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Friday, July 13, 2012

8 top tips for writing a great short film script

Now, these 8 pieces of advice were originally offered up by Kurt Vonnegut when he was talking about short stories.

I think they work well for writing short films too. Or, heck, any cinema.

  1. Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted.
  2. Give the reader at least one character he or she can root for.
  3. Every character should want something, even if it is only a glass of water.
  4. Every sentence must do one of two things–reveal character or advance the action.
  5. Start as close to the end as possible.
  6. Be a sadist. No matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them–in order that the reader may see what they are made of.
  7. Write to please just one person. If you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia.
  8. Give your readers as much information as possible as soon as possible. To heck with suspense. Readers should have such complete understanding of what is going on, where and why, that they could finish the story themselves, should cockroaches eat the last few pages.
But for films I'd maybe add say number 8 feels like it should be challenged. The 'twist ending' being a classic of short films more so than even short prose.


BellaVida Letty said...

Love it!

Rachel said...

A note from the folks at :

Great opportunity for you to check out on Bombay Sapphire & Tribeca Film Festival's short film competition. Enter for a chance to direct your treatment of Oscar-winning screenwriter Geoffrey Fletcher's script and see it on the big screen at its international premier! Submit your concepts here: