Does Short Films & Its Makers have a Future? How to Adapt to the Changing Trend?

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The trend of watching short films is long gone due to the recent ballooning of the youtube content with memes, political issues, sketches and many more. There was a time when people actually searched for short films in the search option provided by Youtube. There were a huge amount of views (organic, not the paid ones like now) & there was expectations too. Suddenly, it all declined due to the garbaging of it with a plenty number of short films. This is when the viewers are pissed and there occurs a transition.

The Way Forward

The plenty number of short films releasing is one side of the trouble. The other side to it is that these short films have very ordinary content that degrades the short filmmakers as a community. Every short film looks the same and deals with almost similar characters and stories. In Fact, there are short films that have very good aesthetics but lack the basic thing of having a story in it. Even when the aesthetics were there isn’t much experimentation with the making and sometimes it feels like every short film is a mere wannabe. This is when the viewers lack entire interest in short films and look in for alternatives. So, how does one bring back the viewers to watch short films with interest? The most effective  way is to move upward and make content for the digital market, since a good chunk of Youtube viewers are now subscribing to platforms such Amazon and Netflix Even then, there has to be an understanding on how one goes about making a film. But, if one wants to make short films and stand out, the article could come handy.

Even a one minute short film requires a story!

No matter what lacks in a film, it cannot lack a story for sure. Even if it is of a duration of 1 minute, the short film requires the presence of a story in it. We are people that experience and want stories in a 30 second commercial advertisements. In such a case, who would watch a short film without a story in it? Many people are of the opinion that none can bring out a story in such a small duration and opt for making picturesque material. These are the ones that believe a short film can only create a mood and can’t have a story in such a small time. For this, they shoot a heavy chase scene to its perfection. They bring out a slow motion introduction sequence of the hero. They try out many such aspects to its perfection. But, there isn’t a point of all these shots without a story.

These shots do serve a purpose to the viewer and gives them an unique experience only when it is integrated within a story. At the end of the day, making short films is a learning process for all of us. In such a case, one could try out anything new that one feels like to. But, it requires a story when one has a target audience and is looking for them to watch it and experience it. This is something that one has to keep in mind while making short films.

A short film could be a feature film, but not the vice versa!

A feature film usually has a character arc. There’s a complete cycle of changes in the protagonist. In any feature film, the changes in the protagonist is what forms the crux of the story. A loser by birth becomes a winner in the end or a brave man becomes a puppet in the end. But, in a length of 1 and half hour, one can easily put forward these events in an organic manner satisfying a viewer. This cannot occur in a short film of a mere duration in about 10 minutes. When one tries to do this, the viewers feels it to be forcefully fitted in and everything will appear to move so fast for him/her. It will eventually not end satisfactorily for the viewer.

It’s important to realise the scope of a story due to this. One has to predetermine whether it is a short film content or is that of a feature film.  Even a short film when stretched to be a feature film might result in some betterment. But, when a feature film is shrinked on to be a short film, the result is chaotic.

Let us consider the short film Magudi. Please watch the film and read further. This film has everything that a short film must possess so that it gives an experience for the audience. The makers have realized the scope of their content and delivered accordingly. The film depicts a police inspector following the trails of a serial psycho killer. Almost most of the film is the interrogation of the inspector with the killer. This interrogation gives us the required details of whom, why and how has the killer hunted down his victims. After this, it ends on a dramatic note with a twist!

There are some possibilities on how this story could’ve taken forward on the screen.

The story could’ve started with portraying certain murders by the killer and then getting caught and subsequently the interrogation sequence. This would give an wholesome start and end to the film.

Or the story could’ve started with the climax sequence with almost a certain ending and going in reverse of the events. The audience here would want to know the events that led to the ending.

The other way is how it has been depicted in the film as such. This depiction eliminates the unwanted detail of portraying the killings in a short film yet gives us an idea of how it took place. Also, the ending here comes as a twist and that of an open one.

In my opinion if one might ask, the 3rd way is the one that is the best for a short film content. Without depicting the killings as in the 1st possibility, the film lets the viewers imagine it the way they want to. There’s work for the viewer here. It opens the imaginative world of the viewers! Also, it has to be noted that this film is a pilot film. Maybe the makers might have planned the first possibility in the feature work. The point to be noted here is that in spite of being a pilot film, this film satisfies us completely. This is something most filmmakers end up not doing so. These makers have put forward a knot that was untied by the end of the film itself.  

This gives us an insight on how certain things when eliminated in short films stories results in a better experience for the viewer. When some scenes are put together in certain order, it results in a nail-biting end too.  In a short film, the audience want to take home something. Nowadays, no viewers likes to be spoon fed. Hence, one can always look in for knots that could be solved by the viewers themselves. This would make audience talk about the film eventually resulting in an organic reach of the film. If a short film is able to kindle the thoughts of the audience, that’s the one to succeed. 


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