“Find a subject you care about and which you in your heart feel others should care about. It is this genuine caring, and not your games with language, which will be the most compelling and seductive element in your style.”
One of the main mistakes made by student filmmakers along the way, is telling the wrong story. Picking the wrong "dilemma". Or making something dramatic out of the trivial.
There is an enormous difference between a great idea and a great idea for a movie. Ideas are easy; a dime a dozen. Generating ideas is by far the easiest part of the entire process. But fleshing those ideas out, visualizing them (in the form of a movie), structuring them so that they are widely understood and most effective, and executing them throughout the three phases of filmmaking - now that’s the real challenge.
Most of the time, the student filmmaker will present a solid concept but the execution of that concept is what’s lacking. There are certain types of films that keep cropping up and deserve mentioning and they are most likely why student films get a certain stereotype. Examples are: potty-humor films (practical joke types), most parodies, sexual exploration, suicide, drug use (getting that next “hit”), high school break-ups, cheating on a test, etc.
Now, in and of themselves these can be very serious subjects and ideas worth pursuing. But the execution, or actual crafting of these stories, is where most students come up short. That is why every idea is not necessarily a good idea for a movie. Just because you can do something doesn’t mean that you should do it. Just because you can get the camera inside a toilet stall, doesn’t mean you should.
So, when coming up with ideas and concepts for your student film, remember you have to actually make this movie - and you want people to watch and enjoy it! Rise above the natural tendencies and base-humor situations, and make a film that will have a lasting impression (not just a quick-hit with a joke or a prank).
You will end up spending a significant amount of time on this film, and you will view it over and over. So, why not make it something that inspires you? Or, something that makes me want to be a better human being for having viewed your film? How about something that will get your audience asking, “what happens next?”, “what if this happened to me?”, or something similar.