(Mostly from Inspired 3D Short Film Production by Jeremy by a2302339

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									(Mostly from Inspired 3D Short Film Production by Jeremy Cantor and Pepe Valencia. Some notes are my own and relate specifically to
the short film I am making for school)

Laws for Making a Short Film

        Story elements (plot, character, setting, pacing, structure) are more important than production elements (design, modeling,
        animation*, lighting, camera direction, compositing, sound effects) – *unless of course this is for an animation reel!

        Don’t bite off more than you can chew - Number of characters, effects, level of detail, complicated characters/sets, audio

        Show some originality – in storyline, character design, and/or art direction

        You must like your elements or no one else will (and you won’t have the motivation to finish it)

        Save Often and Back-Up Regularly!

Great Short
        Entertaining
                 Dramatic plot structure
                          Each beat must move the story by, continuing, punctuating, or explaining a previous scene
                          Or introducing, announcing, or anticipating a subsequent scene without giving anything away to early
                 Story pacing
                          Arc of intensity (chart it out)
                 Character development
                 Style – Realistic, Semi-Real, Cartoony, or Abstract?
                 Appeal (not necessarily attractive, but must be interesting)
        Accessible
                 Believable – characters and events somewhat related to reality
                          Rules of the world do not have to be realistic, but must be consistent within that world
                 Must make sense – cause and effect
                 Don’t offend your audience
        Original
                 Unique story,
                 character, and/or
                 design elements
                 must have a balance or you will lose accessibility
        Memorable
                 invokes an aesthetic appreciation or
                 emotional response

Story

        Once upon a time, something happened
        To someone,
        And he decided he would pursue a goal.
        So he devised a plan of action,
        And even though there were forces trying to stop him,
        He moved forward because there was a lot at stake.
        And just as things seemed as bad as they could get,
        He learned an important lesson,
        And when offered the prize
        He had sought so strenuously, he had to decide whether or not to take it,
        And in making that decision he satisfied a need
        That had been created by something in his past.

        1. Plot
                  Beginning
                          (some options)
                          Introduce a compelling protagonist with some unique character trait(s)
                          Introduce a character who has an obvious and significant problem
                          Establish a tranquil setting and then impose a major disruption
                          Introduce a character and then provide him with a self-imposed or externally beckoning goal
                          Start in the middle of an action, when your protagonist is engaged in a performance or is perhaps attempting to
                                    conquer or escape from some type of problem or antagonist
                            Reveal an interesting setting with a unique visual style, preferable with an associated character or characters

                 Conflict
                            Must be sufficient or no one will care
                            Must contain potential for good animation:
                                    Subtle
                                              Facial
                                              Lip-synch
                                              Emotion
                                              Waiting
                                              Weight shifting
                                    Dynamic
                                              Full body
                                              Weight
                                              Physical contact
                                              Locomotion
                 Ending
                            Make sure your story actually has an ending
                            Deliver the anticipated scene
                            Don’t be too obvious or derivative
                            Decide on the final reaction you want from your audience and then end your story appropriately
                            Don’t beat your audience over the head with a lesson or moral
                            Make your ending climactic in that it results in a significant change in your protagonist’s life situation
                            Think about the central conflict of you story and the most obvious or effective way to bring about its resolution
                            If your story ends with a remarkable triumph of some kind, make sure it is logical and believable, rather than
                                      the result of a fortunate coincidence, a convenient miracle, or an unexplained burst of genius or
                                      strength.
                            Brainstorm a full spectrum of possible conclusions – from automatic, to obvious, to common, interesting,
                                      unusual, outrageous, an completely absurd
                            Avoid cop-out endings
                            Detach
                            Know what your story is truly about (theme) and then make sure your ending delivers your message effectively
                 Original
                 Appealing
                 Believable
                 Target length (60-90 seconds)
                          What can you leave out, simplify, combine, exaggerate, min. plot twists, mime or dialogue or voice over?

        2. Character(s)
                Super Objective
                Objective
                Design should reflect characteristics
                Original
                Appealing
                Believable
                Internal flaw? (potential for growth)

        3. Setting
                  Where
                            General
                            Specific
                 When
                 Rules (physics, social, spiritual, etc.)
                 Original
                 Appealing
                 Believable

        (At least two out of the three must be original or there is no point. All three must be appealing and believable)

Story Types and Structures
        The Gag
                 Single beat – surprise twist or comic beat
                 Series – a whole bunch of little punch lines
                  Surprise reveal – surprise reversal/unveiling of circumstances/setting etc.
         The Booty
                  Goes through a series of attempts to get something (money, food, girl, etc)
         The Moral
                  Allegory or direct finger pointing to teach a social or spiritual lesson. Characters who oppose the moral suffer.
         The Villain
                  Stronghold – defend
                  Stronghold – eject
                  Chase – evade
                  Battle – engage
         The Pickle
                  Must get out of a sticky situation, often with a ticking clock
         The Parody
         The “I Wish…”
                  Yearns for something, happier times, etc
         The Rescue
         The Journey (external or internal)
         Fine Arts
                  Non-narrative, emphasis on visuals

         Genre(s)
                    Drama
                    Comedy
                    Suspense
                    Sci-Fi
                    Horror
                    Romance
                    Dark Comedy
                    Crime caper/police/courtroom
                    Action adventure
                    Mystery
                    Sports
                    Tragedy
                    Documentary/biography
                    Musical

Double Check:
        Is it paced well?
        Any plot holes or logic errors?
        All parts contribute to whole?
        Satisfying ending?
        If it’s supposed to be funny, (or scary, suspenseful, exciting, etc.) is it?
        How many acts? If three…
        Can you identify initial incident, climax?
        What is the protagonist’s goal? Is it worthy of a story?
        What is the central obstacle? Is it sufficiently challenging?

Save Often and Back-Up Regularly!

								
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