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Short Films : Expectations vs. Reality

In short films, you can put the same message as in an hour and a half picture. That’s why filmmakers try to make more short films than they used to make before.

Video content very quickly changes platforms, being included in our lives through laptops, smartphone screens, monitors, and acquiring new formats: we watch web series and free short movies on Instagram, whole musical films are released for the albums of new artists, and our favorite directors shoot image tapes for fashion brands. Feature-length cinema expands to many-hour marathons and narrows down to a short film that has become popular and massive. So, what’s happening with the latest short film?

What is a short film?

A few years ago, “short” films accumulated in video playlists, now they are convenient to watch on online short film distribution platforms. Short films are a whole world: an opportunity for novice filmmakers, a smartphone-friendly content for social networks. Then there was an opinion in the film industry that short films were more about student work, low-budget or completely non-commercial stories. And it’s not about the seriousness and thickness of the “Script” folder, but about timing: short films usually include projects up to 30-40 minutes. Although different festivals and venues define it in different ways: the Berlin Film Festival, for example, takes works and longer running times.

The main task of a short film is to “speak out”, and the director is to declare himself. This is an excellent format for practicing and demonstrating the artistic language, approaches, and views of the author, besides, it definitely requires a smaller budget, and critics welcome experimental approaches. So for whom are works created in this format – for the director, producer or audience?

First, the producer is also a spectator. Secondly, as already mentioned at the beginning of this text, the position of the short meter is now changing.

There is a trend towards development: there is much more high-quality and diverse content, now not only students shoot short films, but productions are also involved in the work on them, they are financed by brands. Sound, picture, cast – the quality is getting higher.

Now short films are getting closer to the mass audience than the festival author’s works – their focus is immediately set to a wide target audience. Festivals are also becoming more public and short-film-friendly: every major festival has its own nominations.

Short film festivals are very popular, especially in Europe: in almost every country there are 5-10 venues where it is prestigious to get young directors and producers, decent prize funds for the victory for authors and crowds of spectators.

Question price.

There is no escape from the budget. Even a video shot on an iPhone will come in handy. Short films are now getting funding: product placement and brand integration bring investment and allow the team to shoot what they want. Image commercials and clips strive for short films. Wes Anderson made a film for H & M, Emmanuel Lubezki shot a video on the iPhone 12 Pro for the presentation of Apple, Beyoncé released an entire video album, Lady Gaga is constantly experimenting with video formats. By the way, what distinguishes a short meter from a clip? In films, the theme/controlling idea that is important for the director is still in the first place. In the clip, the focus is on the track, composition, music and text, and the video sequence is just decoration.

But back to the issues of budgets and income. Sometimes filmmakers combine short film into almanacs, which become successful at the box office and pay off.

At the same time, the director has no chance to stay in the short film. And this can take only as a step towards a further career in great form.

But still, fans of short films will have to wait a little longer and work on feature films or TV shows if they want to make money on it.

What else is a good short film

There is an idea that a short film is a format for a concise story․ It does not need to be stretched out over several hours. Although some genres are difficult to fit into a full meter – dramas, for example. They often go beyond the timing of an hour and a half. Otherwise, the viewer does not have time to feel and begin to empathize with the hero. To immerse him in the world of the hero, you need several hours or episodes. And the series is a good solution to this problem. By the way, successful directors of a short film are increasingly being attracted to their creation, because it is closer to the series format than the authors of full-length films.

Also, a short meter allows you to quickly perceive the story told in the film. And not immerse yourself in the plot, losing touch with reality. This is especially easy in comic strips.

And of course, a short film is good as a “pilot”. You can break the script into plots and make a couple of small films. If they succeed, they will become full-length films.



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