Movie Making School 101: 4 Steps To The Perfect Short Film

Posted on April 29th, 2016 - Written by: Trebas Toronto

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Many famous directors started out making short films

What do Michel Gondry, Paul Thomas Anderson, Tim Burton, and George Lucas all have in common? Each of these famous directors all got their start in the industry by creating acclaimed short films.

While they don’t have the commercial potential of a full-length feature, a short film can be the most valuable piece of work an aspiring filmmaker produces.  Shorts can earn recognition through competitions and festivals, help you build an online following by posting on sites like YouTube, and used as a general calling card to give industry insiders a short introduction to your work.

But how can film production students make an impact in just a few minutes of screen time?  Read on to find out how to make short film that count.

1. Find the Right Idea for Your Short Film Production

Finding a good idea for a short film can be difficult. Not only do you need to create a compelling story, but you also need to be able to convey it in at very short space of time. A good rule of thumb is to aim for a story that you tell in three minutes or less, but which is still unique and exciting enough to grab an audience.

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Short filmmakers need make the most of limited time

2. Don’t Forget the Scriptwriting Basics You Learn at Film Production College

During their courses in film writing, students learn how put together a script using classic three-act story structure. Unfortunately, many neglect to apply these rules to their short film treatments, often mistakenly assuming that the shorter timeframe makes it impossible to use this method.

In truth, classic script structure can easily transfer into the short film medium. For instance, a ten minute film might have a two minute first act, a five minute middle act, and a three minute final act. Taking this approach will help give your story the clarity and incisiveness it needs to really connect with audiences.

3. Use Your Movie Making School Skills to Create Striking Visuals

The old adage that picture is worth a thousand words is never more true than in short films. Each frame needs to be carefully chosen and serve a purpose, grabbing the viewer’s attention and helping to move the story forward. It’s also important to create a striking and distinctive visual style, to help your work stand out from the crowd.

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Short filmmakers need to work hard to make their visuals stand out

4. Make the Most of Your Film Production College Editing Training

Editing is perhaps the most crucial part of the short film process. While feature length productions can take their time building the action, short films need to be tightly paced. The professional editing training you receive at film production college will teach you how to make your film as succinct as possible, while not sacrificing important parts of your story.

Remember that generally speaking, the shorter a short film is the better. Shorter pieces have a better chance of being selected for film festivals, and can also demonstrate your ability to work within tight timeframes, which can be valuable if you’re looking for opportunities in the advertising or television industries.

Interested in attending movie making school?

Contact Trebas for more information about our courses.

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