At Film Sprites PR over the years we have had the great pleasure of working with a lot of filmmakers who wanted publicity and digital marketing for their short films. As a result, it’s safe to say we’ve developed a huge affinity for short films. There’s something very special about the short film format, and the filmmakers who are able to weave their vision into a shorter time space than a regular film. While it’s tempting to file away a juicy script and wait for the opportunity to turn it into a feature, there are some definite advantages to short films when it comes to cementing your place as a filmmaker. And if you’ve made (or are thinking about making) a short film, it has advantages beyond screenings. Here’s some of the advantages of making short films:
Some very well-known directors gained attention through short films: there’s a great list of well-known directors who gained attention thanks to the short film format, some of whom went on to turn their shorts into feature length films. Whether catching the eye of a well-known producer, or winning awards at a festival like Cannes, it’s not out of the realms of possibility that your short can really make its mark.
Short films can be great proof of concept for a feature film: so you decide that you don’t want to wait to turn that fantastic script into a feature, and so you pour everything into a short version. As mentioned above, some well-known directors ended up turning their shorts into features. A short film can serve as an excellent proof of concept when looking for investors for a feature length version. Whether you’re looking for private investment or via crowdfunding, your short film can show people exactly what your vision is, and what you and your team can do. Your short film can tantalize the audience enough that they are eager for a feature.
It can serve as a great crowdfunding perk: speaking of crowdfunding, your short film can be a great perk for donating to your campaign. You may decide to have it available as a VOD download via streaming to save on posting and packaging, but if you want to provide it as a physical perk via Blu-ray/DVD, be sure to include P+P in the perk range to cover the cost of shipping. It’s also worthwhile signing the physical copies, or having one or all of your actors signing it (especially if you have a well-known actor). Better yet, grab some photographs of the cast signing so you can use these on social media during your crowdfunding campaign.
There are excellent film festival opportunities for short films: the good thing about the digital age is that it has opened up opportunities for indie filmmakers to more easily submit their films to international festivals. And now there are more film festivals than ever, both web-based and location-based. There are also film festivals which cater to different genres and interests, from extreme sports film festivals through to horror and sci-fi festivals. It’s a good chance to connect with the target audience for your film, and have your work (and your name!) etched in their memory. Chances are, if they love it enough they will seek you out on social media to connect with your work and keep up to date with future films.
And most importantly- short films are enjoyable! Alfred Hitchcock once said that: “The length of a film should be directly related to the endurance of the human bladder.” I shudder to think what he would think of modern features that veer towards the 3 hour mark! Short filmmakers are consummate masters at being able to weave a great story into a shorter timeframe. Do you leave the story unresolved at the end? Do you resolve it? The choice is yours. And sometimes the unresolved stories are the most delicious. Does that mean features can’t (and don’t) do the same? Not at all. But somehow, short filmmakers seem to craft their stories satisfyingly with less duration.
So don’t sell yourself short (pun intended) when it comes to your filmmaking. If you haven’t considered doing a short film, it’s definitely worth it. Short films can be incredibly satisfying for both your audience and yourself as a filmmaker.