Wednesday, May 23, 2012

How long should a short film be?

Part I -
Part II - Stalking Kevin Smith: Getting celebrities to make a cameo in your film

"Student films come in three lengths," one of my film professors once told me.  "Long.  Too long.  And entirely too long."

When working on my own short films, I've done my best to adhere to that mantra.  When I'm making something meant to be shown on the internet, my goal has always been to be even more merciless and efficient.  I have several friends who are also students of that school of thought, and as someone who's known a festival programmer or two, I'm also aware that a longer film faces greater obstacles in getting selected, as it eats up time that could go to two or three shorter films.

Does that mean that shorter is always better?  I don't know.  It's usually my preference.  Then again, there are people I've talked to like Joshua Caldwell, Director of Digital Media over at Anthony E. Zuiker's Dare to Pass, who very firmly believe that the paradigm is shifting and people are becoming more accustomed to consuming longer content on the web.

In this segment of my interview with Hughes the Force director J.C. Reifenberg, we discuss length.  When I started watching the film, I didn't know what the running time was.  I figured it would be about 10-15 minutes.  Very quickly, I noticed the pacing of the individual scenes was slower, closer to what one would find in a TV show or a movie than in a typical short film.  As it turns out, the film is a little over 30 minutes in length.

That wasn't J.C.'s intention when he started.  In fact, he was determined to make it under ten minutes at first.  How did things evolve and why did he decide that longer was better for this particular story?  Watch below.

Part IV - "The best thing I could have done for my career from a networking perspective."

1 comment:

  1. I made a short film, and tried to come in under five minutes. It came in at just over six with the credits included, and one constructive comment I received was that it was a little too long.

    The shorter it is, the more hits you'll get since people have such small attention spans these days. However, if you're not aiming to create a viral video, I say you should make it as long or as short as you feel necessary. It's your movie, do what you want with it!