8 Reasons Why You Should Write a Short Film Script

Want to jumpstart your screenwriting career? Here's how.
by Chris Courtney Martin on September 18, 2023

From sales to production — and even a published short story based on my short screenplay — I’ve seen great rewards from my short script writing. And if you’re not sure that you should write a short film script, here are eight reasons why you should consider giving it a go.

1.) Enjoy Greater Creative Freedom

Unlike their longer counterparts, there are almost no traditional mandates for what a short film script should contain — aside from an exciting or moving story. Short scripts can rely on dialogue or be fully silent. They can feature just one character or even opt to replace a protagonist in the traditional sense with a setting. Tone poems and other “artsy” short film genres completely subvert the usual prescribed must-haves for a film project. While scripts for these may look more like treatments than screenplays, writing one can push the boundaries for an artist’s notion of what a story actually is and allow them to explore their narrative creativity in new ways. 

Read More: 101 Story Prompts to Kickstart Your Short Film

8 Reasons Why You Should Write a Short Film Script

2.) Streamline Your Revision Process

Revision is the most important, but often most painful part of being a writer. Finding people to give notes. Figuring out which of those notes will actually make the story better. Applying the notes, and repeating. It’s far easier to practice this notes process — which, like all components of writing, requires practice — with shorter scripts. Readers have more time for a 5-pager than a feature script. Use a short film script to learn who in your network enjoys your style, what kind of notes they give and how eager they would be to read a larger piece from you. 

3.) Try a No-Fear Page-One Rewrite

Whenever a writer receives the advice to try starting a script over from scratch, it can send us reeling. “Is there nothing of value in this draft?” we ask. But sometimes the solution is to attack a story from a completely different angle. The great thing about a short film script is that it can take less than a day to draft one from concept to completion. And if a writer is curious about what the story might look like from the perspective of another character, or even with a totally different tone or genre lens, playing around with the shortest version of it is relatively pain-free.

Read More: Write Your Short Film in 7 Days

8 Reasons Why You Should Write a Short Film Script

4.) Distill Your Unique Narrative Voice

It’s just as easy, if not easier, to leave a reader with a desired impression via a shorter script. So, it’s beneficial to consider using short scripts to represent your distinct writer's “voice” while you are building a reputation. With less page space to fill, the nuances of your tone and style are amplified. If you’re a comedy writer, your funniest punchline will be the reader’s takeaway. If you write a thriller, your twists won’t get tangled in backstory or B-plot. Writing a short script allows you to shine a light on your favorite facets of your writing, which makes your work more distinctly “you.”  

Read More: 4 Lessons Taylor Swift Can Teach You About Storytelling

5.) Spend Less (Or No) Money on Promotion

Just like feature-length screenplays and teleplays, there is a contest/competition market for short scripts. And guess what? Their fees are understandably lower. Festival-based contests allow short script awardees to participate in all the same on-site networking activities as feature-length screenplay winners. If you’ve earned a place of honor at the same festival as someone who paid a higher entry fee and spent more time writing a longer script, haven’t you come out on top? But there are also some significant free opportunities to promote a short script. I’ve had several of my short scripts reviewed at no cost.

8 Reasons Why You Should Write a Short Film Script

6.) Wear More Creative Hats in Production

The intuitive step for writers looking to expand into directing or producing — or, even acting — is to focus on short-form content. Most short scripts are going to have an independent, non-commercial path to production. That means the financial stakes are lower and there’s more room to try new things and make learners’ mistakes. So, if you’re looking to build up a multihyphenate resume, writing a short film script and helping to see it through production could be your answer. 

Read More: 10 Great Short Films You Can Watch Online Right Now

7.) Increase the Likelihood of Production

Short scripts usually necessitate low-to-no-budget productions, with very few exceptions. At the end of the day, screenwriters write for the screen. And having made it there puts a writer in a better position than one who has not. Whether for student productions or showpieces for working professionals, short scripts are more likely to be produced by people other than their writers compared to long-form pieces. This is because they are a filmmaker’s first stop for a creative showpiece, as full pilots and features have more structured and guarded paths to production. They’re often made with skeleton crews, few locations, minimal shoot days and shared equipment. You might be surprised by the high production value that a short script can inspire, even with a minimal budget.

Read More: 6 Features That Started Out as Short Films 

8 Reasons Why You Should Write a Short Film Script

8.) Open the Door for Your Longer Projects

Another anecdote from my personal vault: a 15-minute web short almost turned into a half-hour series featuring and executive produced by Emmy-winning stars Sheryl Lee Ralph and Niecy Nash. And while “almost” doesn’t pay the bills, you can bet that completing even a short-form project with these names led to development for my longer projects. Your work doesn’t need to be long to pack the kind of punch that draws the right talent to launch your career. Film festivals demonstrate this every year with their short film offerings — and it’s something anyone can achieve.

So, what are you waiting for?

Try your hand at a short film script today and know that ScreenCraft has got you covered throughout the process. 

Read More: How to Write Short Stories That Make An Emotional Impact


ScreenCraft Preparation Notes

Get Our Newsletter!

Get weekly writing inspiration delivered to your inbox - including industry news, popular articles, and more!

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Developing Your Own Script?

We'll send you a list of our free eCourses when you subscribe to our newsletter. No strings attached.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

You Might Also Like

Your success is our #1 priority. We provide aspiring writers industry access, free resources and inspiration, and a community to support you through every step of your creative journey.

Writing Competitions

Success Stories