When people think of the film industry, the first thing to come to mind is rarely short films, even though they are a major part of the business.
This post made by the New York Film Academy gives a comprehensive list of film festivals taking place around the globe, and a vast majority of them include one or more categories for short films.
Short films, or shorts, are even produced by large movie studios. Pixar released a short titled “Piper,” that is nominated for an Academy Award. Disney produced a short titled “Frozen Fever” in response to the immense success of the feature film, “Frozen.”
So why are short films so popular among both major corporations and independent filmmakers? What makes shorts such a notable part of the film industry?
It all comes down to two main reasons: affordability and creativity.
People like when things are inexpensive. When a film takes less financial investment to make, producers are more likely to complete the project.
Major corporations are likely to take a risk with a short because they can gauge the audience’s reaction by doing a pre-screening at a film festival. If it’s received positively, the short might be paired with a feature-length film. If the audience’s reaction is negative, the business will have invested so little in proportion to other projects that they can afford to move forward with minimal financial damage.
Inexpensive films are also popular among independent, up-and-coming filmmakers. It provides them the opportunity to build their repertoire and expand their experiences in the industry. Shorts also allow an amateur filmmaker to make a film without having to invest the amount of money needed to produce a feature-length film.
Creative freedom is also something that carries a lot of weight in the film industry.
Shorts will likely appeal more to filmmakers in large corporations that commonly have to jump through a series of hoops to get projects approved. Since a short film will take less to produce, corporations will probably be more likely to allow filmmakers to take more creative liberties.
Having creative freedom on a project also appeals to independent filmmakers. Before they are contracted by employers, up-and-coming filmmakers will need to create a portfolio of their work. Short films will allow them to develop and showcase their artistic style.
Despite their less-than-visible presence in mass media, short films play a major role in the film industry. They are cheaper to produce, making them more accessible to any filmmaker. Shorts let filmmakers take creative risks which often lead to commentaries on relevant topics or experimentation in filming styles.
So, don’t let their limited length fool you. Short films have been around for as long as the film industry, and they are not going anywhere any time soon.