Lecture 10 will explore two more forms of filmmaking and editing many of you will encounter: Trailers & Short films. We will look at some examples in class and discuss some of the particular techniques that you can use to tackle these formats.


Short filmmaking is all about getting to the point and making everything count. Short films, like features, are also often most effective when the story is told visually — SHOW  don’t TELL.

I will give some editing tips for smoothing out aspects of making the short film, from dialogue overlaps to organizing bins and storyboards.

We will look at the steps and some tips for these steps.

  1. Logging
  2. First Assembly
  3. Rough Cut and Variations
  4. First Cut
  5. Second Cut
  6. Fine Cut
  7. Feedback sessions
  8. Final Cut

After the Final Cut is locked, sound editing should start, followed by sound mixing, colour correction and digitising.

Often shorts are considered under 15 minutes (this is the cut off for festivals like Cannes) but can be also considered under 50 minutes.

To get a handle on how to cut short films, its good to watch lots of them. Here are a few sites with more short films and a few very well executed shorts.

Tuileries”, 2006, Coen Brothers (5 minutes)

  • ACT I – Opening setup
  • ACT II –The conflict that the main character will face (2 minutes)
  • ACT III – The resolution of the film

“Wasp” Andrea Arnold (24 minutes)

The library has short film collections of Spike Jonze and Michel Gondry, both worth checking out. Also check out the whole collection Paris, Je t’aime.

Books on Short Filmmaking

  • Cowgill, Linda J. Writing Short Films: Structure and content for screenwriters. New York: Focal Press, 2006.
  • Irving, Davide K. and Peter W. Rea. Producing and Directing the Short film and video. New York: Focal Press, 2006.

Cutting Trailers


‘Drive’ 2011 Trailer Mash Up

‘Drive’ Original Trailer

The Shining as a comedy

Willy Wonka as a horror

Breaking Bad as a Romantic Comedy


Taxi Driver


The Shining


Spider-Man (banned after 9/11)

Eyes Wide Shut

The Godfather Part III

Strange Days (teaser trailer)

Fight Club

The Matrix

The Piano

Chungking Express