intro / about me
Hi! and welcome to iloveshortfilms.com
My name is Laurence Gouldbourne. I am a scriptwriter and have written for TV shows such as Desmond’s (Channel 4) and Chef (BBC1) and I’ll be your Script Doctor on www.iloveshortfilms.com.
All films – shorts as well as full-length features – begin with a script. The purpose of these info-notes is to help you successfully write your screenplay for your short film. Once your script is in place, you’ll have a better idea about the size of your cast and crew, locations and the budget you’ll need to make your short film.
Within the notes, you’ll find exercises to do. Do them. They shouldn’t take more than half an hour to complete. I’ve been around for a while, so what I giving you is a condensed form of 20 years’ worth of blood, sweat and tears. I promise you: if you do the exercises, your writing – and your script – will improve. When you get that BAFTA or Oscar – remember me in your acceptance speech, would you?
Alongside the exercises, I’ll occasionally drop in a story from my own personal experience – just to show you that I didn’t always get it right – and to help you avoid the mistakes that I made. If you want to give me feedback, you can contact me at here
Whether you’re a director, producer or camera operator, when you’re making your short film, you’ll need a script. Your script is your guide, your voice, your vision. It’s also your selling tool (more about that in Script Note #9).
To paraphrase the words of a famous advert (another form of short film!), “Don’t go on set without it.”
SCRIPT DOCTOR: #1 – WHERE DO I BEGIN?
So – you want to make a short film? Great!
You will find making a short film an exciting, but challenging adventure. Generally, short films can be anything from 30 seconds to up to 40 minutes. But where do you start?
Well, all stories start with an idea. But where do ideas come from?
It could be a photo, a newspaper article, a story on the net, an encounter you had at school or work or when visiting friends or relatives. It could come from a dream – or even a nightmare! Here are some other sources from where you can get ideas:
- Facebook/Twitter/social media
- Public/school libraries
- Books (fact or fiction)
- A song
- TV/Cinema (be careful here!)
- Overheard conversation
- Photo album
Or: it could be something as simple as asking the question “What if…?”
For example: “What if a streetwise New York cop, trying to save his marriage to work, goes to see his career-ambitious wife in L.A. – only to find himself trying to stop high-tec crooks holding hostages in the building where she works? That the basic idea behind Die Hard.
The first episode I co-wrote for Desmond’s (with Paul McKenzie) was entitled, ‘Dobbin’. Paul and I were scratching around for an idea, when we talked about some of our old toys and comics that our parents wanted to throw away (and which we didn’t!)
This led to, “What if Desmond and Shirley threw away a toy (in this case: a rocking horse) that had sentimental value for Michael, their eldest son? And what if he went mad when he found out it had gone? And wouldn’t it be funny the lengths they’d go to get it back?”
Once we had this basic idea, we were off…
EXERCISE # 1 (30 minutes)
- Brainstorm 20 possible ideas for your short film
- Out of your list of 20, choose three ideas that you care passionately about
- Write down what it is about those ideas that makes you care so passionately about it