If you’re looking for inspiration for your next short film, look no further! These five prompts will get your creative juices flowing and help you come up with a stunning story. From love to loss, these prompts will cover a range of emotions and leave you with plenty of ideas for your next project. So what are you waiting for? Get started today!
12 Short Film Prompts
- The heartbreak of first love: Set in a high school cafeteria, this short film follows two star-crossed lovers as they grapple with the pain and excitement of young love.
- An unexpected encounter: When a young woman finds herself alone in a dark alleyway late at night, she must decide whether to trust the mysterious stranger who offers her help.
- A life-changing discovery: After stumbling upon secret documents that hint at a long-lost family fortune, a young man is thrust into a thrilling quest for answers and adventure.
- A chance meeting: In this dark and mysterious short, a woman finds herself in the middle of a dangerous situation. She must decide whether to trust the stranger who offers to help her get home safely.
- A dream come true: This sweet and thoughtful short film follows a teenager as he struggles with a difficult choice. Will he follow his dreams, or will he stay with his abusive family?
- The weight of a secret: After being abandoned by his mother as a child, a young man struggles with depression and an eating disorder. As he reaches out for help, he discovers his life is at risk.
- A dark and stormy night: When a young man encounters a beautiful woman in the middle of a life-or-death situation, he’s torn between his dedication to justice and his desire to protect her.
- A wake-up call: After being caught stealing from his boss, a call center employee must prove he’s been framed. As the police investigate, he must find the culprit or risk losing everything.
- The last straw: This serious and gripping short film follows a young man forced to make a difficult choice between his long-time addiction and the woman he loves.
- Love hurts: In this dark and dramatic short, a young man picks up a mysterious hitchhiker and discovers an incredible secret.
- A mystery revealed: After an elderly woman dies in a mysterious fire, a young man must decide whether to give up his future to right an old wrong.
- The price of love: When a woman discovers her boyfriend is a drug dealer, she must decide whether to turn him in or protect the love of her life.
7 Short Film Tips
- Start with Act II: Most short films have a problem. So instead of starting with a problem, start with Act II, when the problem is revealed.
- The problem should move the story forward: The problem doesn’t only exist to look cool. It needs to move the story forward and needs to get worse.
- Go for a surprise: One way to engage the audience is to have them be surprised by what happens.
- Create suspense: Another way to engage the audience is to create suspense. And the best way to do that is to make the audience wonder what will happen next.
- Conflict is key: As you write, remember that conflict is key. That is, you need conflict between your characters. And the best way to create conflict is to give your characters opposing ideas and goals.
- Pick one strong central idea: Every short film needs a strong central idea. Something that makes the story unique. Something to keep in mind as you write.
- Make sure each scene moves the story forward: Stay cognizant of each scene as you write. Make sure it moves the story forward. And that the conflict increases from start to finish.
How to Make a Good Short Film
Making a good short film is hard. You have a limited amount of time to tell a complete story with characters the audience cares about, and you have to do it in a visually interesting way. It’s no wonder many short films are bad. But it doesn’t have to be that way! Here are some tips on how to make a good short film.
Write a Good Script
The most important part of any film is the script. If you don’t have a good story, no amount of fancy camera work or effects will save your film. So take the time to write a great script. If you’re not a writer, hire one. It’s worth it.
Get Good Actors
A good script can be ruined by bad acting. So cast your film carefully. Get actors who can deliver the lines the way you want them delivered and are also visually interesting to watch on screen.
Shoot on Location
Whenever possible, shoot your film on location instead of in a studio. Location shooting gives your film more visual interest and can help create atmosphere. Of course, shooting on location can also be more logistically difficult and expensive, so it’s not always possible. But if you can swing it, do it.
Use Creative Cinematography
Even if you’re working with limited resources, there are still ways to make your film look interesting through creative camerawork. Think about shot composition, lighting, and camera movement. Be intentional about the way you’re framing each scene.
Edit Your Film Carefully
Editing is where you put the finishing touches on your film and turn it into something great. A good editor will know how to pace, cut between scenes, and add sound and music for maximum effect.
7 Ways to Get Started With a Short Film
- Pick a genre: You can use many genres for a short film. These include comedy, drama, crime, thriller, fantasy, action, and horror.
- Come up with a title: Your title should be descriptive and should make the audience ask questions.
- Start with your visual: Think about the kind of film you want to make. What image comes to mind?
- Start with character: And think about your characters. Who are they? What do they want?
- Know the conflict: Think about your conflict. What’s keeping your characters from getting what they want?
- Write a logline: You should write a log line – a one-sentence description of what happens in your story. And you can use this logline to help you with the rest of your writing.
- Give your main character a goal: Your main character needs a goal, a reason to act. So give them a goal and ensure they’re trying to achieve it.
12 Tips for Pitching a Short Film
- Write a solid logline: Your log line should be a one-sentence description of your film that captures an audience’s interest.
- Know your genre: Every short film has a genre. So make sure you know where your short film fits into the genre spectrum.
- Know what makes your film different: What makes your film different from others in the genre?
- Know what makes your film better: Why should an audience watch your film instead of others in the genre?
- Know your budget: You should know your budget before you pitch. This includes knowing the projected cost of your film and what you hope to make back.
- Find a producer: Find a producer first. And ask the producer to find you an investor.
- Get as much feedback as possible: You should get as much feedback as possible before you pitch your film. This can include feedback from audience members, friends, and peers.
- Know your competition: Find out what films are similar to yours. And find out what films are different.
- Know your genre and your competition: You should know your genre and your competition. This will make it easier to pitch your film.
- Have a solid elevator pitch: You have to have a solid elevator pitch. This is your pitch in the time it takes for an elevator ride.
- Know what you value: You should know how much you value your film. Do you value your film more as an art piece or a business opportunity?
- Always have a competitive edge: You should always have a competitive edge. This means that your film should stand out from others in its genre.
3 Tips for Creating Quality Visuals in Short Filmmaking
- Use your words: You should use your words to guide your visuals. Make your visuals tell a story.
- Be visually descriptive: Be visually descriptive. This means you should use all five senses to describe what you see.
- Be specific: Be specific. This means you should be as specific as possible in what you see and say.
9 Tips for Writing Dialogue for Short Film
- Avoid exposition: Dialogue is a great way to avoid exposition. Instead of explaining what happens, have one of your characters explain it instead.
- Slow down your dialogue: Dialogue should be written slow. Characters take time to talk. So make sure your dialogue reflects this.
- Use action to avoid dialogue: Dialogue should never be used to describe action. Avoid this by using action to describe what’s happening.
- Build tension with dialogue: Dialogue can be used to build tension. One way to do this is by having the characters argue.
- Use dialogue to reveal character: Dialogue should be used to reveal character. For example, you can use dialogue to show a character’s backstory or goals.
- Use dialogue to build relationships: Dialogue can also be used to build relationships. For example, you can have a conversation between two characters that reveal their history together.
- Use dialogue to deepen relationships: Dialogue can also be used. For example, you can have a conversation between two characters that shows how they’ve grown together.
- Use dialogue to reveal the plot: Dialogue can reveal the plot, too. For example, a plot twist can be revealed through dialogue.
- Dialogue should be specific. This means you shouldn’t use vague language when you write.