What is a short film?

A short film production can vary hugely in length. Generally speaking a short film can be from 5 to 50 minutes. It will usually have a distinct story in order to stick to the time constraints, with a clear middle, beginning and end. Short films are a creative activity which lots of aspiring filmakers use to gain experience. However, well established film makers have also made short films such as Christopher Nolan, George Lucas and Tim Burton.

film production

How long should a short film be?

So, as we’ve said, this isn’t an exact science. It is really up to you how long or short your film will be. However, there are a number of factors to bear in mind:

1. Is your story complete

A short film should tell the story and not go on for a second longer, or a frame longer. The story can be kept short by creating a simple and clear premise. Lots of short films are based on a singular character or a specific goal.

2. Pace

The pace of the film can dictate how long or short a film feels. You could create a very slow feeling 10 minute film or a fast 30 minute short film depending on how the shots are edited together, the music and the action. There are lots of factors that affect the pace, but as you are making a short film, it should feel short otherwise you will lose the audiences engagement.

3. Film Festivals

Whilst there are short films of various lengths featured at film festivals, a shorter film is more likely to make more festivals. This is because it will be easier scheduling them in to the programmes. If it is a good film then it will make festivals, but most would say that if it is a good shorter film, then it will make more festivals. Take a look at our article on film festivals that our film production made it to HERE. Short films are easy to post and share on sites such as YouTube and Vimeo. This is a great way to get them put there and noticed.

Take a look at this video from Film Courage on how long a short film should be.


Some award winning short film productions…

Sam Did It (2017)

Wasp (2003)

The Karman Line (2014)

So, there is plenty of debate about how long a short film should be, and this article hasn’t given a definitive answer because there isn’t one. As long as the story is told and the piece is engaging then the timing is there to be played with.

You can join a debate on the subject HERE.

Nostairway Creative is a video production company in Chiswick, London. We specialize in video, voiceover, film production and audio and would love to be a part of your next project. Please feel free to GET IN CONTACT with us for any of your production needs.