A Short Film Idea

Making a short film is a great training ground for getting your feature made, seen and sold.

Jason Brubaker

Proposal Page

How to convey a message to the audience through a 90 second feature-length film is challenging.

It was in the suite of RMIT, we formed a group of three, all girls. I was assigned to write the script and direct the film, Miro was the cameraman and Hannah was the actress.

Before carrying out all the equipments and shooting our first short film, we planned to produce an inspirational video motivating people with their inner beauty. The feature-length for a 3-member filmmaking crew was limited, therefore we had difficulties of meeting the duration requirement and make the video understandable at the same time.

I needed to focus on a film idea that we could tell in a minute and a half. The story needed to be interesting but not too complicating, otherwise the audience would have no clue about what we tried to say. We determined the genre, asked ourselves a question: “What story can attract audience in 90 seconds?”.

I came up with a suggestion of making a motivational story about the girl who handles the mockery from surrounding people because of her scar. The story is her narration, how she has dealt with criticism and gained confidence to find herself and “the one”.

Kathryn Burnett has stated “There’s no time to develop an elaborate plot, a raft of characters or lengthy set ups.”  This is particularly true in producing a short movie. Most of what filmmakers do is to become a storyteller. With the discriminating taste that has been acquired by most film viewing audiences, even on YouTube, it’s wise to leave the more sobering ideas to those that can spend millions of dollars telling their story. And in our case, I did not have much time to tell everything.

Whether it is a fiction-story or an abstract video, one core idea must be concentrated. Therefore, the film mostly focuses on one character only. Two-third of the length aimed at the protagonist, the rest presents the extras and her “the one”.

Robert Hardy also said , “Write what you know.” There is no doubt to agree. Storyteller should draw from their own experiences to create believable scenarios and authentic characters. Although what happens in a movie is not reality, the story line must be convincing to persuade the audience what we want them to know. Therefore, I created this character managing her issue, which is one of the most common concern when teenagers and young women feel insecure about their appearances.

The meaning of this inspirational video is hoped to spread out a message to motivate people build confidence and maintain a positive attitude. People who are struggling with inferiority complex of outward aspect should find the video helpful and a motivation to overcome their problems. The video also recommends that judging by looks has never been considered as encouragement.

Although I am not totally satisfied with our product, this is a great opportunity for me to step in specific filmmaking and media industry in general. More research about film technique will be implemented to produce better product in the future.

Watch in Youtube!


Elliot Grove . 2015. 19 Great Ways to Brainstorm short film ideas. <http://www.raindance.org/19-great-ways-to-brainstorm-short-film-ideas/.

Jason Brubaker . 2016. Making A Short Film: 5 Tips For New Filmmakers.                                          < http://www.filmmakingstuff.com/filmmaking-lesson-8-make-some-short-films/.

Robert Hardy. 2015. 9 Quick Tips for Coming Up with Great Short Film Ideas. <http://nofilmschool.com/2015/08/9-tips-coming-great-ideas-short-films.

Kathryn Burnett. 2015. Writing a Short Film.                    <https://www.filmsourcing.com/writing-a-short-film/.

How digital story proposal get results?

        Before attending to RMIT to do the Master course in Media, all I knew about computer skills were Microsoft Office and several Adobe Photoshop simple tools, in which I am sure that people working in office related jobs must have basic knowledge. Now I have to combine creativity with technology to generate a digital story proposal, which is absolutely my new challenge.

Project Link



Web-page Proposal Layout

     I have never thought that I would study HTML. Therefore, a part of my assignment which I had to create HTML page literally got me not only complexed, but also excited. Learning how to write HTML basic codes is not that complicating, but I found it difficult to memorize the syntax. There are many of them, I could only remember to “open then close the tag”.

     The CSS was troublesome as well. Retaining HTML syntax was hard, CSS was even harder. Not only did I have to know how to design HTML page but also to define which style most suited my purpose. However, I have created my own list of the syntax to help me write and design the proposal page effectively. In my point of view, I am so thankful that this task of the assignment gave me a chance to gain a new IT skill to support my future career pathway.

Finally, I can write HTML and CSS code!


Proposal Content

     We formed a group of three. Miro was assigned to do the image, Hannah took responsibility to create proposal page, and I was in charge of writing. Researching took me a lot of time. I was struggling with time management because of the deadline. Eventually, we created a short motivational video idea of educating young adults how to respect and love their inner beauty. Yet, I was so confused about marketing blurb and synopsis. I wondered if they were the same. Fortunately, I received a really quick response from one of my lectures and yes, marketing blurb is synopsis. And how to write a synopsis for a beginner?

     Writing a video synopsis is not simple. It is the most critical element of our proposal. It tells how compelling the project is and reveals how passionate the video makers are. I have read an article written by Aaron Sorkin, he indicated that, ‘Ensure it is a compelling read. Every word counts, so avoid using two words if one will do. Ensure the exact right words are used, in order to tighten up the prose.’ This is particularly true. The synopsis should be as enthralling and detailed as I can make it in the limited amount of space I have available. The content has to be brief but adequate, a redundant and overflowing synopsis might be boring.

     I found that Ashley Scott Meyers’ research, ‘Always stay focused on exactly what you’re trying to do with this synopsis which is to get people to request the full screenplay.’ Whether the writer produces his/her project, an attractive and curious synopsis will get results. Readers ‘don’t just want love, they want PASSION. They don’t just want fear, they want TERROR. They don’t just want sadness, they want EMOTIONAL DEVASTATION.’ As the proposal counts contracts, what remains must be concentrated and deliver a strong visceral impact. Therefore, if the synopsis is dynamic and is strategically placed, it will remain active in the readers’ mind.


Group Work

     Ironically, we were a low-budget producer. We decided to do the shoot for the media production image in Miro’s apartment. We had nothing but a blank white wall background and our own cosmetics to the make a scar for Hannah (Hannah is the actress). Because we did not have the proper materials, I used tissue with false eyelashes glue and lipsticks. Nevertheless, the result was not too bad. Miro used Photoshop to insert some effects and finally we had our image for the video proposal.

Video Proposal Image

     Furthermore, Hannah was appointed to do the IMDB page but she did not use OS X, therefore both I and Hannah had to create IMDB drafts and then called out for a group meeting to help each other combine and design the page.


     Overall, a high-standard Digital Story Proposal requires a lot of time and effort. All elements need to be in a total unity. And to accomplish these factors, students in general and myself in particular need to harmonize creative and technological skills, in order to have my following Digital story Proposal stood in a certain place of the media industry standards, and last but not least, get results.


Ashley Scott Meyers. (n.d.) . Writing a synopsis for your screenplay. <http://www.sellingyourscreenplay.com/how-to-sell-your-screenplay/writing-a-synopsis-for-your-screenplay/

Aaron Sorkin. (n.d.). How to Write a Screenplay Synopsis. <https://sites.google.com/site/allaboutwritingscreenplays/the-screenwriters-synopsis.

Marg Gilks. 2001. How to Write a Synopsis. < http://writing-world.com/publish/synopsis.shtml.

Wesley K. Andrews. 2014. Writing The Perfect Blurb. < http://westarts.org/western-ways/content/writing-perfect-blurb.

O’Brien Browne. 2015. Selling You: Creating a Winning Professional Bio or Blurb. <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/obrien-browne/selling-you-creating-a-wi_b_6502580.html.