4 Tips That Can Help You Create Better Short Films

Maura N.

The Last Black Unicorn
Staff member
The primary challenge when creating a short film is to tell a story to your audience in only a few minutes. In theory, a short film is any film that has less than 40 minutes. However, if you wish to enter your short film to a festival, you will soon find that the runtime is limited to 3 to 15 minutes. It can be quite difficult to tell a story in such a short timeframe, but not impossible. You will need to present your entire story in such a manner that it is not rushed and the audience will want to watch it until the last second. Fortunately, getting experience with short films can help you with the upcoming trends on social media, that encourage content that ranges from 1 minute (on TikTok, Instagram & Facebook Reels) to 10 minutes (on YouTube). This will also allow you to easily promote your content on these platforms and gain a wider exposure.

Here are 4 tips that can help you create better short films:

1. Tell a story

The audience loves to hear a story. This technique is also used in Public Speaking and Workshops, when the speaker starts by telling real, historical or fictional stories to get the attention of his audience.

2. Keep it simple

A short film has only a few minutes where you can tell your story. The shortest, the better. To do it right, you need to find a simple and very specific idea that you wish to tell through your short film. It can be a challenge to focus on that one thing and not go into many unnecessary details. Many good ideas don't work in the short form and would be perfect for a feature film. A short film does not have time to show complex sub-plots or many secondary characters. Remember that in short films, less is more.

3. Emotions matter

Your audience might forget a good story but they will never forget how watching your short film made them feel. Unlike feature films, short films offer the opportunity of telling a short story. Your short film can be a drama that tells a story that many people can relate to. The plot can take place in an enclosed environment, such as a room, which makes it easier for you to film.

4. Don’t forget “the twist”

A great way to make a memorable short film is by including a plot twist. Having an unpredictable story will amaze your audience. You can also include two plot twists, one at the beginning and one at the end of your short film, which will surprise your audience even more. Just keep in mind that a short film is not a feature film and everything needs to be simple and on-point.


Active member
Your audience will never forget how a film made them feel. This is why "A Walk to Remember" was so memorable when I first watched it. Or "The Notebook".


Active member
These are really good tips. Keep it simple and flesh out the main character. What conflict are they going through and how do they overcome it? Why is the story special/different/important from all other stories already told?