The best films, whether short or feature length, are usually innovative in some way. Content based on never-before-explored themes in film will have a distinctively unique quality. A new perspective on an old issue might give the impression of newness. A comic western, with its mix of genres, might make us see things in new ways.

Consider the uniqueness of an idea up front to save time and revision later. “What’s new and different about my story?” is a good question to ask. Only you have the ability to find your original vision.


Every successful short contains emotional content, whether it’s a joke that makes us laugh or an event that makes us cry. You’re not performing your job if you don’t connect with your audience in some way. Great filmmakers think about how they want the audience to feel about their story in general, not just at the end. As they arrange the action in the film, they are also plotting an emotional arc for the audience.

Film Theme and Meaning

All excellent films, short or long, contain a larger subject matter than the story line the writer wishes to convey. This is the fundamental unifying concept, the theme. Themes are about universal concepts, situations, and feelings. Love, honor, identity, compromise, responsibility, ambition, greed, shame, and a variety of other emotions are all felt and shared around the world. The universal nature of these ideas and emotions ensures that the viewer will connect with the content on a level that goes beyond the plot.

A film without a theme is an aimless plot with no meaning for the audience. The work has no purpose or value without this unifying factor. The film’s ultimate subject is the theme. These themes tell someone’s point of view about the world: good triumphs over evil, love conquers all.

It is not necessary to have the concept fully developed when you begin, but it must be by the end of the first draft. During the writing process, themes frequently emerge or shift. It can take a few drafts before you find your topic. However, whenever your theme develops, it’s better to use it to help tie the story together. The more closely your story adheres to its topic, the easier it will be to make additional choices linked to it.

Themes emerge from who you are as a person and what you think. Your best ideas emerge from your feelings, experiences, and perceptions of people and the world. For a topic to be captivating to an audience, it must have driven you to comprehend, believe, or share it in some manner, tying your own values to a common morality. It has to be significant to you. You have to believe in it because no one else will.


Read more:

Characteristics of an excellent short film (Part 1)

Characteristics of an excellent short film (Part 2)

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Reference Sources:

  1. Animation World Network: https://www.awn.com/
  2. Cartoon Brew – Technology: https://www.cartoonbrew.com/tech
  3. Befores & Afters – Visual effects and animation journalist: https://beforesandafters.com/
  4. Bloomberg News: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/
  5. Insider: https://www.insider.com/