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Simple Secrets on Making Short film

The common thread that binds the likes of Trouble Man (2016), Galactic Battles (2017), Guess (2017) to name a few, is that they all are short films. So, what exactly is a short film? The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences defines a short film as “an original motion picture that has a running time of 40 minutes or less, including all credits“. This goes without saying that the deciding factor as to whether a film is a short film is its length.

Why make a short film? The aspiring directors who would want to test their directing skills with limited resources can go for making the same. Directing short ones give them ample chances to experiment with. Also, it helps them to make decisions as to whether they got what it takes to be a well-established filmmaker.

As with cooking a tasty food, therein lies some secret recipe, making an appealing short film is no exception. Now, let’s take a look at few points below which details about making a good short film

The Plot

This is by far the most crucial step in the journey of filmmaking. One has to cook up a story which is realistic enough to hold the attention of the audience. The protagonist should be given the pivotal role in the film. The filmmaker as well as the audience should have some personal connections with the film. The filmmaker must first of all read it to his/her friends and parents, thereby trying to get their feedback and work on the areas of the film which may require reconsideration.

Resource Utilization

Secondly, one needs to put to use all the available resources at one’s disposal such as fancy costumes, props or any other equipment. If one has got access to some vacant lavish bungalow or a poolside restaurant then justice should be done to them by converting the same into a centerpiece of one’s short film. Let’s face it; a newbie director can’t go around making films imitating the likes of Hollywood action movies, involving a capital budget of millions of dollars. The lesser the resources you need, the lesser the cost needed to materialize the film.

Start Simple

An aspiring director should not focus on making chunks of short ones just to prove his/her mettle on the subject, but rather should focus on a single one and make efforts to make it shine bright. Preference should be given on quality, not quantity.

Limit the reach

What sets a short apart from a feature is its duration as mentioned above. Hence, the plot of a short should revolve around a single character or at most a couple. Doing this eliminates the need of inducting sub-plots and supporting lead characters.


There is no denying that movies that display the invasion on Earth by aliens or a zombie attack would garner much more attention of the audience than any other regular non sci-fi. But, without a cast of talented and hard-working people, whose stories the audience connect with, even a sci-fi would go to waste. Also, one is advised to not change the protagonist of the film because otherwise the whole plot seems disinteresting.

Employing twists

Whether it’s a short or a feature, the audience appreciates the one which has some sort of twists of about a minute or two in the beginning as well as in the end. Twists are like the extra added spice to make a dish taste a notch higher.

Crafting the end

Now comes the part when the film enters its climax and the audience anticipates how the film would end. Would it be emotional? Or maybe a surprising twist? In any case, it is always advisable to end the film on an optimistic note. This way the audience shall take positive thoughts and memories worth remembering with them.

In a nutshell, a short with a realistic plot, talented characters, coupled with few mind – boggling twists and a positive climax is definitely going to win the hearts of the audience, which is the ultimate goal of any filmmaker for in the words of Sir Kenneth Charles Branagh, a Northern Irish actor, director, producer, and screenwriter:

“I think that short films often contain an originality, a creative freedom, an energy and an invention that is inspiring and entertaining. I think they are, as Shakespeare put it, a good deed in a naughty world”. 


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