Where do good ideas come from? How do you know when an idea is good?

Rules of the Playground

for short films

Use Humor

The best humor in a short is the type that grows out of the situation, reinforces the conflict or emotion of the characters, or subtly reveals more about the character. It is sometimes funny, sometimes nervous, and sometimes empathetic.

In Respire, Mon Ami, the young boy tries to revive his friend with mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. In this scene, humor comes from three sources: 1) from the logical knowledge that the head is already dead and cannot be revived; 2) from the grossness of the act itself, and from 3) the breath of the boy escaping out of the neck to rustle the leaves on the ground.

Story is King

Click on mouth to play/pause

Keep it Simple

Know your concept, theme, or meaning

Create Conflict

Know Your Ending

You can't really tell your story until you know the ending. Sometimes the idea you find will be the ending--the punch line or the payoff. Endings must transform the character, the audience or both.

Entertain Your Audience

Audiences are entertained when they are visually, intellectually and emotionally engaged.

When audiences watch a film, they trust you to take them on a journey and bring them back safely. They will suspend disbelief and travel with you as long as you maintain the rules of your world and keep the story truthful and the characters believable.

The best shorts are the ones that have some adventure, some sorrow, some tenderness, and some laughter. They are the ones that hold a few surprises and the ones that you can continue to think about after you see them.

Do Something You Like

If you don't like what you are doing, it will show in the work and no one else will like it either. Use your own life. Nothing can quite replace personal experience to infuse a scene or a short.

For every rule there is an exception

Learn the rules and then break them.

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