Writing Tips

GENERAL TIPS

It’s FILM 5 (all caps, space between ‘FILM’ and ‘5’).

If relevant, include what your personal connection is to the project. It makes a more compelling case for the jury if they know why YOU need to make this film right now!

Proofread or even better, get someone else to read your application! At the very least print it out and read it over before submitting. Typos and spelling errors don’t give a good impression; so make sure you read things over.

Make it consistent! Applications that have a consistent font or style look good.

SCRIPT

One page equals one screen minute. While this is not exact science, it’s a good guide. You could also think in terms of how many pages a day you will have to shoot. In general your script should not be longer than 7 pages.

Formatting counts! The more professional your script looks the more favorable an impression it will make. There are programs to help you with proper screenplay format like celtx: https://www.celtx.com/

WRITING FOR SHORTS

…the short that makes a strong impression is one that is simple enough to give time to the viewer.
Marcell Iványi

This essay “Five Parameters for Story Design in the Short Fiction Film” by Richard Raskin attempts to answer the question “What are the properties of a good story for a short fiction film?” It will be useful to read this at some point in your writing process.

FEASIBILITY

FILM 5 shoots have a limited shooting time and run according to industry guidelines in terms of breaks and mealtimes. There is only so much you can accomplish in a short time frame. Adding extra challenges to your script, while not impossible, will mean that you have less time to devote to working with your crew and your actors. Some challenges to consider avoiding when you write are: multiple locations, stunts or action sequences, nudity or sexuality, kids, animals, exterior night scenes, and guns. There are examples of FILM 5 films that have included one or more of these challenges, but it often meant that the team had to rewrite their script on the spot because they ran out of time.|