December 13, 2019

3 Essential Tips to Make Your Short Films Better

Writing a short film? These tips will help you make the best out of your idea.

Short films can be a great calling card within the industry. They're easy to pass around and can be even easier to make yourself. 

So how can you get your short films to work for you? 

And what if you don't have any ideas to even start writing? 

Don't worry, we have your back. Premium Beat just released this video of three tips to help jumpstart your short film. 

3 Ways That Can Help You Make a Great Short Film

1. Use the "100 Ideas Method"

When brainstorming, you can run into writer's block or just be frustrated with what you put on paper. One of the best ways to just get into the zone is using a technique that Judd Apatow coined -- The "100 Ideas Method."

The Knocked Up director writes down 100 ideas. They can be as long as a treatment or as loose as a logline

The important part is that no idea is too nuts. Or out of bounds. Or "bad." Take any swing. Put ludicrous things down. You want a toaster that goes on an adventure? Feelings that have feelings? What about a park full of dinosaurs or a hitman who gets revenge for his dog? 

All ideas are safe and no judgment.

The important part is that you get to 100. 

Once you have 100 ideas down, you can refine it from there. How so?

Take your time and pick the 20 best. Flesh them out a bit more. Then, go to the next tip. 

2. Write Stories the Way the South Park Guys Do

When South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone are outlining their ideas, they have a specific way they tackle getting their beats in a row. Instead of saying "This happens, then this happens..." They say "This happens, therefore this happens, but this changes things..."

This helps enhance escalation and conflict in your story. 

Instead of the "and" principles -- which separate story beats -- going at it from "therefore" makes everything happen for a reason. 

When you're writing, you want the audience to feel like everything is planned and linked. It can also help your process. 

So try to hook the beats together and see what happens. And if that doesn't work...

3. Start at the End

There are no rules about how you write and in what order. 

If you don't have a beginning, start writing the ending 

Write out of order and work backward if you have to. If you know where it all ended up, do that scene, the scene before it, and suddenly you'll be back at the beginning. 

This gives you a lot of room to be creative. You can work back and subvert tropes, change character intros, and even plant things you know pay off at the end. 

Work in any way possible. Just work. 

What's next? Watch the 50+ Best Short Films of All Time

The best short films of all time were hard to find in days past. But now, with YouTube, they're only just a click away! 

Get watching...      

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1 Comment

That bit about the Southpark guys is great and reminds me of how Back to the Future was planned/written. It's the same idea, every action leads to something else in the story, but the way that was applied in BTTF was through using index cards if I remember correctly.

So for instance, they would write "Marty invents Rock n' Roll" on a card and put it on the wall. Then they'd say to themselves, "That's funny, but we need to make this fit into the story," and they'd then go out to write another card that justifies their first one. Which in the case of that joke, meant showing Marty audition for a show at the beginning of the movie, as well as establish that he can play the guitar in the first scene of the movie. Even the end of the Johnny B. Good scene is hinted at in both those earlier scenes, with Marty trying to rock too hard and it backfiring on him.

December 16, 2019 at 11:09AM

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