The Art of the Short

This is an article I wrote for somewhere in late 2011. Hard to believe I wrote it without any research or any real purpose. It seems to tee up a series of short film reviews. I didn’t do any so I can only hope someone else did – otherwise I might be a tad over deadline. So maybe I’ll start now. Just posting short film reviews – or just ones to be celebrated. Yea.

There is no money in short films – for the most part. Personally the idea of a cinema that shows a constant stream of shorts, or a television channel devoted to short films exclusively sounds rather delightful. But with the accessibility of video content and video sharing becoming almost as easy as pie over the Web, the appearance of short film production companies are making this a conceivable future. Not likely, but conceivable.

‘But author of the article, what’s the purpose of a short film?!’ I hear you tweet. ‘Well @LinkToNextParagraph, how long is a piece of string?’ ‘That doesn’t make any sense’ you reply, rather embarrassingly conceding defeat.

With the incentive of profitability removed from the equation, as I meticulously proved in the opening sentence, it would be nice to think that short films are constructed more as a labour of love. A product of passion. A prisoner of Azkaban. But a short film could fulfil any number of purposes. Just as a bucket of infinite fish could fill full any number of porpoises. Perhaps it’s a demonstration of capability – a stepping stone to feature filmmaking. Or maybe it was a story that fit that amount of time. Neither stretched nor squashed. Like a film but short. I feel like you aren’t asking me questions but I’ll continue to answer broadly and evasively as though you were.

Short films have both the blessing and the curse of being short. They can be extremely minimal and play for mere seconds – one need only look to the popular internet troupe 5secondfilms to see how narrative can be successfully constructed in a such a small space of time with the assistance of only a contextualising title. By definition they can last up to forty minutes before being labelled a feature film, which allows plenty of scope for plot/character development. However it is the limiting duration of a short film that breeds creativity almost as requirement; the ability to make people care about the story or characters within a few minutes of film becomes a catalyst for originality.

While short filmmaking is a vastly diverse art form, I shall naively approach a series of reviews on short films categorised arbitrarily by form, but ultimately at whim, ranging through.

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