How to write a script for a short film, step by step.

Writing a script for your short film might seem like a daunting task, but it really just boils down to four simple steps: brainstorming, outlining, drafting, and rewriting.

Writing a short film vs writing a feature length film.

Every great script starts with an idea. Brainstorm a list of several ideas. You can find inspiration from personal memories and feelings, other films you enjoy, or online writing prompts. Once you have a list of ideas, pick the one you like the best.

Writing a short film script: step by step.

The goal of your outline should be to create a map of the entire film. Write down brief descriptions of every scene to make sure it flows nicely and fits in the allotted time. Most short films are under 50 minutes long. Keep that in mind as you outline your story.

Step three: write a first draft.

Now that you know the basic outline of your short film, it’s time to write. Since it’s a short film, limit your writing to only the essentials. Don’t waste time on unnecessary exchanges, backstory, or moments that don’t move the plot forward.

A good rule of thumb is about one page of script per minute on screen. Since you’re aiming for under 50 minutes, try to keep the script under 50 pages. Many filmmakers like to aim for around 15 pages originally and see where the story takes them from there.

Step four: rewrite and repeat.

Your first draft isn’t going to be perfect. Share it with your friends, family, and mentors for notes. Armed with their feedback, you can rewrite your short film script to make it even better. You might even need to start over completely.

Once you’ve made your rewrites, repeat the steps until you have the perfect script for your short film. When you’re ready to shoot, don’t forget to check out these helpful video tips and tricks.

Learn more about how to take your short film script from page to screen with Adobe Premiere Pro.