10 Tips for Short Filmmakers & Film Students

I was an executive who watched a lot of short films that my friends were making in film school as well as the shorts that got filmmakers top representation. Today, I read that Family Guy’s Seth MacFarlane told a group of UCLA Film students that they should graduate with a “commercial” short film. What does that mean? I have some ideas…The following is an excerpt from my book THE STARTER SCREENPLAY, available in print and for Kindle through Amazon. TEN TIPS FOR SHORT FILMMAKERS & FILM STUDENTS Many best short films hit every beat of a feature. A character is introduced, a catalyst occurs, debate, fun and games, bad guy closes in, all is lost, followed by a third act conclusion where the hero solves the problem using what they’ve learned along the way. A 2-minute running time is no excuse. Hit the major beats! You don’t have to, but it helps create a “cinematic feel” to your story. Short films can be fun experiments and great learning experiences. Be creative. Do whatever you want, especially when filming multiple projects on digital video for a single class. My suggestions are for the filmmaker who is spending tens of thousands of dollars or is shooting their final thesis before heading out into the real world and will never have access to so many resources again. Many cinema students I’ve met...

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