How to start writing a Short Film

So you are interested in how to start writing your short film. That is awesome! I am glad you found this website because I want to help people like YOU bring their stories to life. 

In the previous post, we mention how a movie is made. If you haven’t had the chance to read that, I recommend you to take a look at it before you read this post, so you have a better understanding of the process of making a film. 


As I mentioned in the previous post, the first thing you should do when you get an idea of a short film is to write it down on paper or in your favourite writing app. This way you won’t forget about the idea, and you can start developing your story. 

Writing is the easiest way to put your idea into words and the best way to start communicating it with someone or with yourself. This way you can start to figure out if your story is working or not. This is also the best way to save money and time on developing the movie. If you start creating assets, and 3D models without having a decent script, you will waste a lot of resources and probably end up redoing a lot of things.

Also, writing is the best way to start playing around with ideas. If they don’t work, you can erase them and start writing again. 

What do I need to start writing?

The simplest answer is a piece of paper and a pen. Don’t overthink it. Start writing your ideas down. Even though that is the fastest and cheapest way to start writing, you might be like me and prefer to write on a computer. 

In that case, there are many options of software you can use to start putting down your idea in words. I recommend you to stick with free software, especially if this is the first time you are writing a short film. 

Here is a list of some of the softwares you can use to start writing your first script. 

  1. Final Draft 
  2. CeltX
  3. Word
  4. Evernote

In that case there are many options of software you can use to start putting down your idea in words. I recommend you to stick with a free software , specially if you are starting in the writing world. 

How long my script should be?

This is definitely a great question. The answer however may vary a lot, depending on your budget and your idea. But the best thing to do if this is your first time doing a short film is to keep it simple.

If this is your first short film I would recommend that you keep it very short and simple. One of the most common mistakes people make is that they want to make an epic movie with lots of visual effects and characters fighting monsters, spaceships attacking the world, etc. I know this sounds awesome, but in reality, this is almost impossible to make if you don’t have the money and the people to help you create this kind of film. You can also try to do it alone, but it would take you years, and in the end, you will lose interest and never finish your project.

So keep it simple and try to make your shortfilm no longer than 3-5 minutes. longer than that would be very hard to complete on your own. A great way to think about it is looking at it as a commercial. A commercial ususally has a story and gives you a message in around 30-45 seconds. So , try to do the smae , try to tell your story in a short period and really think about the important parts of your story. Remeber. KEEP IT SIMPLE.

What things do I need in my script?

As we mentioned before, we want to keep it SIMPLE. The first thing you will need is a character. It can be she a he or even a thing. It can be anything you want, it is your story. Whatever you choose as your main character, you need to make it authentic and believable. In the next post, we will talk about how to develop a character.
Once you have the character, then you need a place where the story is taking place. It can be happening in space, a coffee shop, school, or anything you have in mind. Try to have your story take place on just one site.

Great! Now we have a character and a set. We pretty much have everything we need to start writing the story. Some questions that you can ask yourself to make the story more believable are. When is the story taking place? Is it at night time or daylight? Is it a futuristic movie or a western movie?.

I hope you learned something from this post, and don’t forget to subscribe to the newsletter. So you can learn more about animation and how to make your animated short film.

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