Normally, filmmakers write a short film before they write the feature script for the short film. They shoot it, cut it, and hope to god it gets a run in the festival circuit. But Damien Chazelle’s, Whiplash short film, was born in a unique way. The short script actually came after, and really, from the feature length Whiplash script. How did this happen? And because this happened, what can we learn from the short film vs feature? Let’s jump in.
Whiplash Short Film
Damien Chazelle changes course
Damien Chazelle had written the Whiplash screenplay well before he even considered making it a short film. In a MovieMaker Magazine post, we learn the script received a fair amount of buzz, and the feedback was generally pretty positive.
But Hollywood passed because many producers just had a hard time seeing Chazelle’s vision. It wasn’t just some coming of age story about a jazz drummer.
It was a film depicting a deep psychological pursuit for perfection.
Chazelle made the short film to prove it.
This is an interesting concept for a screenwriter, or any filmmaker. When you’re trying to prove the quality and integrity of your feature script to agents and producers, is making a short film after you write the feature, a solid strategy?
We’ll see that the Whiplash short film isn’t super flashy or special aesthetically, but the story is still there. It was realized ahead of time, and it shows. You can feel it.
Watch to see how Chazelle went from short to feature
That’s a pretty great short film.
If you notice, the only main differences are lighting, color correction, and more space for smoother camera movement. But overall, the writing and story are the same.
The edits are incredible all the way around, and it may be Chazelle’s fully realized script is what makes this short so powerful.
Something to consider for aspiring filmmakers...
Chazelle and cast looking back at Whiplash
How to Write a Movie Script
The Whiplash short film was born out of a really great feature script. If you’re interested in getting a script to its completion, and to make moves in the industry, read the next article. It will go over all of the considerations when writing your feature-length screenplay.