How to make a short film : Script (part1)

Make a short film script

Short filmmaking starts with a great script. Your most important asset in the film industry is a well thought out story that is engaging whether its 3 or 30 minutes.

In a short film you have a limited time to develop your characters and even less time to create complex plots, so the simpler the better. There is no one rule on how to make the best short film script, however originality is key, and the way your audience interprets your material is what is going to determine your success.

Whether you are looking to make a film noir, comedy, horror, drama or an action epic, your script is your film manual. It will keep you on track and guide you when making decisions on casting, crew, cameras and all other aspects of the production. You may choose not to follow it 100%, or to run with a general idea, but you need to have a beginning, middle and end.


Descriptions help your direction. How do you describe your scene? Is it an interior, exterior, day, night, jungle, city, bathroom or underground tube station? These details are the basic code to your script. When describing action, for example, John goes to the window to get some fresh air, define the personality of the action. How does John go to the window? Does he dash? Does he gallop? Is he drunk, and can barely get off his chair? These small descriptive details add focus to your actions, and help you define movement within your story.


Dialogue is a tricky one. If you have an eccentric boxer and an old grandmother who talk the same, then your audience will have trouble distinguishing your characters. Part of making original characters in a movie is the way they talk. Consider their backgrounds, and their way of life when you write. Put yourself in their shoes. See how they would talk to one another.

Visual description

Silence is powerful. Yes you can have a silent movie that enters major festivals but for that to happen, it needs to have a visual impact. If you find it difficult to create dialogue for your characters, try to create a situation where there is emotional silence. This allows you to think creatively about how your characters interact with their environment. Does the boxer punch his TV set when he is angry or does he weep and make tea? Is your grandmother character going to feed the stray cat that appears at the window or is she going to poke it with a stick? Make it enjoyable; take us into their world.

There are certain non-creative limitations that you need to consider when writing your script. If you are a first time filmmaker, consider the resources it will take for you to make that story a reality. Small details in your script can amount to cost, and these are often not apparent when writing. There are costs that you can incur in order to make a scene that are difficult to assume without taking a closer look.


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What do you think?

  • chinnu kavishri

    thanks for u r info

  • Nic Penrake

    A tad generic albeit relevant advice.

  • raj

    thanx for info.

  • Sundar

    thanx a lott…
    content given s very useful-

  • arun

    yapdi yavathu oru director aganum

  • Ben Banks

    Thanks for the pointers. It is true that preparation is so important. If you can write down as detailed as possible the story you want to tell, how it will look, your shot list as you envision the film in your head and what the character’s story arc is, you will give yourself a huge advantage when it comes down to editing, putting your film together and truly finishing with a good project in hand.

  • Iain Alexander

    Best of luck to you!

  • jibin joy

    Hey thanx a ton for the information. I am working on a story. . . the plot is ready to be scripted . . .

  • sivagiri

    i have a one script for make a short movie . but , no one help me ., what can do . every one answer me . ? and also insufficient money , and situtation ., at present time ., but it may be ., i will trying to that

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  • naresh

    yes yes good information.i learn and know more from this. thank you all

  • ramesh das

    .I have a script.. i
    try to make it in screen….

  • lokesh

    gud…..i have a script.. i
    try to make it in screen….

  • abhishek

    THNKS FR THS HELP.. am trying to make a gud script

  • Jim K

    Wonderful post, elegant approach to writing. Example screenplays can be found at . Technical info on how to make / shoot a film, great resources can be purchased on amazon, Master Shots, Cinematic Story Telling, etc… The internet is a big place, search for specifics, Camera Techniques, Shots, Editing, Lighting, Sound.

  • raj

    i want an example script