Making Your Film Stand Out

March 8, 2010 at 7:38 am Leave a comment

Sunday was Oscar night, and all the nominated films had something about them that made them memorable. How can you do the same thing? What are viewers looking for in a short film to set it apart from the rest? When watching a lot of short films in a row it’s easy to see the commonalities. Audiences are looking for something they haven’t seen before, and filmmakers who are trying to approach things in a different way, whether formally in terms of the style or through the subject matter.

To make your short film stand out among the rest, go for surprise – a project that is on the edge, a bit risky. As a filmmaker, you have the creative freedom to explore your own voice. Give yourself the chance and something exciting will come of it – perhaps a whole new way of filmmaking. Are there any particular trends you see in today’s media or in the kind of subject matter filmmakers are dealing with, or are there any subjects you’d like to see explored?

You want to entertain your audience but you also want to take them on a journey –an emotional roller-coaster of discovery and revelation – ingredients needed to make your film compelling. It won’t be easy but once you have an idea, with a bit of motivation, perspiration and craftsmanship, combined with the ability to tell a well-structured story, you can penetrate your audience’s emotions, raise human consciousness and/or get them to see the world in a different way.

Don’t get bogged down with technology. No amount of digital dressing can conceal the cracks in a poorly conceived story/idea that lacks direction or focus. Make sure you plan ahead and start with a solid foundation in your storyboard. Stick to your plan throughout the production process, and don’t clutter your finished production with a lot of digital “bells and whistles”. A good rule of thumb, if it does not lend information to your story, or tell more about your characters, don’t use it. No unnecessary animations, flashing graphics, or funky transitions , unless they help tell the story.

Most important, however, pay attention to the details in preproduction. Make sure your edits are clean, your transitions smooth, and any text you use precise and correct. Rushing through this last piece of the filmmaking puzzle will end in disaster.

Be ambitious. Present the idea you’ve always had in the back of your mind, that secret, crazy idea that you’d always thought ‘I’ll never be able to do that’. That could be the one you should do, the one you need to do. So, be bold, be ambitious and push yourself. Do something more, better, bigger, different. If you can prove to your audience you can do it, then you have a chance to stand out among the rest.


Entry filed under: OneSeventeen Media.

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