The Structure for a Short Film

Film school students and short film enthusiasts know that it is a strong point to touch the structure of a short film through education alone. When you have an entire script to write, and you have one solid idea, it can be tough to come up with a structure based on a template or example. However, there are a few rules that you can keep in mind when coming up with a structure for a short film. Here are three rules that can help you get a structured approach and give you a film that much-needed organization required.

  • Make sure that the objective of the story and plot is focused on the audience
  • Follow all rules that are required from making a short-film in general, and
  • Use a three-act approach and follow a methodology where there is a point-of-no-return used

Working on The Objective of The film

Always remember that your audience will need to pay attention from the start. Keeping the narrative will help establish that. Always make sure the audience can question the work that they are witnessing throughout the film and would be able to apply the same to themselves. The viewer should feel that they have been changed when the narrative of the film is completed at the end.

The Rules of Short-film Timelines

Getting to the point from the beginning is an essential rule to start with. Audiences who are watching a film that is a mere four minutes long cannot bother with looking at the titles. So keep it away and focus on the narrative from the beginning. The first minute is the most critical part of a short film, and it can have dialogue or no dialogue at all. This establishes the drama that the audience will be able to relate to.

After the first minute, don’t force into any dialogues. Keep the talking to as and when necessary alone. Use dialogue as a way of explaining parts of the film that cannot be understood otherwise. Any feeling and emotions can be displayed through acts and never through dialogue. Look back at your acts and scenes and see if there are extensive elements that explain too much about a scene. Also, every part of the film needs to be justified. The best way to remember this is through thoroughly vetting the movie several times in the end. Remembering that you have only four or 5 minutes to work with will serve you well.

Three-Act Approach and The Point of No-Return

Divide your movie into three parts for ease when you start. The setup is essential and simply means that you set the scene for the theme of the film. The second is the characters used in the film enter into a plot where they can’t get back from except through it. This creates a sense of gripping emotions in the audience, and they want to see the protagonist through. Lastly, tie up everything neatly when the plot is achieved. You can choose to have the epilogue/last part or no. That final tie-in could mean your audience is left satisfied with an ending. Yet, some leave the viewers wanting more. Use your judgment to decide if you wish to an epilogue or no.

Written by: Jamie