If you want to make a short film, you need a script. A good script can make or break a short film. The best short films are those that keep the audience interested from the beginning to the end. Scripts for short films need to be concise. They should not take more than 15 or 20 pages. In addition, they need to use the limited time. To write a good script, you need to also understand the film industry from the inside. You also need to know your target audience and what you think they would like to see on the big screen.
To get started, you should watch all types of short films and cartoon shows. This will help you develop your style. Also, you can think about your own experiences growing up and how to express those through your vision.
Alternatively, you could make a horror short film with a zombie who falls deeply in love. However, the best short films have an EPIC twist at the end to create the memory.
Whether you decide to write a short film or a full-feature film, you need to remember that you are bound to a specific audience. Writers must know what issues are relevant to their audience. My choice was automatic for me, Flashy Cars, a Beautiful Woman, Money, Horse Power, and a reputation to uphold. All while honoring GOD.
Another important tip for writers is to look for hot trends in the movie industry, old or new. Many short films have been inspired by popular movies and TV shows. For example, Mysterious Ways 23 follows a scene from my childhood memory of the movie “Back to the future” directed by Robert Zemeckis. I wrote a similar race scene to the one shown in the 1985 movie. At the time I saw this scene, I said to myself, “One day I’m going to make a movie like this but my way.” So at the age of 8 years old, I was already a big dreamer.
You should also look for the most interesting characters. When you're drafting your script, you should create characters with rich personalities. In my story the character that plays Olivia, a beautiful early forties wife has traits of my grandmother from stories I’ve heard from my grandfather. One particular story was my grandfather driving and trying to deal with an arguing wife at the same time while swatting lit box matches that were being thrown at him. As a young boy I thought those stories were funny and while being told by a man that I have always looked up to, I visioned this argument in my head and it was etched in my brain like a movie and now I’m able to express it as part of my film.
Getting a film made is often a difficult and sometimes impossible task. Most writers and directors have a difficult time getting their projects off the ground. Some of the problems can be caused by budgetary reasons, but some can also be due to creative issues. The key is to follow through to the end and produce a film that is worth watching.
To make a short Hollywood movie, start by brainstorming ideas for your story. You can use various scriptwriting tools, such as Celtx screenwriting software, which provides industry-formatting guidelines. This will help you conceptualize your story and set up a production calendar.
Once you have your idea for a story, it is time to work with your actors. If you have a great cast, your film will be much more likely to be successful. A good director is also a good editor. When the filmmaker and the editor are working together, they can feel the natural rhythm of the picture and see where it is taking shape.
Next, decide what kind of tone you want to establish. Many of the best films use music, editing, and cinematography to make their viewers feel something. Good movies also tell a story and allow viewers to identify with the characters. Although it is almost impossible for an independent filmmaker to license music from the BMI catalog it's not far-fetched to recreate your original music following the chosen tracks and close to the original sounds. We took a song from my childhood memory called “Heart Beat" from the band known as WAR and recreated our version slightly differently but still recreating that memory. I was able to get an “Ok” tap on the shoulder from my world-famous musician Harald Brown one of the original WAR band members. We also did another version of “I can’t believe you're leaving me” from the early 80s band known as Bar-Kays. Those two songs are a must to get my vision expressed in the way I intend to climb inside the minds of my viewers and also capture their hearts.
Other important ingredients to a good movie include overall production value, acting, directing, and writing. Each of these factors needs to be taken into account, and every department should be aligned with the direction of the story. In 2010 while working for Albert Okura “The ChickenMan” I was allowed to attend an online version of Film School and graduated from a two-year program in which he paid my tuition. It was a learning experience that I would never have had without his help. Soon after I created his 50-Year Plan which he had written into the form of a published book. I also produced a long-running TV advertising campaign that brought a lot of new customers for all his locations across southern California and worked directly with Large TV networks such as ABC, NBC, KTLA, Telemundo, WB, and a few other Big Stations. So remember networking with established people or large production companies or major studios is always a plus. Every networking conversation holds opportunities. Have you ever heard of the elevator pitch? You never know when you might be at a place like Hollywood Rentals and walk into a room where Eva Longoria is making a deal for Desperate Housewives. Or Robert Mark Kamen making a deal for Taken. Or at a lunch inside the Warner Brother Studios cafe and find that you're sitting next to John Malkovich. Well, these things won’t happen if you don’t get out there and network. Sowing seeds as they say.
Finally, remember that you don't need a huge budget to make a great movie. Just make sure you follow the rules outlined above and you're on your way to making a great short.
-Carlos Garcia Aceves