All films essentially began short. From the early days of film there was a lot of actuality footage and filming of important events essentially creating the modern-day celebrity. The natural progression of film made films longer and were made in larger numbers, essentially leading to mass screenings and the development of feature films and the development of camera, film and editing.
The notion of modern-day ‘short film’ often refers to the length of the film, naturally short (under thirty minutes) but for many the ideas of short film mean a lot more that the length.
Innovation – Short film means a platform for creating and experimenting, from camera’s and lens to new editing software and plug-ins, short films are a great way for film makers to experiment without the pressure of creating longer films under tighter constraints. Innovating and experimenting can also mean camera techniques and film styling which can be a great way for experienced or first time film makers to try out new ways of shooting and possibly influencing future generations of films.
Outside mainstream cinema – Short films usually run outside mainstream cinema so the pressure of making a film, creatively, financially etc are considerably less and the pressure to succeed with the film are a lot less than mainstream film. This can also be good for aspiring directors, camera ops, DOP’s and actors to name a few who want to break into mainstream in which their latest short could be used a calling card for professionals looking to hire. Also Professional directors can have the chance to experiment like Director Riddley Scott and his production company ‘Scott-Free’ who created the ‘Life in a day’ Project.
Pioneering film – As mentioned above the constraint with short film are a lot lower but that doesn’t mean then that the importance of short film are any less so. Great films over the past have been influenced by many short films. The more short films that are watched the more that is absorbed and the more that will influence future films.
Variety – Short films offer variety and very rarely feature the same degree of repetition that we see in feature films thus the variety of topics, issues and narratives are all quite wide. The beauty of this is that lectures and practitioners especially in film schools will very often not see all the films looking and sounding the same.
The great thing then about short film, which goes against what I used to say about short film (“bit useless”) is quite mistaken. For me it is important to make a film that will essentially become one of my calling cards or part of the armoury that I possess as a media producer. Making another film in the coming months is a challenge I look forward to because I can put a lot of effort into something that will be the front-runner of the my showreel and I find that really rewarding.