From the year 1931, when Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), now more commonly known as the Oscars, gave out the first ever prize for short films, since them, the importance and versatility of short films have never been underestimated. Short films require immense skillsets not only in the field of photography but also in the art of story-telling. Though very easy make, but are very hard to excel at. But if David can beat the mighty Goliath, the art of making short films can also be mastered with some simple secrets of the trade.
One of the most important dynamic aspect that short films bring to the game of cinematography is the freedom given to upcoming, talented writers to unbound themselves from the mindsets of the society and bring something new and fresh to the table. These writers have nobody to please but bring out content that makes a solid impact of their targeted market. Thus a very important secret on making a successful short film is to see the world with a different pairs of glasses that the society refuses to see through.
Other than thinking differently, every person on the film team should be able to relate to the topic being displayed. If they themselves cannot connect, how can they expect the audience to? Many of a times, while running behind the plastic money, the writer forgets to build a realistic link between the character and the audience. This link should be in such a manner that even the audience can relate to the struggles of the characters in their day to day lives or at least get a better picture of the topic being displayed. Just putting a person in rags on screen is not the way to go, but using the visual medium to such extents that the audience believes that they are themselves walking in a pair of worn out chappals.
Sometimes just making a memorable character is not enough. A successful short film can only be made if the scenes depicted in them are cleverly drafted to deliver a message. It is not always required to deliver a thought via a dialogue. A more of a fact than a secret (missed so many times that it has become a secret!!!) is that action speaks louder than words. This not only signifies the importance of the acting skills of the actor but also the scene that is created around him/her. The scene should be portrayed in a manner that the viewers instantly connect to it.
Another secret to the trade is HOPE. Though not all real life tales lead to a happy ending but hope is what keeps us grinding for achieving our goals. Thus, since the beginning of the plot, a string of hope on which the character is hanging on for success is what keeps the audience glued to the motion picture. If the end turns to be all merry for the character, the audience is happy (because we always love and support the underdog to win). But even it ends otherwise; it stays as a reminder to just push yourself a little harder to achieve your goals.
A story is never captivating if it has no twists and turns in it. The secret is to plot these twists in such a manner that the audience is awestruck by the change of events. But a note to all the budding writers is that not to put so many twists in that short duration of the plot that the audience, instead to viewing the film, is left confused to catch up with the storyline.
Every great craftsman leaves the audience begging for more. So sometimes, develop your concept in such a manner that it leaves on a cliff hanger. It gives you the scope for writing a sequel to your first film and also gives the viewers an adrenaline rush that what will happen next. This not only helps you to expand your viewer base but also might just grab you the attention for a big break (that you dreamt of your whole life). But it is to be considered that if the short film is on a social topic that is of huge sentimental value like girl child, rapes, etc. it is better that you finish the story to avoid any type of misconception in the minds of the viewers.
Lastly but most importantly is to remember that not to trade the thrills of flying for the acceptance by society. Be crisp, clear and precise in your thoughts, portray them in the best manner possible and don’t stop till you reach the top.