Filmmaking Screenwriting

7 essential short film ideas

This is a guide to allow you to come up with short film ideas. Filmmaking is tough at all levels. It’s a huge challenge across all of the stages, a long, stressful but ultimately a hugely rewarding process.

Frustration
Said frustration.

The best way to start this is to throw absolutely anything down on the page and then expand on each point, then choose which sticks out. Then you can start to develop the story. Anyway, we’re getting ahead ourselves here. First, you need the initial idea for your short film, so here at iFilmThings we have put together a few pointers to get you on your way!

Scroll down for the essential short film ideas to spark that creativity:

Experiences YOU have personally experienced

One of the easier methods to kick off with. You already have an idea of how it started, the twist and turns in the middle and how it finished. You can use the lessons you learnt through these life experiences to help you develop a short film idea. Or situations you’ve ended up in, how did they end? Would you like to turn back time and rewrite the ending? Channel in your raw emotion to engage the audience.

Read the news

People do really messed up shit. Take that shit and turn it into a short film.

If you watch the news regularly you’ll see a multitude of interesting stories varying from the horrific to the bizarre, and the occasional piece of happy news. Have a read through the top read the news, local news, business news, sport news and see if anything in there piques your interest.

Historical events

Research historical events. Look at around 4-5 at first get an overall idea of what they are about. Then dig deep into 2 of them.

READ MORE: No budget filmmaking: Seven key tips to get your film finished


Carry a notebook

Always. You’ll never know when you latest idea pops into your head. Did you see something strange on your daily commute? A man dressed in only a balaclava insisting you try his ice cream? It does happen, probably.

You experience the most interesting things, whilst out and about – so take a small notepad around with you and write a quick sentence to sum it up. You never know that moment may be your calling card or a step better your Oscar nomination…

Create the character first, a story later

We’ve all worked with absolute nutters, haven’t we? Well, if you haven’t… It may actually be you.

Don’t worry though, creating a character is a great way to develop a story. Maybe you have an idea of a rogue trader who sells scrap metal he steals from big cat city boys and feeds the local rats premium takeaways to keep them alive.

You get the idea. Think of a protagonist, develop them. Move onto creating a character arc for them. Then you’ll have an idea of where they start and how they get to the ending.

READ MORE: How to get that cinematic feel in Adobe Premiere Pro


Base it on a friend or family member

Make sure you twist certain aspects, you still want to be asked around for Christmas. If you can’t think of the story straight away, try looking into building it around someone you know… Maybe build a character from a few people you know to create a unique being.

Take a common theme, and flip that B***H

Flip it 180, or 270? in layman terms. Get a standard story and flip it, change the hero or the antagonist to the complete opposite. Your hero saves the day in the original? Well, they don’t this time – they cut the wrong wire and KABOOM everyone’s dead. Morbid, but different.

Find a film you liked and change a few aspects to it. Change the characters personalities, change the theme of the film or even change the ending and work backwards to see how the hero ended up there!

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