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short films you wish you made

The first play I was in, as a young kid, was a full play. Short plays are rare as a stepping stone. Still, I can name a few short plays that I enjoy.

Short stories, they were the bread and butter of quite a few writers, including Edgar Allen Poe, and many sci-fi guys, as well as Chekhov, who also did theatre.

Short songs are common, but nobody ever tells that ginger Ed guy that "there's no market for short songs, so you'll be doing this for free."

Short snacks are sometimes more popular than long meals. But, no one says "I'm just making a packet of crisps on my way to Thanksgiving dinner."

For some reason, it seems more people want to make short films than watch them.

So, let's fix this. Let's make a list of watchable short films, to set the bar higher.

The Twilight Zone
Amazing Stories
The Duck Song
Collegehumor. (Including "The Minesweeper movie.")
Robot Chicken
Night and Fog

I think it makes sense, if you want to do short films, to have at least one of them on your profile under "films I wish I made." Same goes for documentaries. If you're just doing it because you think short films are easy, well... that's like running a sprint when you really want to do marathons.

    • Chien Andalou is one film students from around the world are forced to watch. It was very commercial in the day, but I suppose short films were still in the norm back then.

      Great to see a recent film added to the list. I'm not a real fan of horror, so I can't really judge it storywise, but "Lights Out" looks low budget enough to be achievable by most filmmakers who are willing to put the work in.

      2 years ago
  • The problem for short films is the outlet. They are not projected in cinemas, they are not transmitted on television, though could happen and might be popular with viewers. It seems shorts are confined to festivals and as directors' visual C.V.s Most are produced by those starting their career, e.g. final media course students. In contrast, after a television production career of 35 years, which inlcuded directing broadcast television drama for 25 years with more than 400 broadcast credits, I am now focusing on this fascinating way to tell a story - to write & direct short film. I am not doing this as a career move but purely for its own satisfaction, to tell a story with pictures and few words. Funding is the obstacle and I'd be grateful for suggestions. E-Mail

    2 years ago
    • Many great short films become viral on youtube. (Mostly comedy and children's films, but anyway.) The return on investment isn't great, from youtube ads, but sometimes clients pay.

      There are also other markets for short films, promotional and educational especially. These aren't consumed in the same way as features. Here's one example:

      2 years ago
  • Thanks for the responses so far.

    I'd also like to point out Chaplin and Laurel and Hardy shorts. I think Laurel and Hardy were much better at shorts than features.

    Another master of the short film is Werner Herzog. Ang Lee made a short in 2001.

    Look up any director you admire, and add the term "short film."

    2 years ago
  • The Nostalgist (2014)

    The Present (2014)

    2 years ago
  • Many thanks Mark for reminding me why I no longer put up any content on YouTube, I just watched "The Nostalgist" featuring an actor buddy of mine Scott Hinds (militiaman with scar), the film began with an advert and then most annoyigly was interupted seven mtimes for more adverts, a very unsatisfactory veiwing experience indeed. For my shorts its Vimeo all the way, I hate everything that YouTube has become.

    2 years ago
  • Hi Ray, the youtube ad stuff depends on how you host the film. If you are hosting on your own channel you can switch ads off. However, if your video is being hosted by a platform provider (who invariably want to monetize your video) then you can't do much about it. I have to admit the ads are bloody annoying in that youtube link for the Nostalgist, but it's the only way to view it free!

    2 years ago
  • Thanks for sharing the Nostalgist and The Present, Ray.

    It reminds me of when I used to subscribe to 3D World magazine. There were films on the accompanying DVD-rom and on the website. They also had an occasional issue with some of the "best" (in their opinion) new short 3D animations and 3D effects short films.

    Shooting People used to offer members a discount on some DVDs compilations of British short films (distributed by the BFI.)

    2 years ago
  • Ooh I'm a big short film fan Vasco! Here's my list of my favourite three shorts ever; granted one was an Oscar winner but hey :)

    And interesting what you mentioned NICHOLAS PROSSER about them not being screened at cinemas. I totally agree. When Virgin did their Virgin Media short competition a few years ago, it was followed up with those shorts screening in cinemas before the film you were there to see started (and it happened for the next few weeks/months - can't recall how long). It was brilliant. I would love to see an initiative like that again - where the cinemas took on short films and aired them before a film...obviously that doesn't make them money and takes away from valuable time when they could be screening an advert that pays the poor cinema. But it's so much nicer an experience for us.

    What do you think?

    2 years ago
  • Thanks Angela Peters. The first two "Giving" and "Validation" worked fine, and were pretty interesting (Validation was a slow start, but I enjoyed it.) The third one appears to have been removed from Youtube.

    Dear Moderator for Screenwriters bulletin, What's up? Why are you showing my comments on my own thread, and not sharing these great short films that other members (Mark, Ray, Angela) are sharing? Or the discussion on the merits of Youtube? It's like editing a dialogue by taking out all the characters but one.

    2 years ago
    • Sorry Vasco - I was collating Friday's bulletin during a break at the London Screenwriting Festival, was in a great rush so as not to miss the next seminar, and didn't realise I was only highlighting your own posts. Shared short film links are in today's bulletin.

      2 years ago
    • Ahh Vasco, I didn't realise it had been removed. The mystery third one is Martin McDonagh's Oscar winning short Six Shooter.

      Have you seen it? Blooming incredible. From 2004 so it's a while ago now.

      2 years ago
  • Just to say that Hitchcock's film The Birds, is from a Daphne du Maurier's short story.

    2 years ago
  • The New Politics.

    2 years ago
  • I love Gasman by Lynne Ramsay -

    I'm currently trying to work towards my first short fiction film - and this is a fantastic thread Vasco!

    2 years ago
    • Have fun making your short, Benjamin. Maybe someone will add it to the thread soon.

      2 years ago
  • High Maintenance (2006). A Sundance selection with a Black Mirror vibe. Another one of my faves:

    2 years ago
    • Thanks Mark. I guess we don't have to all like the same films.

      2 years ago
  • I forgot to thank Mark and Collette for their contributions. The New Politics is higher production values than The MineSweeper Movie, I'll give it that much. And, yes, a lot of films are based on short stories.

    Here's another I found, in case any of you are hired to do an explainer video. This boy wants a blue cat for Christmas, and the blockchain helps him.

    2 years ago
    • I think it is the high production values of The New Politics that sell the film. You do not expect such an ending. If it had looked like Neighbours it would not have had such an effect.

      2 years ago