Writing and Directing Short Films

Been working on a few short film scripts of late and has felt nice. When learning to write I’d write short films all the time and used to enjoy it, even directed a couple and had some play at festivals around the country. Was a great experience going to showings and seeing people enjoying my work up on the screen. Then after a failed short my attention turn to writing feature scripts, after all, that’s where I wanted to be.

I’ve been writing feature scripts and TV pilots for a while now. Have 4 feature scripts completed, another one close and have written countless drafts of others which I’m sure at some stage I’ll go back too (Two are very advanced and probably only one good draft away). Along with this I have 2 pilots ready and have written another ill-fated one a while back which I still love the concept but cringe anytime I read it and stop after the first act.

So shorts have kind of taken a back seat, but are always on my mind. Which is why of late it’s been really good to get back writing them. Writing The Moment a few years back and seeing it take off as part of London Screenwriters Festivals 50 Kisses Project really got me back in love with shorts especially after having some success with one I’d written just before that as well. Since then they’ve been part of my life again never more so than now.

I have a handful of shorts fully written and ready and another couple well on their way and am deciding really what to push forward with and direct. With my aim being to direct a no budget feature in the next few years shorts seem like a great way to get the necessary directing experience especially when I’m enjoying them so much at the moment.

The trouble I had back when I started features was that I’d done so much work on my shorts that they ended up becoming feature scripts or TV shows. Two of the four feature scripts I’ve completed  started life as shorts and the one i’ve almost finished started as a similar concept to the first short I directed. (Unseen short as was a practice shoot with City Eye). Alongside this one of the two pilots was also a short, one that I was very close to directing until I decided that the idea could be a lot bigger. So shorts where constantly being overshadowed by longer formats.

This seems to have changed recently. Now the shorts I’ve been writing have really been ideas more designed to be shorts than anything else. I’m sure I could work and expand the shorts a lot but there’s no real appeal in that when I already have such a long list of feature ideas anyway. Plus they work as shorts so why change that.. I think it’s something missing from my work in recent time and could help me a lot.

I like the idea of having a few shorts I’ve directed once again playing at festivals especially now that I have the feature script work to back it up. It seems like the short and longer format have both been part of my life for the last 10 years or more but have never really co-existed. Now seems to be the right time for that.

So whats the plan…

… The plan is to direct some of the short films I’ve written. To work with some of the people I used to work with and enjoy meeting and working with others. I have a few similar ideas where I might need to choose one or the other, and have a few idea’s that don’t really match the genre I’m working with in the longer format so will need to make some decisions there, but the idea of getting behind the camera and writing, directing and producing shorts gets me really excited.

Simply put, It’s something I feel I need to do for both my future, and something I greatly overlook at times, my present.




(Have several older shorts on a separate page to my blog at the top of the page so feel free to check them out. Or here’s the link if the scroll up seems to far which I totally get after the last two weeks I’ve had)   Old Shorts

Writing Struggles

I’ve never really been one for writers block, mostly because I have way way way to many projects on the go at all times. But every now and then I do stop writing for a brief period of time. It isn’t through lack of ideas, but more a burnout, or struggle of motivation. I let things get a little on top of me and just struggle to write for a bit. Normally this lasts a few days, sometimes a week or two, but it always passes as writing is everything to me and something that i’m always eager to get back too. But as they say, you can’t force it.

It’s the not forcing it bit that i’ve struggled most with over the years because I always do try and force it, and what that tends to lead to is work that isn’t up to the quality I expect of myself. This in turn obviously gets me down more. Vicious circle. One i’ve fallen for more times then I care to admit.

So whats the answer…

Sometimes i’ve tried starting a new project, like a short script or something, but if the quality is still low then that could make a good idea seem bad. Again thats not really ideal. I often think writing myself out of one of these patches should help but in truth it doesn’t. I think taking a brief break from writing with maybe just working on some notes or something is probably a wiser idea. Although i’d always prefer not to have to do this, sometimes its the only way.

The thing i’ve tried this time is just to accept that my mind isn’t going to be able to write at the moment so just to enjoy some films and TV shows. Read up on some stuff and watch editing tutorials. Basically do everything except the writing so the i’m not wasting the time in anyway. Keep myself in the basic area of what i’m trying to do so that when my mood clicks back into place i’m already in the right space. That’s the theory behind it anyway. (My theory that is, maybe I should actually read up on it)

So i’ve spent the last 10 days watching films and shows, writing up some small notes on things that have naturally come to me rather than being forced and trying to enjoy the opportunity to catch up on some stuff i’ve missed. It’s not the perfect solution as really all I want to be doing is writing, but its something, and at the moment that seems a lot better than nothing.

Like I said, it doesn’t happen often, but it seems to me to be a part of my creative life. That these little burn outs and dips will happen. I still don’t think I deal with them well, but i’m working on it, and least I know that when it passes I will make up for the lost time, always do. Can’t stop writing, even when I have to stop writing.