5 Short Films Every Writer Should See

Screenwriters Network, January 31, 2021

If you’re writing a short film or are currently considering it, I feel the very first thing to do would be to get inspired by some of the great feats of art that have come before you.

First off, lets consider a few things before we watch these films…

What Makes a Great Short Film?

This is a bit of a tricky question to answer as many short films are great for different reasons. So here are a few aspects of what some of the best short films include.

A good theme, a unique vision and a great ending.


With only a short amount of time to make an impact on your audience, it’s always most effective if you have something meaningful and resonating to say.

Perhaps you’re tackling a deep societal problem? Politics? A health issue?

If your short film is about ‘Shirley’ not being able to get her nails done, you’ll be hard pressed to grab the audience and make them care.

Unique Vision

Can you portray a situation or paint the world in an interesting and unique way? Bringing something new to the table that your audience haven’t thought, experienced or seen before – this will be naturally intriguing for them.

After you’ve done this, all you have to do is set up a good character, present them with a problem and then solve it!


So you have the audiences attention, you may write the best dialogue, characters and plot in the world! If you don’t have a good ending, it will really go under-appreciated.

It’s not often that I would give this advice to writers except with short films, but I would advise to think about your ending before any other aspect of your script – that’s how important it is!

Now, onto the films…

This list comprises of films that are all very unique in their own way.

Press ‘Command’ or ‘Control’ ‘D’ to bookmark this page. You may want to revisit these films at a later date!


Run time: 12 minutes 34 seconds


An eight-year old football fan must come to terms with the loss of his father, as well as living in a strange new town.

Director: Stephen Daldry
Screenplay: Tim Clague


Run time: 16 minutes 23 seconds


Validation is a short film about a parking attendant who dispenses compliments to his customers.

Director: Kurt Kuenne
Screenplay: Kurt Kuenne

Thunder Road

Run time: 12 minutes 45 seconds


Thunder Road is a short comedy-drama film written, directed by, and starring Jim Cummings. Shot in one take, the film depicts a police officer giving a eulogy for his mother.

Director: Jim Cummings
Screenplay: Jim Cummings

Snake Bite

Run time: 9 minutes 48 seconds


Snake Bite is a cocktail for disaster, following four boys in the woods as they attempt to catch poisonous snakes and in-so-doing, naively put themselves in danger.

The Present

Run time: 4 minutes 18 seconds


Jake spends most of his time playing video games indoors until his mom decides to give him a present.

Director: Jacob Frey
Screenplay: Jacob Frey


To write a great short film it’s easier to conceive it from one of these three aspects: A meaningful theme, a unique vision and a great ending.

Combine these three together and you’re onto a winner.

If you’re considering or are writing a short film currently and believe it’s got legs, make sure you enter into the SWN Screenplay Competition!

I hope you enjoyed your viewings.

Stay writing.



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