“Why should I bother to make a short film?”
We get this question all the time from new filmmakers who are eager to get in the game with minimal filmmaking experience but a desire to get that first feature film off the ground. If you are a seasoned screenwriter or one that happens to have an innate talent that is garnering you massive praise from the industry, then, by all means, make a feature. But if you are starting out in the world of visual storytelling, then we might caution you to slow down and start with the short film. Here are a few reasons to love the short film:
Short Films are fun!
Some of the best experiences we’ve had has been working on a short film. They’re easier to produce than features, involve much less risk AND you can make many of them while you develop your first masterpiece.
Short films premiere at festivals that you can invite your friends to!
Sure people might nod absently when you tell them your dreams of being a filmmaker, but with a short film, this dream becomes a reality. While you wait to attach producers and production companies to your inspiring, epic, fantastical, hilarious feature film, you can go meet people and network at film festivals that your amazing short film got into! These are great places to meet like-minded artists and future collaborators, not to mention garner some awards for your film. Not all festivals are created equally so do be vigilant in choosing wones that are right for you.
Short films can live online.
If film festivals aren’t your thing, then maybe a youtube or Vimeo channel is for you! With the short film, you can create unlimited content for your online channel and with more and more people having limited attention spans, watching short films has become something of a hobby for many people. Either way, your film will live to see an audience which is who you are doing this for anyway right?
Short films give you a body of work and might even get you an Academy Award!
It is hard to sell yourself as a filmmaker if you don’t have any films to show. This doesn’t mean you have to go out and make tens of shorts, quality over quantity is always best, so one or two good ones that really showcase your ability as a writer/director is perfect. If you end up writing an amazing short like Curfew, you might even nab an academy award like writer/director Shawn Christensen did back in 2013. After winning the Academy award for Curfew, he went on to film the feature version “Before I Disappear.” See? Dreams do come true!
Short Films are a good way to gauge your work with an audience.
THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT PART. Having the audience embrace your work is the real measure of a successful film. The audience is the one who makes or breaks the box office so you will need to gauge if your work is appealing to them. By putting your short on Amazon or iTunes, you can get a chance to see how the audience responds to your work. A word of caution! In the beginning stages, you might want to put the film up free for prime members. If people have to pay for a film they ultimately end up disliking, it might inspire them to leave a bad review, whereas if they hate your film but got to see it for free, they are more inclined to just move on.
The short film is a worthwhile venture if you are looking to dive into the world of filmmaking as they can be relatively easy to produce (depending on the story) and can bring with them a ton of experience which you will need when you move on to making a feature.
So why should you be making one?
Short films give you practice as a writer in creating a complete story in a little amount of time. This practice begins to stretch your muscle as a writer in eliminating exposition and creating compelling visuals to tell your story. In a short film, you are not going to have a lot of time for extensive dialogue so you will need to think outside the box in how to get your story across to the audience without the luxury of two hours traffic. The better you get at telling short form stories the more opportunities become available for you; commercials, music videos, and corporate video all require a writers ability to convey a message or story into a tight, precise, piece and all of these mediums give jobs to fledgling young filmmakers.
In short 😉 we highly recommend doing short films.
Looking to shoot a short? Need help putting it together? The Starr Team is available for production consultations. Shoot us a message and let us know what’s up and how we can help.