Sometimes it can be hard to know where to start when planning a video, and it’s rarely best practice to just grab your camera and see what happens. Here, we take a look at what makes a good short film to help you get to grips with the planning process.

Find a unique concept

The first thing that all good short films have in common is a unique concept. While you don’t have to reinvent the wheel with every short film that you make, bringing something fresh to the table is the best way to make your film memorable. Unique concepts can be as simple as approaching an old topic or idea in a new way; some of the best short films are those that pleasantly subvert expectations.

Whatever you decide on, make sure it’s in line with your brand message. It doesn’t have to be in the style or tone of previous work if you want to try something new, but whatever it is should reflect the heart of the business.

Keep it simple and concise

You may have loads of crazy ideas that you want to try out, either with the cinematography, the sound or the story, but the best method is to keep it simple. Whilst innovation is usually a good thing, nothing should get in the way of the message reaching your audience.

You want your film to look good and feel professional, but too much experimentation may cause confusion, and any sort of confusion around what the film is trying to achieve will seriously detriment the desired effect. Clarity is what makes a good short film.

Make sure it really is a ‘short’ film

Part of the charm of short films is their brevity. Watching a short film is a very small commitment on the part of the viewer; it takes little of their time but, if done well, it can make a real impact. An audience expecting a film that only takes up two or three minutes will be put off by one that is closer to ten.

Whilst you may have a heap of great content to work with, even the most interesting stories can benefit from a little pruning. One of the challenges of filmmaking is telling a story succinctly, so you may have a lot of difficult choices to make in the edit suite. If you really think your audience would benefit from seeing a full ‘director’s cut’, consider making a short version that still stands up on its own, but with a link to the full version if their interest has been piqued.

Form an emotional connection with the audience

Forming an emotional connection with your audience doesn’t mean that your short film has to be a tearjerker. Creating a connection is all about getting your audience to empathise, to evoke in them the emotion you are trying to get across. This emotion can be in the form of getting the audience nostalgic for an earlier time in their life, inspiring them to try something themselves by showing a story of adversity, or just evoking pure joy through uplifting content or laughter.

Whatever emotion you are trying to evoke in your audience, be honest in your message and try to communicate the real heart of the brand in your short film.

Stick to one story

Part of keeping it simple is sticking to one story. Multiple threads and subplots may enrich a feature film, but it will only convolute a short. With such a limited timeframe, it is essential to keep the message clear. This doesn’t mean you can’t get creative with how you tell your story, but the form of short films makes it difficult to create and tie off more than one thread satisfactorily.

What makes a good short film is the singular story told well. Whether it’s a brand journey or a client testimonial, it’s best to pick a direction and stick to it and let the heart of the story shine through. This is what will create an emotional connection with your audience.

Always keep the message you are trying to communicate in mind – this is central to making a good short film. This approach should be with you from the early stages of pre-production and through to the edit suite, and as always, the more time you spend preparing, the fewer headaches you’ll have down the line.

Are you currently looking for video production or editing services in Devon? Feel free to get in touch with us to find out more about how we could help you produce a great short film.