Why You Should Make That Short Film
‘In the short film that I watched on TV almost twenty years ago, a girl gets pregnant and is expelled by the school, her friend who got pregnant as well, in fear of facing the other girl's fate opts for an abortion, she dies in the process and the other girls in the school protest by giving a rousing speech at the school assembly ground and afterwards releasing a confetti of condoms blown out like balloons, they implored the school to invest in sex education instead of shaming and expelling pregnant girls. The story, set in South Africa was told in less than 25 minutes and as a teenage girl it rose a consciousness in me about storytelling and how a message can be powerfully communicated in a very short time ‘ says Christine Eze, an aspiring filmmaker.
In the past, all the films were short, usually less than a minute. But as we got more technologically advanced films got lengthier and more complex. Producing a short film is a great way to begin your journey into filmmaking and express yourself without being pressured to perform.
The demand for short-form content has created new opportunities for short filmmakers as brands, new digital platforms and major media companies all crave quality, bite-size, streamable content that has been proven to drive web traffic via social media.
A short film is any motion picture not long enough to be considered a feature film. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences defines a short film as “an original motion picture that has a running time of 40 minutes or less, including all credits”.
Making a short film is a task done for the pleasure derivable, and no one makes a short film primarily for the money. However, there is a certain sense of fulfilment that comes with completing a project and short films are a great way to execute and bring your ideas to life.
You can make a short film especially with the enormous resources and support available. Shorts reduce the entry barriers for aspiring filmmakers into the filmmaking business. In 2016 a crew of 8 Nigerian teenagers made a short film using a mobile phone. They taught themselves how to do visual effects by watching tutorials on Youtube. Battling slow internet and power cuts, they created a tale about two boys who create an organic bio-fuel.
Why Make a Short Film?
It’s a great way to explore and test out an idea to see how a feature film will turn out, by testing it on a small scale
A short film is your calling card, your chance to show people the kind of filmmaker you are. If it’s great, it will get you the attention you need to progress as a serious filmmaker and attract financiers
Great Partnership opportunities you’d like to try working with certain people to see if you can go on to collaborate on projects in the future.
Money is the excuse many people give for not achieving many goals. Shorts cost a lot less to make compared to a full-length feature film. They’re a safe territory to explore and even fail
Short Film Genres to try out
Romance plots that follow the focus of lust, emotion, and passion allow the audience to follow the character's journey of love
Comedy plots are lighthearted and usually end well
Drama these plots are relatable and follow everyday situations and people
Sci-Fi/Fantasy plots are set in futuristic or alternative history. Great for short films as the story unfolds fast.
Animation this is the use of stop motion cinematography to tell a story of any kind.
Horror plots are created to scare and terrify the audience, play on their worst fear and illuminate bad situations to make them appear scarier
The documentary is non-fictional factual works that are delivered in a narrative style usually to inform and educate
Action film plots are designed to help the audience escape reality. Usually set as fast-paced, thrilling and exciting story. Superb editing also helps to maintain audience excitement
Epic plots tell a historical event using elaborate costumes and drama to emphasize the period in which the story happened
Where will you Show Your Short Film?
Your Front Room — many filmmakers start out by testing their ideas and audience on their friends and from the comfort of their homes.
A Showreel — maybe you’re building a body of work to prove to others that you have filmmaking skills and/or to persuade them to give you some funding to make another film. It is also an amazing way to convince investors that you are serious about filmmaking https://www.britishcouncil.org.ng/programmes/arts/lagos-filmlab-open-call
The Internet — a great means of getting your work out there and getting feedback from a wide range of people, internationally.
Television — if your film is of a high quality, a television channel may screen it, especially if it fits into a slot with other short films.
The Cinema — one of the hardest places to get a short film screened, but some very successful shorts have been shown before feature films on general release. Some cinemas also run short film events.
Festivals — a great opportunity to get your film on the big screen, watched by an audience of industry people and by filmmaking peers. Eko International Film Festival EKOIFF is a great platform to start from.
The answers to ‘why’ and ‘where’ determine the standard you need to work to — there is a minimum standard of technical quality required for broadcast on television and a very different quality for transfer from tape to film.
Why you are making a short film, and where you want it to go, will determine what you shoot on, which equipment you use, budgets, and crew numbers and potential markets. You and your team’s objectives set the parameters of what you are going to create.
There are small pots of money for short films — especially those on digital formats. The industry is also full of people who are willing to do work at reduced rates because they like an idea, they like someone involved with the project or they simply remember what it was like to start out in filmmaking.
Set clear and actionable goals and proceed with executing your project. Good luck!!
Print Version has been published on Everything Nollywood.