - Raindance


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




BA (Hons) Film & TV London College of Printing, Raindance MA in Film . Col is an award-winning writer/director who started in non-fiction at the BBC and now works primarily in fiction: writing and directing feature films for the cinema. He also runs his own documentary consultancy business. You can learn from Col in person at the Raindance Documentary Foundation Certificate.