Thursday, June 26, 2014

7 Reasons to Make a Short (?)

I just read one of those Raindance posts that are often insightful.  This one was "Seven Reasons to Make a Short."  Since I (so far) only make shorts, I thought I'd ruminate on their reasons.

Reason #1: Artistic Freedom. 
I can't talk about reason #1 without referencing Reason #2, because they are kind of the same. . . .

Reason # 2: Practice Doing Riskier, Unique Work.
I think #1 and #2 are essentially the same thing. True, you could exercise artistic freedom to try to totally imitate your favorite TV series.  But unless there is a personal element, which often leads to some unique aspect of the film's style and shape, why are we here?

Reason #3: Post-production Ease
There point is that you can focus more intensively on 10 minutes than you can on a running time of 90 minutes, which is certainly true.  On the other hand, I am typically the only work resource for post work while in a longer piece you might have some help.

Reason #4: Budget.
Yes, it's cheaper (or should be) to make a shorter film. Of course, you still spend a lot of money, too much, but you are not required to.

Reason #5: Online Marketing, by which they mean that it's easier to get a short online and seen, compared to a feature.  Alas, "online" has many more hurdles to jump over in order to really get seen by more than friends & family.  You can build a web site, but getting people to be aware of it, come to it, click through the important stuff, tell their friends and then come back – that's hard to do in our crazy mass culture.

Reason # 6: The Untapped Market, by which they mean to wax lyrical about how you can go viral and shorts are easier to digest, can be grouped together (oh, by Raindance!) and seen in theaters.  My take: sorta kinda, but there's no magic here; see previous paragraph.

Reason #7 was bogus really, pointing out that if you win a major festival you can get qualified to be considered for the Oscars.  Not exactly a reason to decide to do a short, but true.


I think there are really only these reasons to make a short.
-    You can do a personal, idiosyncratic film
-    You can afford to do it without selling to some existing market
-    You can expose it to the world easily (but getting the world to notice is still hard)