It feels like just yesterday—however, it was nearly two years ago that I joined the Canadian Short Screenplay Competition. It was a growing, respectable short-screenplay competition run by enthusiastic, intelligent and trustworthy individuals. I knew immediately that I’d gotten lucky; I was going to be a part of something big.
With this feeling of pride and excitement, I’d often mention the CSSC in conversations I’d have at networking parties, press events, and other occasions where you must delve deep into the “small-talk pool” in hopes of finding something that’d lead into an actual discussion.
What I found was an overwhelming confusion about short film(s). Some people would nod their heads up and down, offer congratulations, and then elaborate on their success in blah-blah-blah. The more loquacious individuals would, more often than not, give me some variation of “but what does one do with a short film, and where do people even see short films these days?”.
Now to be completely honest, I’d not have an immediate reply. I’d suck my bottom lip into my mouth and chew on it frivolously as my brain scrambled to put words together in hopes of finding an appropriate response.
Where do short films go? Where are they appreciated? What is the appeal of the short film? Is it a dying art form? Can the short film simply be looked upon as a method for filmmakers to prove themselves in order to secure budgeting for a feature-length production?
The more I would think, the more confused I’d get—and more questions would draw a number and wait in line for my brain to assess. I eventually shook my head and put an end to the constant inquiries. Why did I find myself having to justify the medium to begin with? I know that short films are appreciated everywhere—and by a large population.
The big picture wasn’t so much the aforementioned questions, but an entirely different issue altogether.
There is a pretentious disposition around short film—one that is simply not true. If I were to ask you to picture, in your mind’s eye, a cliché caricature of a short-film maker, you’d more than likely picture the edgy hipster who’s “all about the art, man.” You’d think of underground screenings filled with pompous audiences who attend merely for the sake of appearance. (Or maybe you didn’t. If this is the case, I’d like to shake your hand and give you a pat on the back, but I’m afraid you’re in the minority.)
Short film isn’t ostentatious, high art, or even something that one has to go to great lengths to hunt down in order to enjoy. I’d argue that more than ever we—in great numbers—appreciate short films in this digital era!
Content is regularly posted on media portals such as YouTube and Vimeo that have all of the qualities of most short films—from the budget and length down to the production quality. These clips are admired, loved, and spread around the web and viewed by people worldwide.
Why is it that these videos are separated from short films? Short films are made with the same intent and passion. They usually contain a message—and, like most messages, they are made to be seen/heard.
When will short films lose their reputation as being above the general public? In my opinion, the Internet will soon bridge the short films that actually distinguish themselves as short films and the short films that are merely looked upon as interesting videos.
Hopefully, with the abundant amount of short-film festivals, web portals that feature short films (Fans of Film, YouTube), TV programs (Shorts in the City), and competitions like the CSSC, the short film will become more mainstream and recognized as an entertainment medium.
Short films are moving, funny, to the point, engaging and, of course, entertaining. Hopefully soon, this will be the consensus of the general public, and I’ll no longer have to explain their significance.
Believe me, they are significant. We’ve said it here since day one… Short.Is.Better.