The filmmaking business can be a hard business to break into especially if you're young and independent. Short films are however an excellent way for young filmmakers to showcase their artistic styles and to put into practice all their skills as future producers.
Despite their existence since the dawn of cinematic storytelling, short films have not consistently maintained their place in popular culture. There are several animated short films available thanks to animation studios and entertainment companies like Disney and Pixar. What we lack however are accessible and commercialized platforms for non-animated short films. Film Festivals are one of the few occasions where filmmakers are provided with a stage and an audience to showcase their short films. A lot of times, attention is necessary for helping young filmmakers share their art with as many viewers as possible.
As a young, independent filmmaker, filmmaking can be a hard business to break into, especially if you’re not prepared or well connected. Making short films, however, can help you grow as a director, producer, and all-around filmmaker. According to American writer Micheal Ruppert, the biggest advantage of making a short film is that “they help the filmmaker find and hone his or her voice. A short is an inexpensive way for filmmakers to experiment and learn what works; that knowledge can then be used when the filmmaker moves on to a feature film”.
Typically, a short film is an audiovisual production with a short duration that also deals with innovative topics that are less explored or have a different language. Also known as shorts, making films of this nature have become a very important part for all those who want to start their lives as new filmmakers. It is very important because it allows them to showcase their artistic style of storytelling and to put into practice all their skills as future producers. Many of the big film producers started making simple short films until they found their voice and the style that suited them best.
Many cinephiles, myself included, have found ourselves halfway into a movie, realizing we’ve probably spent over an hour watching something that is downright terrible and a complete waste of time. For a young filmmaker like myself who is currently learning the ropes, ー and I presume many others in my shoes ー I've realized making a short simply helps me to keep my stories concise and coherent. It is possible to watch the shortest films even while on a bathroom break, while the longer short movies can be watched on your journey home from work or while you wait for your food to cook. This way as a young filmmaker, you are introducing yourself to a vast range of audiences who can digest your work relatively fast and can also give you quick feedback.
Asides from being artistic, one huge perk of making shorts for young filmmakers is the ability to make your film with little or no budget. Funding is the most difficult aspect of filmmaking for any filmmaker. Finding the right budget to tell the stories that you want to tell can be tough a lot of the time and for a young person who is just starting, it's a lot more difficult to find someone willing to invest in your project.
This is where shorts become very useful to you. You can easily make a film that is short for a much smaller budget. If you want to make some cash and get better revenue for a big project, this is a great idea. You can start with a small budget and make something that people are willing to see. You can create your short film on a weekend using your mobile, some free editing software, and some friends & family to work as your cast & crew. This way, you have something to show to possible investors when you want to start telling big-budget stories.
In the modern age where indie filmmakers now have the power to sell directly to the audience without a middle man, especially with the advent of streaming platforms and more importantly, YouTube, you can market your film as a short and you have a better chance of reaching more people. It's much easier to market short films through online media and social media platforms without necessarily casting big stars or with the help of a big budget.
As you evolve as a filmmaker, you begin to realize the importance of shorts. They gradually allow you to be more innovative and creative because your talent is majorly what is on display; you are saved from the stress of high budget, blockbuster actors, and other problems that come with feature films. Short films are a low-pressure way to experiment with different aspects of filmmaking. Whether it's a new style, new gear, or new cast or crew, short films are an excellent opportunity to stretch yourself to try out something you wouldn't normally do.
In conclusion, as much as short films create a huge festival experience for young Indies, it is important to maximize all the opportunities that come with it by networking, pitching, and showcasing your film. While showcasing your shorts at a festival, people are keen to see what you have made. It also allows you the opportunity to meet with established filmmakers, promote your film, and most likely secure funding for your next project.
All in all, an inexpensive way to dip your toe in the water before jumping into a full-blown feature film is to make a short film. Whether you intend to raise money, pitch an idea, or even test your story, there is always an audience waiting for you to tell your story.