15 Short Film Ideas
A young single mother, bored out of her mind at the lack of adult company, goes out with her baby and desperately tried to make contact with another adult, only to discover no one is interested. What does she do? How does she try to make contact? Do people think she’s crazy? Does she resort to pretending she doesn’t actually have a baby to attract female friends who aren’t interested.
Tell the story of the day in the life of a treasured possession. Who is it precious to? Why is it important to that person? In what location does it start its journey and where does it end up? What difficulties or obstacles does it face along the way?
A strange little being from another planet finds itself lost on earth. Write a short film about it’s first moments on earth and his/her struggle to get back home. Who does it meet along the way? What are the stakes? Can it survive long on earth? What does it learn while it’s here. What obstacles and dangers does it have to face and overcome in order to get home?
Think of a person you find very difficult to be around but who at the same time fascinates you. Write about a moment in their day. Who are they? Why do they act the way they do? How do people around the react? What is their story? Is there a reason they are difficult to be around? Does the side of them that pushes people away also have a positive side?
Did you know that human eyes have the power to glow in the dark but the light is so faint the naked eye is unable to perceive it. What if something happened to make it perceivable to the human eye? What could glowing eyes accomplish in this world? Perhaps they have some deeper meaning?
Did you know, a person is taller by one centimetre in the morning than at night. This happens because while we are lying down at night, our spine “spreads out” or decompresses. But during the day, gravity causes the cartilage in our spine and legs to compress making us a little shorter by the end of the day. Take this to the extreme - what if your character consumed something that made the spine compress too much or decompress too little
When listening to music, a person’s heartbeat syncs with the rhythm of the music. Go sci-fi on me. Find some unusual reason, perhaps related to beings and planets outside our system that causes this to happen. Is music something more than just music? Why are out hearts connected to it?
When we stay in the water for too long, our skin gets wrinkly. This is not because of water entering the skin but is due to a nervous system reaction that contracts the blood vessels when underwater for better skin grip. Does this mean if a person stayed underwater for longer than usual, say weeks, and survived somehow…would their body evolve to adapt underwater? Go fantasy on me. Write about the day this happens to your character.
A writer has been commissioned to write about something that conjures up very painful memories for her. Make a short film about her trying to break through and write, against the clock, yet she can’t because every time she does she faces a wall. How does she overcome her pain? Does she even write in the end? How will you reveal her memory and why it’s painful during the course of the film?
A little girl tries to fight for a little boy’s attention over a toy car.
A beekeeper who is afraid of bees.
A singer loses their ability to hear
“What are you doing there?” Is was a good question. What was a nice, teetotal student doing backed up against a cold stone wall with a policeman holding her at gunpoint while she held a taught wire around the white quaking throat of her husband?
Two best friends are spending an afternoon together. One of them discovers the other has been stealing from the other. What happens next? Write about the moment they make this discovery. Or about what events led to the stealing.
Tell the story from the viewpoint of the thief best friend.
Save The Cat - Screenwriting - My favourite book on screenwriting. I use the Save the Cat beat sheet for every film I write.
Writing the Short Film - This was the first book I ever read on making short films and it still holds up.
Rebel Without A Crew - A brilliant insight into a filmmaker who ditched the crew and set out to make his feature film for $7000
Shot by Shot - Great for learning how to use the camera to tell stories and planning scenes logistically with camera movement
The Artists Way - For anyone with writer’s block or fighting depression
Stars In Shorts - Brilliant short films with some famous faces in them. You can learn a lot about short filmmaking from these films.
Zhiyun Smooth 4 - This is a phone gimbal that I used to plan steadicam shots in my feature film. It was incredibly useful to plan and show my DP what I wanted but you can also shoot films on your phone and this will give you beautiful, smooth moving shots.