Writing A Short Film Script On HitRECord
There is obviously no one right way to write a Short Film Script, either on HitRECord or anywhere else. These are guidelines I try to use when I write a script and hopefully they may be of some use to others. Really interested to hear how others feels a successful short HitRECord script could be written <3
1. Have A Strong, Simple Premise
- Can you express the premise simply and clearly in a single sentence? If not, it may be that your idea is too complex or not clearly defined enough.
- If we’re making a 2 min short film it needs to be about ONE THING and that thing needs to be CLEARLY EXPRESSED.
- Make sure your premise is strong and original enough. Be wary of using the first, second or third idea that pops into your head - most often they will be the obvious, trite, generic ideas that everyone else will be thinking of.
- Example 1: First Stars I See Tonight (HITRECORD ON TV) "A girl with a rare eye condition sees stars for the first time when her Dad buys her night-vision goggles."
- Example 2: RAINBOW CROW "Mythological ‘origin story’ of the crow, once a beautiful and melodic bird, who heroically sacrificed its looks to bring fire and warmth to the world."
2. Keep To The Premise
- HitRECord Shorts are very short and there’s simply no time to deviate from the premise with funny side plots or one-liners. Every time you do that you dilute the power and impact of your story.
- Example: In ‘First Stars I See Tonight’ we don’t see a two-minute conversation around the breakfast table where we establish Mom, Dad and Daughter chatting about the hassle Dad is having with his boss or Mom teasing her Daughter about the Boy they saw at the store who obviously fancies her.
3. Keep The Story Moving Forward
- Most scripts on the site move too slowly, whereas "this script was too fast-paced, I felt like I couldn't catch my breath" is not a critique one often hears.
- Show, don't tell. Filmmaking is a visual medium so always look first to move the story forward visually rather than through dialogue.
- This is bad:
WIFE: What I want to know is why, when I left the house, our beautiful child was unblemished and one hour later, after doing the weekly shop, I return to find he has a giant bump on his head!
HUSBAND: Well, it certainly wasn't that I was paying more attention to the football game than the welfare of our precious pride and joy.
WIFE enters the house struggling with several bags of grocery and sees HUSBAND trying to comfort their WAILING TODDLER, holding a bag of frozen peas to the Toddler's forehead.
WIFE: What the hell happened?
HUSBAND throws the TODDLER into the air with one eye on the football match.
HUSBAND cheers as his team scores a touchdown.
THUD! The TODDLER screams.
HUSBAND: (to Wife) He fell over outside.
- Where there is dialogue, look closely at each line and see which can be cut or merged. Be ruthless and then brutal in cutting unnecessary dialogue.
- Individual lines of dialogue are commonly too long, rather too short. Cut, cut, cut.
- Consider having your characters interrupt each other rather than each waiting patiently for the other to finish their point. It doesn't happen in real life and every extraneous word slows the story down.
4. Use Correct Scriptwriting Format
- Use this template written by Joe: Script Format Template.
- Laying your script out in the correct format makes it easier for other to remix it.
- Personally, laying out a screenplay structure really helps me to get into the writing when I would otherwise be staring at a blank screen. Put down what you know (INT. CRIME SCENE - DAY / Two Detectives stand over a dead body) and put 'placeholders' where you haven't yet got anything ("I don't care if [SOMETHING], I'm not sleeping with your mother!"). Doing this can make writing the script feel less daunting and you can always release a version complete with placeholders and invite feedback from the community.
Created: May 29, 2017