Drew Christie, a successful animator who lives on Whidbey Island, offers tips for making compelling, short films.

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In 2007, Whidbey Island filmmaker Drew Christie won the 3 Minute Masterpiece competition, co-sponsored by The Seattle Times and Seattle International Film Festival. Now he contributes animations regularly to The New York Times, Vanity Fair, Huffington Post and other outlets.

Here are his tips for filmmakers who might be thinking about entering this year’s contest.

Focus on the story: “It’s always so easy to get hung up on the technology and all the other stuff, but what it’s really about is a really good compelling story that speaks to some human thing,” says Christie.

Write: “A lot of people are like, ‘Oh, I’m not a writer, someone else will write it,’ but filmmakers need to be able to write for any number of reasons, let alone just being able to write your own script so you don’t have to rely on someone else to do it.”

Commit: “Be completely obsessed and devoted to working on your stuff all the time. … If you’re anything other than that, there are too many other people hungrier than you.”

Be ruthless. Keep it short: “You have to isolate the really powerful parts of the story, highlight them. Trim all the excess fat and keep the core of the story.”