Turning a short film into a feature

At the beginning of the month, I started doing a writing challenge where I was assigned three images and had to write a 30-60 page script based on those images. Anyways, it took me about 9 days to complete the first draft and I'm still working on making edits to it, hopefully to have it complete and submitted on the 31st. So, why am I telling you this? Simply put, as I was working on this, I thought to myself, "Could this short film be turned into a feature?" The answer of course: Yes! In fact, any short film you write can be turned into a feature, just take a look at Whiplash for example. It started out as a short film and after it was made, it became a successful feature film!

Some writers question how they go about taking that approach, and let me tell you, it's not as hard as you'd think.


Every script has a three act structure and of course you'd need a beat sheet to make sure everything is organized and perfectly placed. However when I was working on this script, I didn't have a beat sheet, but I had an idea of where the beats would go. Think about it for a second. With a 60 page short film, I know that the opening image is going to be page 1 and the closing image is going to be on page 60. So, page 30 is going to be the midpoint (or the One Hour Turning Point).

Now this might be a bit tricky because you're going to have your first act at about 16-20 pages. I've noticed during my editing sessions that there's some key elements missing like the Mini Crisis.

Depending on the length of your short, whether it's 5 pages or 20, most of the major beats are going to be there.

Writing is Rewriting

If you've had experience writing before, you've probably heard this before and it sometimes happens. Okay, so you have this idea for a short and after writing it a few times, you question what needs to happen to make it a feature. Sometimes you might have to start all over and take it from a different angle. in my case, I know there's a few additional scenes I could add that would not only fill any plot holes, but make the script stand out. Depending on your preference, you can either start from scratch or continue adding scenes.

Hopefully this information is valuable. With my many years of experience in the industry, it does take hard work and dedication to see the results pay off, so whether or not my entry makes it to the top 3 or not, I've fully dedicated myself to turning this into a feature! If you have any questions, please reach out to me!


Back to blog

Leave a comment