We’ve championed short films since day one at Raindance a quarter century ago. Short films are the laboratory of cinema. It’s the place where filmmakers experiment and learn.
I’ve noticed a seismic change in short films since I started Raindance. Firstly, the digital revolution has made production costs significantly lower. Secondly, everyone wants content but so few are paying for it.
The demand for short films has never been higher. Bloggers, new digital platforms, major media companies and brands are crying out for quality short films that can be streamed in order to build prestige and earn them distinction and drive traffic to their social media.
Can short films make their filmmakers make money? Are the shorts deemed good enough to screen rom between the 7-9,000 entries that arrive at Sundance, SWSX and Raindance
good enough to earn anything for the filmmakers?
Three different ways short films can make money
First thing that seems to happen when a filmmaker is accepted into a major film festival is a rash of offers from new websites. If you’re brave enough to sign a contract with a website you’ve never heard of, beware the non-exclusive contract.
Don’t forget new VOD platforms are launched every single day When we started Raindance.tv in 2007 Youtube was just two years old. Then there was Dailymotion.com
and Joost.com. A year later Babblegum.com. Only Dailymotion survives from that lot.
Second thing that happens is filmmakers can get offers for decently paid work in advertisements and/or music videos. Making a short and having it screen at a really high profile festival like Raindance and SWSX really gets you noticed.
Thirdly, not one filmmaker I have ever met thinks that making a short film for money is a good idea. Think of it as a proof of concept for a larger project, or a pilot for a series of shorts usually released as a web series.
For some great war stories from award winning filmmakers like Gabriel Miller whose short “The Procedure” played Sundance and SWSX this year read this terrific article on Indiewire.com
Of course I’ve missed out ways you can make money with a short film.
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