Try These Short Film Starters for 2016


It's here again - New Year's Eve. The closing of one year and the start of another always prompts a moment of introspective reflection: How many goals did I achieve this year? Where did I come up short? What can I improve upon during the upcoming year?

Around this time last year I talked about this in an article about being an artist right now. The point? If you want to be a filmmaker, don't wait. Shoot something. Practice. Fail. Try again. Improve.

I realize that it's difficult to get started when you're staring at a blank page, pen hovering over the notebook paper; or fingers poised over the keys, waiting for just the right spark of inspiration. So I thought I would list a few creative exercises that you can try to help you take that first step toward producing something new for 2016.

  • Limit yourself to one location. What kind of narrative can you create within a single space?
  • Pick a favorite director and create something that's inspired by his/her style.
  • Improvise everything. Create a story outline. Know your beginning, middle, and end. Make the rest of it up as you go. Need more inspiration? Check out the independent film Last Stop for Paul. 
  • Go against your own tendencies and produce a short in a genre you don't particularly like.
  • Shoot everything without human actors. Use tabletop elements instead.
  • Limit yourself to only 48-72 hours to write, shoot and edit your film.
  • Go to an art museum and select one painting that really inspires you. Create a short film from that image.
  • Select a song from your library, pick out a section of lyrics that are particularly meaningful and build a narrative around those lyrics.

These are just a few ideas to help you get started on your first film project for 2016. Have any other creative exercises to share? Leave them in the Comments section below.