How To Write A Short Film That Gets You Noticed

Hosted by Clay Liford

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Clay Liford

Webinar hosted by: Clay Liford

Award-Winning Independent Filmmaker, SLASH (SXSW), MY MOM SMOKES WEED (Sundance)

Clay Liford is an award winning independent filmmaker and director of photography whose projects have premiered at Sundance Film Festival, SXSW, Munich, AFI Film fest and more. As a director of photography, Clay has shot over twenty-five features, including the SXSW award-winning films ST. NICK and GAYBY. His film credits also include WUSS, EARTHLING, SLASH, and MY MOM SMOKES WEED, a Sundance Film Festival favorite. As an indie filmmaker, editor, and writer, Clay has mastered the art of pre-production and production so that his projects move like clockwork. And as a film production instructor at the University of Texas, Clay has become proficient at teaching his methods for efficiency and artistic self-sufficiency. Now he’s sharing what he knows with the Stage 32 community. Full Bio »

Webinar Summary

You may be surprised by JUST how many successful filmmakers today began their career by writing short films. Everyone from Christopher Nolan to Ryan Coogler to Chloe Zhao to Justin Lin have short film writing credits to their name and used those projects to springboard their career. This is how new and untested creatives can prove their mettle, get their name out there and actually get their foot in the door. And you can do this as well. Whether you’re building up your filmmaking career, itching to write the next festival darling or award-worthy short film, or just love the short form format, you too, can master the art of short film writing.

There are many reasons and inspirations for writing a short, but shorter doesn’t mean easier to write. One of the great challenges is that many people go into writing a short with the mindset of creating a proof of concept for a feature. While there’s nothing inherently wrong with this, this mindset tends to encourage a few logical fallacies, and in a strange way actually devalues the work. Short films require a fine balance of elegance and story economy. They require an innovative storytelling technique that usually takes years of practice and feedback to master. With the right guidance though, you’ll be able to master this in no time.

Clay Liford is an award-winning independent filmmaker and director of photography whose many shorts include the Sundance hit MY MOM SMOKES WEED. His projects have premiered at Sundance Film Festival, SXSW, Munich, AFI Film fest and more. As a director of photography, Clay has shot over twenty-five features, including the SXSW award-winning films ST. NICK and GAYBY. His film credits also include WUSS, EARTHLING, SLASH, and MY MOM SMOKES WEED, a Sundance Film Festival favorite. As an indie filmmaker, editor, and writer, Clay has mastered the art of writing and making both feature length and short films. He is also a film production instructor at the University of Texas, who has become proficient at teaching his methods for efficiency and artistic self-sufficiency. Now he’s sharing what he knows with the Stage 32 community.

Clay will take you through his proven and effective approach to writing an effective short films that get you noticed and advance your career. He’ll go over the REAL differences between shorts and features, what every short film needs to succeed, how to think like a director (even if you’re not one), and how to maximize your festival strategy. Most importantly, he’s going to introduce you to the concept of Iconography. You’ll have the opportunity to ask him questions, and by the end of this webinar, you’ll fall in love with this format and walk away with a new perspective and appreciation for the short film format. Clay's guidance will give you confidence to develop your short film and help you succeed in the short film market.

 

PLUS! Clay provides you with the following handouts:

  • Overview of How to Write a Short Film - Things to Consider & What to Watch Out For
  • Story Structure Diagram
  • Breakdown of Film Roles on a Set
  • Elements of a Lookbook
  • Duties of a Director
  • Suggested Reading List

 

Testimonials for Clay's Webinar:

 

"Clay had great energy and pace. He was able to explain things in different ways and with excellent examples."

-Magi A.

 

"Clay didn't sugar coat anything - keeping the short within a tight budget and length is smart strategy & practical. I appreciated his honesty."

- Shaan D.

 

 

What You'll Learn

  • The REAL Differences Between Shorts & Features
    • It’s not what you’d expect! And once identified, it can be harnessed to great advantage, putting you well ahead of new filmmakers that won’t grasp this for years!
  • What Every Short Film Script Needs to Succeed
    • What is ‘iconography’ and why is it so important?
    • Applying new concepts to any genre of narrative short film.
    • “Good, Not Fast”: Where to best expend your screenwriting effort, for short scripts that really sing.
    • The real reason why “less is more,
    • And how this applies to positive or negative consideration by all major film festival programmers.
    • The real point of the saying “Write What You Know,”
    • An in-depth look at everything that needs to happen on the first page to maximize your short film’s chance of success
  • How to Think Like a Director (Even If You’re Not One)
    • What makes a short script conducive to low-budget or cash-friendly production?
    • Shorts as proofs of concept
    • The biggest mistakes writers make when designing a “proof of concept,”
    • The actual best way make your own proof of concept (hint: it’s counterintuitive)
    • Why short films often go wrong
    • And how you can refocus your goals if you run into trouble
    • Using the short film as a learning tool
    • Tips on things to do if your short film doesn’t pan out the way you were expecting
  • How to Maximize Your Festival Strategy
    • The thing almost all film festivals look for in every short film submission
    • Eliminate easily 2/3rds of your festival competition right off the bat, by just following a few simple guidelines when writing.
  • Tips on How to Use Your Short Film’s Success at Festivals to Get an Agent or Manager and Expand Your Career
  • Q&A with Clay

About Your Instructor

Clay Liford is an award winning independent filmmaker and director of photography whose projects have premiered at Sundance Film Festival, SXSW, Munich, AFI Film fest and more. As a director of photography, Clay has shot over twenty-five features, including the SXSW award-winning films ST. NICK and GAYBY. His film credits also include WUSS, EARTHLING, SLASH, and MY MOM SMOKES WEED, a Sundance Film Festival favorite. As an indie filmmaker, editor, and writer, Clay has mastered the art of pre-production and production so that his projects move like clockwork. And as a film production instructor at the University of Texas, Clay has become proficient at teaching his methods for efficiency and artistic self-sufficiency. Now he’s sharing what he knows with the Stage 32 community.

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