My Favorite Short Films

Listen, you can’t make any money writing for short films in Hollywood. If you find yourself involved in short-film projects, pack your bags and move back to Omaha.

Those short films down at the tail of a Scorcese or Spielberg or Coppola resume? Switch over to writing term papers for college students. You can make a pretty penny. The Burton and Pixar efforts? Just well-funded filmmaker juggernauts sewing a few seeds.

When’s the last time you went to the movies and a short film ran before the feature? You want involvement in short films? Become a YouTube troll. Writing for short films is like writing for Wikipedia.

Now if you’re in it for the art, that’s another thing. Your spouse brings home the bacon and you’re searching for meaning in your life. You know what? You need a hobby. Art. Art is basically a hobby these days, unless you tap into a market, but that’s not about art. Making short films – that’s a type of art. Take it up. Make some. With the technology these days, you can make a movie like Monsters or Skyline mostly sitting in your kitchen, if that’s where you use your computer.

If you’re thinking about the past, well, I remember going to the movies in the 60s and seeing Skater Dater before the feature. Nominated for an Oscar. The memorable thing about Skater Dater was that it was the first time I’d ever seen a skateboard, on film or otherwise.

If this is about watching good short films, they are profuse. Too many to name. Use torrents or RapidShare or Netflix or Amazon or YouTube. What does it tell you that many of the best films are available for free? Check out the Oscar list for best live action short films. Before that category, there were several short-subject Oscars handed out. Mubi has a topic on favorite short films – you’ll find all sort of picks there, from Kenneth Anger’s classic, Scorpio Rising, to the short film that is probably the only one many could name, Hotel Chevilier. Turn over any rock and you’ll find a short film. This is a golden age for short films. All those unemployed individuals out there? Many are filling their empty hours making short films. Varda, Jarmusch, infinite animation. Go crazy.

Most of the short films I watch run 6 to 8 minutes, but I don’t think you’re talking about those.

What of the future? Short films, feature films, documentaries, newspapers, magazines, books, songs – we may end up like the Balinese, who live in a country where everyone does some art and nobody makes a living at it. Except that in the U.S., a few megacorps will always be there to squeeze the entertainment dollars out of you somehow.

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8 Responses

  1. How do you do that? You’re like the film blogging Bobby Fischer, except much more charming.

    • If you haven’t tried it, give it a go. Do a draft of a topic in less than 20 minutes and see what happens. It’s sort of liberating, knowing that you’re not going to work very hard on it.

      • You’ll have to give me a topic.

      • procrastination

        but you can only spend 15 – 20 minutes on it. it’s a riff or a rant or a sort of improv.

        come to think of it, your blog has some rants that probably didn’t take you long.

  2. PS: Those 6-8 minute short films? Great, inspirational dialogue. Repetitive, but great.

  3. I’ll e-mail you because I’m not supposed to be posting on my blog. You know, so I have time to work. Also, those aren’t rants. They’re finely crafted meditations on things that bug me.

    • Sorry. I thought you used the word “rant” in them.

      In this exercise, though, you won’t have time for the fine crafting that you’ve done there.

      • Done. Fun. (a little more than 20 minutes because I was typing so fast that some weird thing happened to my e-mail, where it choked up and then started to yell at me. Stuff like, “slow the f*** down, will you? I’m trying to get some rest here.”)

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