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The Script

Marilyn
Milgrom

Why am I making this


film?
Why are some directors driven to write their own
scripts?

Out of frustration and desire to get on with


making something.

You shouldnt make an intense character study if


you are scared of what?

If you are scared of actors

What should you be careful of if you only have 5k


to make your film?

Do not develop an action story that will require


stunts, car chases and sfx

What is a short film?


If a feature film might be described as a novella,
how might a short be described?

Haiku

What are the length boundaries different film


festivals stipulate in their shorts sectioned?

Most festivals are 30 mins max and some 20 or


10 mins.

If the function of your short is to make your


audience laugh, how long should it be?

2-3 mins max

Finding the story


What are the three basic elements any kind of
dramatic story requires?

World, Character and Problem

What do most successful short films focus on?

One moment or event in the life of one main


character.

What do a lot of the most successful short films


have in common?

The events in their stories unravel almost in


real time

The world
Why can it be useful to set your film around a
familiar events/ritual?

You can take granted the audiences familiarity


therefore you already have emotions coming
from the audience from past experiences

Why can a literal journey be a good setting for a


short film?

Most short focus on a single pivotal event in a


characters life, narrative wise a metaphorical
journey

Having an actual journey is a play on literal and


metaphorical journeys

The Character and The


Problem
What are the five most important questions to ask when you begin to develop
your story?
1.

Who is the main character?

2.

What is their problem?

3.

How will the audience recognise the problem?

4.

Are the stakes high enough

5.

Am I telling the story from the best point of view?

One of three things must drive your character through the story. What are they?
6.

A want

7.

A need

8.

An obligation

What crucially must accompany this element?


.

Something that makes it difficult for the character to pursue their want, need
and obligation

Why are a lot of short films about children and teenagers?


.

Provides a rich source of universally recognisable problems

Developing your story

Title

Genre/Tone

Setting

Main Character

Want/Need/Obigation

Opposition

Catalyst for change

Climax

Resolution and

The audience feels (Theme)

Unity
What point does Marilyn Milgram make about
unity?

Everything must be revealing or increases our


understanding of the main character and there
problem

Causality
How can we make sure that what happens in the
end could not have happened earlier?

Each scene moves the story on so the end


could not have earlier as the scenes before led
to it

The step outline


What is the step outline and what does it ensure?
It is a good way to make sure you have no slack
-One card per scene

One sentence that summarises what happens

What is revealed that is significant to the plot?

What is revealed that is significant to the


audiences understanding of the characters?

Is there an indication of significant theme

Each action should cover 3 fronts plot character


theme
What is signified by the order in which to tell the
story?

Whether its been told linear or non linear

What do audiences instinctively know?

When something is pretentious or dishonest

As a writer what is the crucial thing you sre


looking to ensure?

Ways to tell the story so you can keep the


audience engaged and not ones that will leave
them confused

Remember its a film


How do establish the world and the character?

Maximum speed and minimal dialogue

What advice is given to makke the film more cinematic


once you have a good story?

Use visuals and sound

Establish a tone

Make sure your main character is active

Its better to show a change in a character

Use cinematic devices such as parallel actions and


montages

Go back to step outline and make sure everything is


significant and is made to manifest your audience in the
most visual way possible

How do you make it more cinematic and less


televisual?

Dialogue should be the last thing you write and


less of it to tell the story will make it more
cinematic

Who is the very first audience for your script?

Reader of the script

How can you help the reader see the film you are
intending and not get irritated?

Follow screenwriting conventions

Read scripts

Avoid writing camera directions and stuff the


film cant see

Why is simple a useful descriptor for your short?

A small story can make a big impression if it is


told with cinematic flair