Writing a short film script is a good way to try your hand at writing for the screen. Here is a guide on how to write short film scripts:
Do you already have an idea for a short story? Short films can range from 3-30 minutes, so you want a story that is simple and clear to understand. You also want to keep the locations and number of characters to a minimum to help simplify the story. It is good to focus on a single event or on one day (birthday party, Easter e.g.). This will make the script less expensive to produce and will give the director more room to work with.
Getting the right software will save you time from having to format the script and will help you focus on the characters/story. Final Draft and Movie Magic Screenwriter are used by most of the entertainment industry. You can also download free screenwriting software like Celtix and Simply Screenplay (both more geared for PC).
Focus your story completely on the characters. Short films generally center on one or two characters. Identify the character’s back-story, objectives, and conflicts. This will make the characters authentic and relatable to the audience. The character’s journey and conflict will drive the story.
Make a general outline for the story, going scene by scene. Divide your story into three parts. The first part introduces the characters and conflict. The Second part escalates the conflict and contains most of the action. The third part resolves the conflict. The challenge in writing a short film script is showing a character’s journey in a limited amount of pages (aka “the arc”). That is why it is important to keep the theme simple and solely focus on the characters.
Now that you have done all the preparations, write the story freely without judging the material. After you have completed the first draft, read the script to see if the story is clear and concise. Join a local writer’s circle (meetup.com) and get critique from your peers. It is also a good idea to have an actor or one of your friends read it out loud to see if the dialogue is cumbersome or unrealistic. Go back through your script and make the appropriate changes.