So, you want to write a short film? Great! That’s a fantastic goal and it’s totally achievable.
To do that, you need to know what makes a short film great.
In this article, I’ll give you the elements of writing award-winning short films so that you can increase your chances of winning prizes with your own scripts.
How To Write Award Worthy Short Films
What Are short film awards?
Film awards, especially short film awards, are a great way to get recognition for your work and establish yourself as a filmmaker. They are also a great way to advertise your film to new audiences.
Short film awards are film festivals that specialize in screening short films. There are hundreds of these festivals all over the world, and they range from large events which get lots of media attention to small local events.
If you win an award at one of the larger ones, it can really help promote your career as a filmmaker.
Writing Award Worthy Short Films
Every year, there are a number of short films that get nominated for, and win, Oscars. The key is to write great scripts.
If you want to know how to write award-winning short films, here’s what you need to know.
Treat It As A Film
You can’t just use a short film as an exercise in “getting your feet wet” to see if you like writing scripts or not.
You have to treat it as the real deal, no different than writing a feature-length script.If people are seeing this movie at all, they’re seeing it because it was great.
So give it the same level of respect and craftsmanship that you would with a full-length film.
Don’t Just Make It About Your Script
One of the biggest rookie mistakes that people make when they first start trying to write an award-winning short film is that they just try to make it about them.
They want their name on the project so badly that they spend all their time trying to figure out how to fit their own story into the film.
It’s true that you should always write about something you care about, but don’t let your ego get in the way of making good films.
How To Make A Short Film That Wins Awards
It’s a dream of many filmmakers to win an award. And with the right film, it’s not that hard to do.
There are thousands of film festivals out there, and if you’re lucky enough, your film could end up winning an award in one of them.Telling a good story is the most important thing you can do as a filmmaker.
Awards are not given because of special effects, big-name actors or cool camera work. They are given because the judges at the festival loved your film and want to honor your work.
But how do you make a short that can win awards?You have to be realistic about your film and try to figure out what type of festival you want to enter it into.
If your short is about a boy who falls in love with his robot girlfriend and travels across time and space to save her from certain destruction, most likely it will not gain much recognition at a family-oriented drama festival.
There are dozens of factors that go into selecting award winners; however, you can help yourself by concentrating on the basics: be original, don’t be too long and make sure your story is complete and satisfying. Film festivals have specific rules for each category; make sure you follow them exactly so you don’t disqualify.
How To Get My Short Film Into The Oscars
Getting your short film into the Oscars is a long shot. It’s one of the most coveted awards in cinema, but you’re competing with thousands of other entries every year.
But if you want to increase your chances, you’re going to need to win over the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS).Trying to get your short film into the Oscars can be tricky.
First and foremost, you’ll need to make sure it even qualifies. There are a few important rules that govern eligibility.
Your film must never have been shown in a commercial theater or on television before its theatrical release. If it was, even online (like on YouTube), it’s not eligible for an Oscar.
The same goes for any other awards show. If your film has already been submitted for consideration somewhere else, it won’t be considered for an Oscar either.
You’ll also have to submit your film between 15 days and six months before the award ceremony date. That time frame changes every year and is usually announced by the Academy around March or April of each year.
To qualify as a short film, it must run between 40 minutes and 50 minutes long (there are exceptions), and it must be publicly screened.
How To Write An Award-Winning Short Film
How many times have you sat down in front of a blank screen, knowing you should be writing but not knowing where to start?Trying to write a short film can be tough.
And it’s even tougher when you don’t have any experience or training.
I’m going to share with you the method I used to go from complete novice to winning multiple awards for my short films. If you follow this guide, I guarantee you’ll be able to write an award-winning short film.
Let me start by saying that there is no one correct way of writing a short film. It’s more of an art than a science.
But there are certainly best practices and methods that will help you get started and keep moving forward.Here are the steps to writing an award-winning short film:
1. Preparing for your first draft: This is the most important step in the process, and it’s also the most overlooked.
You’re about to invest a lot of time and energy into your project, so it’s crucial that you think long and hard about your idea before you begin writing it.
2. The first draft: This is the fun part! Once all of your preparation has been done, write down your first draft.
Writing An Award-Winning Short Film
AMC’s Short Film Award has been around for six years now, and they’ve become a bellwether of sorts in the film industry. Their winners and finalists are often represented in successful feature-length films and television programs.
The Award is an annual competition that takes place at the Cannes Film Festival (though the winners don’t get to go to Cannes). The winning short film gets $10,000, and all of the runners-up get cash prizes as well.
The AMC Film Festival accepts submissions from all over the world. Submissions must be between a half hour and 40 minutes long, excluding credits.
The filmmakers are also required to include their resumes and a synopsis of the movie, which is good advice for any filmmaker submitting work anywhere.In addition to the online submission form, applicants must submit a VHS tape or DVD copy of their film or provide an Internet link to a streaming video copy.
They must also include an application fee of $35 for each entry.The first step in writing an award-winning short film is to decide what kind of film you want to make.
There’s no guessing involved here; you have to know exactly what you want your project to be about before you start writing it. The general rule is: Whatever you think.
How To Make A Short Film That Wins Awards
I have been working in the film industry for over a decade as both a director and an editor. I have won numerous awards and accolades for my work and I have worked with some of the biggest names in Hollywood.
Trying to think back to when I first started, I honestly don’t remember much because it was all so long ago, but I do remember how confusing it all was.
I remember spending hours upon hours in front of a computer screen, trying to read countless articles on different websites and watching various videos over YouTube and what not, trying to learn as much as possible about filmmaking but still feeling like I didn’t know anything at all.
I kept asking myself “when am I going to be able to make films?” or “how does one go about doing this?”I wanted to get my hands dirty!
But at the same time, I wanted answers that made sense.It seemed like every article or video that I found online was geared towards people who had been making films for many years or those with a degree in film production or something similar.
To say the least, it was extremely overwhelming! So much information out there, yet not enough of it made any sense at all.
How To Win An Oscar For Best Short Film
The Academy Awards are held every year by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. There are 24 categories, including Best Short Film.
This is a list of information that could be helpful in writing, producing and submitting a short film to the Academy Award judges.How to win an Oscar for Best Short Film:You must be a member of the Academy.
There is an application fee of $65.00 plus a yearly dues fee of $100.00 per year for each branch (actor, writer, producer, etc.). You must have your film entered into the festival circuit before you can submit it to the Academy for consideration.
The rules state that your film must have first been shown to a paying audience at a public venue within the current calendar year and then it must not have been publicly exhibited in any form after January 1st of that same year.
However, if it was entered into a festival circuit, it’s okay if it is screened publicly after January 1st but before entering the festival circuit and then showing it to a paying audience at one venue only (your own) within the current calendar year and then not exhibiting it any more after that date.
It doesn’t matter if you own your own theater or rent out space from someone else.
How To Write A Short Film Script In 1 Week
So you want to write a short film script in 7 days. Awesome! I hope this guide helps you.
In this post I’ll tell you why you should do it, how to do it and what to do with the script once you’ve finished it.
TIP: If you want to write a short film script but don’t want to spend the full week writing, then check out this post where I’ll show you how to write a short film script in 2 hours.
Why Write A Short Film Script
The best way to learn how to write a short film script is by doing it, so if you haven’t written one before then go for it. Why not? You have nothing to lose and everything to gain, especially if you’re a screenwriter or filmmaker. Here are some reasons why:
1. Learn Your Craft
If you’re new at screenwriting then writing a short film script is the best way for you to test the water and learn your craft, because by doing so you’ll find out what works and what doesn’t work when it comes to storytelling as well as learning about story structure, character arc, dialogue and more.
It’s also incredibly beneficial because mistakes will be far cheaper and less painful than mistakes on longer projects like feature films.
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