Short Films are the Future and that Future is NOW!

The Short Screenplay

It is happening right before our eyes. All you have to do is read the daily newspapers.

Feb 15, 2013 – The New York Times

Good Fit For Today’s Little Screens

Although the story is about short stories, what is good for the goose is also good for the gander. The Short Film will prosper for the same reasons that the short story is now being heralded. “It is the culmination of a trend we have seen building for five years.” The Internet has created an insatiable maw to feed. “The short film will undoubtedly also help fill the need.” “The single serving quality of a short narrative (read – short film) is the perfect form fit for the digital age.” The New York Times goes on to say, “Stories, (read -  short films) are models of concision, can be read (read and seen) in one sitting, and are infinitely and easily consumed on screens.”

The contagion has already started. The idea and appeal of the short film, like a spider spinning it’s web into our web, or an octopus, its tentacles reaching in all directions, even an amoeba spreading its ink blots, is as I write this, reaching far and wide.

The New York Times – March 4, 2013

A Screenplay Contest From Beijing

The announcement by the Beijing municipal government of the Beijing International Screenwriting Competition, inviting completed short film scripts, is a welcome gesture and promise for the short screenplay. The contest is to, “get movies made.” The only condition is that, “all the stories must be about Beijing.” Fair enough. It’s their ball park. “Once we have a good script, we will try to find investment.” The short film scripts are due by April 20, 2013, and may be submitted only by students in the US. All finalists will be flown to Beijing in June, when cash prizes totaling more than $100,000 will be awarded. No small potatoes.

This is just an indication of what is sprouting up in the most unexpected places. The point is that the short film is now increasingly in demand and the interest can only continue and grow. The potential is enormous. Everybody wants to play small ball.

New York Times, March 5, 2013

“Don’t Touch That Remote: TV Pilots Turn to Net, Not Network”


This story, another building block, points to the change in the approach to TV programming because of social media, pointing specifically to recent trends on NBC, HGTV, AOL and YOUTUBE among others. Hail, Hail the gangs all here.

With the evolution of the Computer Age, producers of intellectual property – screenplays, short films, now think in terms of distributing directly to the public through sites like iTunes or Netflix. The sharing of ancillary rights have now become more important and relevant to the question of the distribution potential.

We’ve seen the advent of digital media. The whole game has changed. We now rely on smart phones, tablets, immediate hookups with Amazon or iTunes, outlets being born each day. We buy on the spot. We think instant distribution. The short film will stream before your eyes in a wink. One-click shopping. It’s become an impulse buy. Some glint of entertainment catches your attention – click you’ve got it. Apps, on demand … there is at our disposal a whole range of offerings. Kindles are only the beginning and they will all stream short films for short attention spans. Now – quickly so I can move on the next big thing. Audiences can’t wait to slurp up digital content.

The new question on the block is “What is the social media plan for this short film?”

Upstart distribution companies are spouting up everywhere and the reasons for the new demand are obvious. New technology, digital cameras, editing software, easy lighting techniques, make filmmaking easier, more available and, just as important, affordable for would be filmmakers. You no longer have to break the bank to make your film. More films can and will be made, more outlets will be available, more audiences will be accessible. Film financiers are encouraged. They can now make a profit. There are practical reasons for them to invest in films. Indications are that Independent Films are flourishing.

For the short screenplay and the short film, the proof of the pud is in the eating. Reality is where the rubber hits the road and a million more truisms. It is terrific when the time we live in catches up to what I’ve been screaming for years. The short screenplay is a necessary step towards the full length feature film. It is the tasty appetizer before the hearty meal. It allows screenwriters to practice the craft of screenwriting, to try out their strokes once more before going over the cliff into the heady waters of the full length screenplay. Believe me … you have to walk the walk before you run.

Personally, word of my Short Film Development Program, has seeped out without my whispering into someone’s ear, I haven’t said a word or lifted a finger. In the past two weeks, I’ve gotten calls from Film Festivals in Italy and Berlin, asking that I submit either my full Short Film Program, or as many short films as I can, for their festivals. They need good short films. There is a demand for short films.

That is the whole point of my Short Film Development Program. It is clear that there is an enormous market opportunity for the short film. And…the short film means …exposure on your run towards the feature. We can whet the appetite of the film powers that be waiting in the wings.

If not now …When?

It bears repeating. …, “An opportunity is like the sunrise … blink …you miss it.”



About Irv Bauer

Screenwriter/Educator: IRV BAUER, has taught Screenwriting at the New York University’s Film School, at Sarah Lawrence College, and The Australian National Film School as well as in Master Classes at Cornell and at many other prominent venues. At the University of Bridgeport and The Minneapolis Playwright’s Lab he taught Playwriting as well as at the New Dramatist's in New York. At the University of Washington he taught Adaptation at the graduate level. In addition, Irv has taught workshops and seminars on screenwriting all over the world including special seminars for film and media communities in London, Paris, Sydney and New York and Los Angeles. His enormously popular annual two-week Summer Screenwriting Intensive in New York in July and Spoleto, Italy in August are attended by students from all over the world.
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