What Makes a Great Short Film?

By Lee Hamilton.

One of the most obvious avenues for a short film is putting it through the festival circuit, but with increased submissions year on year and with tough competition to beat, we thought we’d get some inside tips from Festival Director, Paul Bruce, of the Edinburgh Short Film Festival, on just exactly what makes a stand out short film.

  1. A good short film expresses one concept or one idea in a complete way without unnecessary diversions and then gets to its point. The ending is important in a short film and the short film filmmaker needs to make sure their ending is satisfying, coherent, and works with the rest of the film. I don’t mind complexity in a short film as long as it holds together and ends well!
  2. Short film filmmakers aren’t bound by market interests or target audiences or production interference from other entities so it’s a chance for the film-maker to express themselves creatively and find out what they’re saying, it’s a chance to take some risks, see what you can do that’s new or different.

Our contests have helped over 100 writers kickstart their screenwriting careers

See how our Feature, TV Pilot & Short Film Fund Contests can help you break through as a screenwriter

  1. Great shorts make an impact, convey a mood or take viewers on brief but characterful journeys and whether it’s stylized vignettes or hi-energy sci-fi, they still have to make an impact on the viewer in a short span. They have to make the viewer think about what they’re watching and become engrossed and that takes real skill.
  1. A short film that does that, stands out from the crowd, and makes you noticed. There’s no need to worry about doing anything else with your short fim, than aiming to have a completely engrossed viewer at the other end of the process!


1. Dark_Net – 2. The Fly

Whether you’re at the beginning of the writing process or at the end, that’s some great advice to keep in mind.

Find out more about the Edinburgh Short Film Festival by visiting their site at http://www.edinburghshortfilmfestival.com

Don’t miss a deadline. Download our Contest Calendar!