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Writing Short Films by Phil Parker
Introduction The Protagonist: 1 The Protagonist: 2 Point of View & Theme Style & Tone Further Reading

The short films featured in this tour have been selected to illustrate the key questions facing anyone making a short film over five minutes in length. The ten-minute film has been a major focus for public funding in the UK for over ten years, with support from the BBC in 10x10 and Brief Encounters; Channel Four in Short and Curlies; the British Film Institute's New Directors programme and the Film Council's Digital Shorts.

As a result of this support the short has been the starting point for new writer/directors like Lynne Ramsey and Shane Meadows, and a new generation of screenwriters like Simon Beaufoy and Lucy Floyd.

One of the striking features of the last decade of short film making in the UK has been the steady rise of story-driven narratives, and the increasing attention placed on the screenplay. At the heart of all the short films in this collection is a character's story, which is first fully realised in a screenplay, and it is with this in mind that this tour seeks to answer six key questions about writing a good short film screenplay:

  • Who is the protagonist?
  • What is the active question, which is the basis of the action in film?
  • Who or what opposes the protagonist?
  • From whose point of view is the audience being shown the story?
  • What is it about? or, What is the theme?
  • What is the style of the film?
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Yellow (1996)