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The benefit of making short films

Is there an audience for short films apart from being a means of self promotion? If so where is a good place to submit your short film? And what is a good length short film for a novice film maker to make? Many thanks for any wisdom you can share. Michael

  • Think of the benefits as being almost entirely for practice and showreel, there's no real commercially viable market for shorts.

    4 weeks ago
    • Thank you Paddy. What is a good length for a short film? Or does it depend what you are doing?

      4 weeks ago
    • @Michael Noller I think the sweet spot is about 7 minutes myself - eligible for and easy to programme in most festivals/events, and is about as long as can be shot in a weekend. It also is enough to tell a bit of a story. But that's my thought on length, purely pragmatic!

      4 weeks ago
  • Keep it under 10 minutes as if you are going to submit to festivals etc, there tend to be quite strict categories / time limits. Where to submit - browse in FilmFreeway and the like, and indeed on this very site, but there are loads of quite sketchy festivals you can easily pay to get into (but what's the point, quite often, other than a few laurels of dubious provenance...) and a small number of high profile ones you cannot easily get into. You might get distribution on something like Shorts TV but the money is a lot less than the cost of making a film, assuming you hire any kit or pay any people. There are also quite a few film clubs and independent cinema places that will show short films, it's a matter of getting to know the organisers and making something they like, and you might get a few pennies that way. Of course you CAN theoretically make proper money with a short film but only if you are the one in a million that goes viral or gets incredibly lucky or if you have good friends in high places! So do it for fun, for art, for showreel, and for learning, but honestly not for money.

    4 weeks ago
  • There's lots of Youtube channels now that showcase short films (and by extension, the filmmakers). Omeleto (general shorts), Dust (Sci Fi), Crypt TV (horror). You won't make any money out of submitting them to these sites but that's not what Short Films are all about.

    4 weeks ago
  • I'm gonna agree to disagree on the above advice. I don't think its right for channels like Omeleto to make money off a short and pay the film-maker nada. And that's how those channels work.

    4 weeks ago
    • The channels I mentioned, including Omeleto, are all free to watch and none of them are monetised so I don’t see how they are making money.

      4 weeks ago
  • They monetize some of them for sure after digging into it. But it appears they do give some money to the film-makers then, I spoke too soon.

    4 weeks ago
  • It really depends on what you're looking to get out of it. For a writer/director it provides invaluable experience obviously. It also proves to production companies that you can handle a film on small scale. There is a market for short films online and places such as 'Short of the Week' prove that or 'Vimeo Picks'. For a writer it can be a good way of testing out ideas and challenging yourself to write an arc over a short timespan. In some ways writing a good short, in terms of a unique idea and good execution, can be more challenging that writing a feature (although obviously not in the amount of time it takes). Trying to think of a good idea really forces you to think creatively. We have a guide on how to generate ideas if you are looking how to kickstart ideas...industrialscripts.com/short-film...

    3 weeks ago
  • Any financial or other form of commercial gain that might be derived from short film would be through creatively exploited indirect consequences.

    The notion that an entity finding a way to make any sort of distribution or provision of a platform for showing shorts a sustainable activity is somehow an exploitative impropriety is, at best, preposterous.

    In fact most of the narratives and conversations about short films that have been reiterated and recycled here over the years echo the same themes. It seems astonishing that the sort of minds and abilities that are capable of creating so many credible and often rather excellent little films are so often magnificently naive and preposterous about how to use their films. Unlike with saleable art forms, producers of short film ought to be happy with getting their films seen as widely as possible, not nit picking at forlorn protectionisms. Give it away for free, encourage pirates and be delighted if someone puts it on any platform that has an audience. Much better than any third tier festival.

    Just make sure the credits are as well presented as possible.

    3 weeks ago
  • Short are like the ultimate creative CV. It's showing the world what you are capable of with a limited budget. You can get distribution deals off the back of a festival win, I've done that. You can also upload them to Vimeo, Youtube and Amazon. If you are after money, those options won't make much and neither will they get you much in the way of exposure on their own.

    I've hit the festival circuit, had some pretty decent wins and placed my shorts on the above with very little interest. However, if you pick a social media platform with a lot of subscribers you have a chance of it going viral.

    That's what happened with the last short I produced. We popped it up on the Alter platform and it's got over 12 million views so far and there's lots of stuff going on behind the scenes with new opportunities being presented as a result of this.

    It's also worth noting that it is worth making a short simply for how much you will learn about the process.

    3 weeks ago