Write It | Plan it | Shoot It | Direct It | Edit It | Show It

Let’s make a film!

Short films are some of the favourite films at Raindance Film Festival. The beauty of a short film is you don’t need to have experience, money or training to make one. A short can be anything from a few seconds (like a Vine video) to 45 minutes (according to the Oscars™).

This toolkit shows you how to make a short film.

Check out these 12 steps below to find out how to get your short film made!
Write It | Plan it | Shoot It | Direct It | Edit It Show It

Step 1. Get a script together

A short film is a unique type of story. Because it is short you can’t use the normal opening story techniques of a feature.

Here’s some ways professional screenwriters create stories for short films. You need to hook your audience. These story techniques condense the opening into a few seconds.

  • Universal moment: a short film favourite. Wedding, first kiss, national and religious holidays, championship sporting events
  • Cyclical story: stories that tend to start and end at the same place, but there is now new meaning
  • Time bomb: where something specific must happen in a certain time or else dire consequences will befall the character

Here’s some idea generation exercises. Can you write a hundred words on one of these? Could it become the basis for a short film?

– the office prank
– a day in the life of …
– the local bus stop

There are loads of tricks to generate ideas for shorts.

A script for a short need not be written in industry standard format. But it should be written in what filmmakers call a ‘Shot List’, a simple a one or two line description of each shot the camera takes.

[To get your very own professional script format guide send an email to Lexus@raindance.org]

Check out the other steps below and happy filmmaking!
Write It | Plan it | Shoot It | Direct It | Edit It Show It

Created for the LEXUS Short Film Competition


Elliot Grove is the founder of Raindance Film Festival and the British Independent Film Awards. He has produced over hundreds of short films and also five feature films, including the multi-award-winning The Living and the Dead in 2006. He teaches screenwriting and producing in the UK, Europe, Asia and America.

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Elliot has written three books which have become industry standards: Raindance Writers’ Lab: Write + Sell the Hot Screenplay, now in its second edition, Raindance Producers’ Lab: Lo-To-No Budget Filmmaking and Beginning Filmmaking: 100 Easy Steps from Script to Screen (Professional Media Practice).

He has produced over 700 shorts and 6 features including the new action film AMBER.

In 2009 he was awarded a PhD for services to film education.

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