Writing Short Films - Advice From The BFI

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Writing Short Films - Advice From The BFI by Mind Map: Writing Short Films - Advice From The BFI

1. However, to ensure that you are writing a good short film screenplay, you must ask yourself these 6 questions

2. The protagonist of a film is the person who is central to the story at the heart of the film and finding this character is crucial for any story-driven narrative.

3. The BFI claim that in successful UK short films, a story-driven narrative and attention to screenplay are key.

4. Who is the protagonist?

5. What is the active question, which is the basis of the action in film?

6. Who or what opposes the protagonist?

7. What is the style of the film?

8. The protagonist can be the character dominating the narrative

9. For example, 'Shawshank Redemption' (1994) was narrarated by Morgan Freeman's character 'Ellis Boyd 'Red' Redding', but the protagonist of the film was actually Tim Robbins' 'Andy Dufresne'.

10. The protagonist can also be a character which isn't telling/narrarating the story.

11. For example, 'Forest Gump' (1994) had Tom Hanks portraying a clear and distinctive protagonist who dominated the narrative.

12. This can also be worded as 'What does the character want?'

13. Decide on an incident which will form the basis of the film's climax, and/or its narrative action.

14. Knowing why a character is struggling in a situation, or is forced to react differently than normal, is critical to developing an engaging story-driven narrative.

15. Antagonism take take many forms in a story, but the conflict should be is clear and obvious.

16. A multiple-antagonist scenario is critical to success when working with narratives over ten minutes.

17. However the indication of an antagonist may be heavily reliant on its underlying theme, therefore seeming less obvious

18. Although naturalism dominates the short form, other approaches are possible.

19. Films such as 'Springing Lenin', 'Zinky Boys Go Underground', 'Deep Down' and 'The Cutter' all follow the style and tone of naturalism.

20. Examples of other styles are the surreal qualities evident in 'The Curious' (1994) and the expressionist POV camera work, and the heightened colour in 'Yellow (1998)'.

21. The syle of a screenplay lays the foundations for the tone to be found by the director, actors, and cinematographer.

22. From whose point of view is the audience being shown the story?

23. What is it about? or, What is the theme?

24. It is useful to think about what the audience is being asked to follow or be interested in.

25. For example 'Yellow' (1998), focussed on a single defining moment in the central character's life, while in 'The Cutter' (1992), it is the moments leading up to a key defining moment of their life.

26. There is a need to address the scale of exposition, and background information, as well as a character's motivations.

27. To convey these ideas in the short narrative space of time of a short, it can be useful to have narration, and narrators.

28. For example; in The Curious (1994), the audience is placed in an omnipotent position watching the events and drawing their own conclusions. However, in Zinky Boys Go Undergroundn(1999), the film is narrated by a character who is essentially an observer of the main character's stories.

29. This can beone of the most difficult questions to answer at the beginning of a project.

30. It may be easy to say what the subject is, however this is not normally found until at least a draft screenplay is written

31. Finding the theme in any project is critical to giving a film a dramatic unity, which relates directly to the audience's emotions.

32. Though in some cases, such as writing romantic comedies, the theme is clear in the conception.