264MC: Essay 1

In this essay I will be writing about how short films are produced, it will involve the different circumstances in which they are funded, distributed and created. I will be using the independent short film Today’s The Day as my case study in order to explain how short films are produced.

Today’s The Day is a short musical directed by Daniel Cloud Campos and produced by the companies Blue Tongue, Doomsday, Blue Light Entertainment, Amoved Company and Quad. It used crowd funding and raised over £50,000 with its Kickstarter campaign, as Daniel Cloud Campos is a well-known Youtube sensation and most of his videos online are popular and liked. Funding is a key factor to making a short film, it allows the crew to use this money for film purposes only without having take money out of their own pocket. For every person who would want to create a short film, they would be better off crowd funding and getting sponsors as they would also have the support of the public and those who are sponsoring them. Filmmakers would have to decide the budget they would need before crowd funding, and then create a funding plan which would be able to help them as a foundation when pitching their idea to potential funders. SpannerFilms suggest to filmmakers to “not be over optimistic when thinking about costs, to always allow ten percent extra as everybody goes over budget, and to try and keep the budget small” (http://www.spannerfilms.net/how_to_crowd_fund_your_film). This is so that more of the public and the potential funders will be more drawn in to support filmmakers when they’re making their film as it would be a small cost and the extra ten percent may or may not be needed, so its more likely that they’ll reach the goal they need than the goal they want.

In terms of distribution, short films are mainly known for being entered into film festivals, however you can also upload your film online onto popular websites such as Short of the Week and FilmShortage. Today’s The Day was uploaded on Short of the Week and nominated for the Breakthrough performance award, the Domani Vision award and the Special award from the New York VisionFest and was also nominated for the best narrative short award from the Tribeca Film Festival. IndieWire shows an article written by Josh Tanner, a writer and director for the short film The Landing, who explains that he distributed his film by entering it to several film festivals but found the best way to distribute it was online as it received “20 times more than the numbers of viewers at the 50+ film festivals we screened at over its year long festival run.” he also uploaded it onto Short of the Week, and used a launch pad to “elevate the film to their readers, which included Vimeo staff members” resulting in it becoming a Vimeo Staff Pick. He also says that “the best way to treat an online release is as if it’s your own, self-distributed cinema release.” however Tanner mainly focuses on the importance of not letting the internet audience do all the work, you should reach out to people and self-promote your film and way you possibly can (http://www.indiewire.com/article/attention-filmmakers-5-tips-for-making-and-distributing-your-short-film-20141219).

Another element of a short film would be how long the duration of the movie should be. In the article Attention, Filmmakers: 5 Tips for Making and Distributing Your Short Film, Josh Tanner states that some films may not fit festivals due to the running time, as some festivals such as Cannes don’t accept films that are over 15 minutes. This could be a problem for some short films, for example The Landing since that’s 18 minutes long. He also mentions how “a long short will find even more difficulty online than on the festival circuit, as the 15-minute wall lowers into a 10-minute one.”Today’s The Day has the duration of 13 minutes so it’s under that 15 minutes barrier for festivals but is over the 10 minute barrier. In the article 7 rules for writing short films, Stephanie Joalland mentions that the shorter your film, the better it is as there are less costs in terms of producing and feeding cast and crew, but don’t rush the production if you want the film to be good quality. Also if you’re going to enter it into a festival then it should be under 10 minutes so it doesn’t eat up time (http://www.raindance.org/7-rules-for-writing-short-films/).

When it comes to promoting a shirt film, methods have changed within the past few decades. Before, short films would be shown on television in between feature films, and even today they still are on channels like Sky Movies, but its mainly animation, and most of the time its not independent, its usually a conglomerate like Disney. Most days people have to look to find a short film, unlike other feature films which are easier to find on your television. Short films don’t have trailers as such, occasionally a teaser trailer but most of the time its the big Hollywood feature films that use that  method. Filmmakers promote their short films by using social networking, for example Facebook and Twitter so that they keep their audience in the loop, and to encourage their followers to spread word about their new short film. It creates an online discussion between the public and crew, making the audience feel more involved. For example if you were to create a Guerilla style poster you could ask the audience what colour they’d prefer, or you could hold contests for them to participate in. Nowadays short films also have a website to show the audience behind the scenes footage and to show cast and crew interviews, this gives them a reason to support the film even more because it gives them insight, which feature films don’t do.

In conclusion, to successfully create a short film, you must have a budget and funding plan for potential funders when pitching, crowd funding is the best and easiest way as it involves the public and you gain support. You shouldn’t make the budget too big as it will only repel those who might give you money. When creating your film, aim to be under 10 minutes so that you can enter it into film festivals and online short film websites. If you are going keep it under 10 minutes it will save you money and time, but make sure that you don’t rush the production as you want a good quality film. When promoting, use social networking so that you gain followers and that your film can be spread by word of mouth and online.


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