Over her career, producer, script editor and story consultant Eilish Kent has commissioned (for RTÉ & BBC) over 100 live action and animated short films. She also ran clinics for Filmbase on short films and has sat on many selection panels for County Councils around the country. Eilish teaches screenwriting in the National Film School and assesses Film for the Arts Council. She can be hired as a story consultant and script editor through her website.
Eilish will hold a writing workshop to write/rewrite or polish your short film on Saturday, 15th June in Dublin.
Here Eilish gives her top tips for how to write a short film:
Small stories that turn on a single event work best.
Know what makes your central character interesting on screen, work out how to show this.
Change needs to happen but it can be very small.
Spend as little screen time as possible setting up the story.
Identify a key visual image that encapsulates the tone and feel of the world of the story.
Make sure you have a proper ending – this is the last impression you make on audience.
Consider sound and how it can carry story.
Know what makes your film stand apart from other short films.
Write the film without dialogue first.
Consider the location of each scene and how the choice of location tells the story. Try to vary the location from interior to exterior, etc. (if set in a single location look for distinctive areas within the location to create different atmospheres: intimate, anonymous, etc.)
Consider who, or what, should be in each scene to put the central character under pressure.
Don’t repeat a beat, every scene must move the story forward and/or reveal character.
When you have the story working without dialogue, write the dialogue to create conflict and reveal attitude/character.
Use themes as subject-matter of dialogue.
Join Eilish on a writing workshop to write/rewrite or polish your short film Saturday, 15th June, Dublin city centre.