5 Minute Short Film Ideas


If you’re looking for ideas for your next short film then you’ve come to the right place. Below is a list of ideas to spark your next short film script.

Short films are best when kept simple and if you watch enough award winning short films, you start to realise there are some recurring criteria that appear in well received short films.

Criteria for a good short film:

Stay in a moment: Try and focus your short film story on a moment in someone’s life. Rather than jumping over days, months or years, stay within one day or even better, stay in a few hours. The best short films usually happen in real time and focus on a moment in someone’s life.

One or two characters: You want a short film to be simple to shoot and keeping your story to one or two characters makes it all less complicated.

Location: Again, moving from location to location during a shoot lengthens the time it takes, meaning you may have to pay people more or if they are unpaid, take too much of their time. Also, it’s just plain stressful. Keep it simple and easier for yourself by sticking to one or two locations.

Explore uncomfortable themes and issues: Use your short film to ask the big questions in life and to maybe look at subjects that people shy away from in day to day life but that everyone can relate to on some level. The best short films always look at a worthwhile theme or issue and don’t stay simply on a surface level.

5 Minute Short Film Ideas

  1. The moment a parent loses their child in a crowd. You could flash backwards in time, revealing more and more of the parent’s character and the child.

  2. A teacher discovers one of her students dead in her classroom before everyone arrives. What does she do? Who was the student? Who is the teacher? Do they have a connection? Does she call the police or decide to do something else? Maybe the teacher has something to hide…what is it?

  3. An employee loses some really important data. They have the opportunity to own up or lie. What do they do? How do they decide what to do and what are the consequences of their decision?

  4. A passer by witnesses a shooting. They run over to help the victim. Write a short based around those last few moments with the victim. Reveal who these two people are.

  5. A dog-walker loses a dog, but stumbles upon something else…Does she find the dog again? What does she stumble upon? Is losing the dog her fault?

  6. A man tries to write the best resignation letter…to his boss…who he is in love with.

  7. A boy gets accidentally locked in a room with someone he can’t stand.

  8. After being attacked by a gang with knives, a teenager begins to carry a knife for protection. How does his/her morning progress now she/he has a knife. What is the outcome? What does he/she learn about herself and about other people?

  9. An elderly lady at the post office refuses to address the black lady who is serving her and speaks across her to the white lady on the next desk. How does the ignored assistant respond? Write a short film describing those moments and maybe filling in on the lady’s morning prior to the incident.

  10. A pensioner says goodbye to his old friend by planting a tree in his memory. What memories are brought up as he does this? What sort of friendship did they have?

One of the best ways to learn to make good short films is to watch great short films.

I would advise watching award winning short films. Here are some suggestions below

Short Films:

Cinema 16: European Short Films

Cinema 16: British Short Films

Best of 13th Raindance Film Festival Shorts

The Pixar Shorts Collection V.3

Oscar Nominated Short Films 2018