Top Tips: Building a great story

Word up, it’s time to write the script!

Hey Filmmakers,

So you’ve got an idea, and you’ve started thinking about how to make it a reality. It can be a lot of fun to dive in and start improvising dialogue, but having a story or script to work from can make things a whole lot easier.

Here’s some tips!

Top Tips

Keep it simple!
Remember you’re making a short film, not the next 3-hours Avengers movie. Try to keep your idea simple, following a single idea or character as they overcome some sort of challenge or complication.

Build a structure
Check out a few different story structures in our FILMMAKING RESOURCES kit, and consider different ways ways you can tell an engaging story- you might show the final scene at the beginning, flashback in time, leave on a cliffhanger, or you might make a film that doesn’t follow a traditional three act structure- the choice is yours!

Check out how the pro’s do it!
Search online for the script of your favourite movie. For example, here’s the script for The Princess Bride, written by William Goldman. Check out how dialogue is directed, and how locations are described.

Practice makes perfect
Consider experimenting with FREE software like CELTX, to get a feel for how to write dialogue and story description, as opposed to just writing a short story, like in english class. If you’re not into it, no worries, the old pen and paper also does the trick!

Just make it up!
Improvising can be a really fun way to make a short film. You never know what direction your story might go. Try giving your cast and crew just a few ideas about the story and letting them make up the rest! Remember to keep the basic plot in mind, to keep things on track.

Test your story out
Read your story aloud to friends and family to see what they think. Feedback from people who aren’t helping to work on the film will give you a great idea of what works and what doesn’t.

Making a film can be really time consuming, and it might be easy to get discouraged, but if you set aside just a little bit of time every day, you’ll find yourself putting a story together much easier than if you try to write it all in one sitting. Consider working with a friend and emailing each other each time you think of something new!

And don’t forget there’s heaps of cool gear and prizes to win, as well as the chance to have your film nationally recognised, so just give it a go, you never know what might happen!

Happy Filmmaking!

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