10 Ways to Generate Ideas and to Produce Short Films

Short films are often seen as an opening for full-length movies released in the cinema. A short film is a great way for budding filmmakers to show their talent as well as an opportunity to spread ideas and awareness for social issues and charitable causes. Here are some ways that you could try in order to generate ideas and produce your own short film.

1. Feature unique and radical stories – One of the best ways to make any art form noticeable and unique is to make it radical. Challenging norms, championing differences, and fish out of water stories are the trends of modern media.

2. Think about relevant life events – Study your life and take note of relevant life events that everyone has to go through: growing up, school, the first heartbreak, keeping a job, death of a loved one, etc. Think about how these experiences can be made into a meaningful short film.

3. Try freewriting – Freewriting is a form of writing that emphasizes continuous and unordered speech similar to any person’s mental processes or train of thought. Considering this as a starting point for your short film will make it really experimental in form, language, and content.

4. Get inspired by news and real-life – Another way to get inspired is to make yourself aware of what is happening in the real world. Listen, read, or watch the news so you can make a short film that features political strife, social issues, basically a piece of film that can be valuable and relevant to a lot of people.

5.  Study classic films – Some movies are proclaimed as classics for a lot of reasons. Identify and study the narratives, characters, themes, setting, and dialogue of these classic films, and maybe you can apply, or better yet, make them your own in your short film.

6. Look at other art forms – Making a short film does not necessarily mean that you should only study movies and previously made short films. Visual arts, like paintings and sculptures, as well as photographs,  can give you ideas for your short film when it comes to content, themes, or production design.

7. Work with a particular genre – There are many genres of movies that you can choose from such as horror, thriller, drama, romance, fantasy, adventure, and comedy. What elements and formulas make up these genres? Study what makes them work so you can use it in your own film or in creating your own interpretation of the genre.

8. An old family story – Many families have stories that they have passed on from one generation to the next. Does your family have ghost stories, mysterious secrets, or historic ancestors? Do not hesitate and ask your relatives to recount them for you. These stories may be the next subject of your short film.

9. Reviewing flawed characters – Most of the memorable and iconic characters immortalized in pop culture are flawed characters. They have that distinct character flaw that makes them human and very much relatable to many people. Working on a flawed character may become a springboard for the plot of your short film.

10. Storyboards and mood boards – If you do not have an idea yet or a general direction that you want to follow for your short film, try making a storyboard or a mood board to help get you started.