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Getting your big break.


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#1 Ira Goldman

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Posted 20 January 2013 - 10:07 PM

I was wondering how one should deal with the dynamics of submitting a short film to a big festival; everyone seems to argue that the short film picked up to show at a festival is largely based on subjective circumstances.

Can anyone shed some light?
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 20 January 2013 - 10:17 PM

You never know if you'll get in if you don't try. However, be honest with yourself in terms of the quality of the short.

Also, keep in mind that it is easier to accept shorter films and program them into a festival than longer short films, since in theory a 30-minute short takes up the space of three 10-minute shorts in a schedule, so it has be be better than the 10-minute shorts to be worth accepting. If you make a kick-ass short that is only 10-minutes or less, it probably will get into almost any festival that screens shorts. The trouble is that most people try to make a short film that is really a mini-feature, not realizing that a short film is its own art form.
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#3 Ira Goldman

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Posted 20 January 2013 - 10:28 PM

You never know if you'll get in if you don't try. However, be honest with yourself in terms of the quality of the short.

Also, keep in mind that it is easier to accept shorter films and program them into a festival than longer short films, since in theory a 30-minute short takes up the space of three 10-minute shorts in a schedule, so it has be be better than the 10-minute shorts to be worth accepting. If you make a kick-ass short that is only 10-minutes or less, it probably will get into almost any festival that screens shorts. The trouble is that most people try to make a short film that is really a mini-feature, not realizing that a short film is its own art form.


When you started out, did you promote your own work in the festival circuit?
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#4 Marcus Joseph

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 07:41 AM

Short films are a hard game to play, the only good advice is to keep making them cause even if they're terrible as long as you're honest with yourself, they'll get better. And as long as you continue to up your production values, people will start to notice. Most great film directors made tonnes of short films before they got the big break and some of them were genuinely awful. But it wasn't necessarily the shorts that got them that break, it just might have given them the experience for when eventually made it to a feature. Most successful short filmmakers (who make great shorts in big festivals) often never get to the feature length side of things, they sometimes fizzle away or get stuck making commercials or music videos (which isn't a bad way to make a living either).

One other tip for possibly getting into bigger festivals is to look for funding (possibly government) and expand your crew size, the majority of the shorts that make it to festivals have high production values and if you read the credits lists some of them are almost as long as small feature films.
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#5 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 07:58 AM

Shorter is usually best. Try to enter film festivals that specialise in your subject matter and enter early to save entry fees. Going to the festivals can enable you to make some new connections.

Spend a lot of time developing your script, make sure it's easy to pitch and cast the best actors you can.
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