How to Write a Short Movie Script

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The budgets for short films tend to be small, so it's important to keep locations, characters and visual effects to a minimum. Make a film that is 40 minutes or less with filmmaking tips from a director and filmmaker in this free video on making movies.

Part of the Video Series: Filmmaking Basics
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Video Transcript

Hi, I'm Jared Drake and I'm going to talk to you about writing a short script for a movie. You know short films, the budgets tend to be very, very small and you need all, you need to give yourself all the best chances of getting finance as possible so keep the locations to a minimum, keep the characters to a minimum, keep the visual effects, the special effects, all that to a minimum. Short films they tend to say are 40 minutes or less. Most short film makers they make the film with the intention of going to film festivals. Film festivals, although they accept movies, most accept movies that are up to 40 minutes long or even 50 minutes long, it's very, very difficult for film festivals to program shorts that are that long, generally what film festivals have for short films is they have blocks of time that they've set apart. Maybe they have an hour and a half blocks of time set apart for short films, they have four of those so they have four hour and a half blocks of time that they've set aside. And the programmers can cram in as many short films as possible during that hour and a half, those four blocks of hour and a half. So if your movie is 40 minutes long and it's considered a short film, it's going to be very difficult for programmers to program that short. Short short films meaning films between 5 and 15 minutes long tend to be received much better. Audiences go in with the expectation that hey I'm going to have to donate my attention for 5 minutes and that's it and I'm going to see a full story and be moved within 5 minutes. If it starts to dragging on up to 20 minutes or 25 minutes, even if it's a great story, people could start to wander and they often do like hey, is this going to end? I thought this was a short film. So there's a lot of things, there's a lot of reasons to keep your script short. They say one page equals one minute of screen time so try and keep your pages below 15 pages if possible because it gets expensive if it's longer, it's more shooting days which means it will be harder to get financed, it's harder to program and audiences don't want to watch a 40 minute long short film.


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