The jump from producing short ﬁlms to features can be a daunting experience. For some reason a lot of ﬁlmmakers think that making short ﬁlms will naturally lead on to the opportunity to make a feature ﬁlm. Whilst a few ﬁlmmakers may be able to say this has been the case, the two art forms are very different. Telling a story cinematically over 90 minutes requires a great deal more work both at script level and in terms of time and resources whereas a short ﬁlm can be produced considerably quicker and usually much cheaper. Shorts give opportunity to ﬁnd conﬁdence, experiment and build experience but they can also serve as a trap for the aspiring ﬁlmmaker. Over the years many people have approached me looking for advice on how to progress in the industry with the idea, ‘if only I could make this short for 25k then I can think about making a feature’. My advice is that if you can ﬁnd 25k then make a feature instead as the experience will teach you a great deal more than just making a short! After all, most ﬁlms watched are feature length and naturally we tend to think long form as ﬁlmmakers, allowing time to really take people on an emotional journey and identify with well developed characters. Shorts tend to work better in my opinion when they are visual and concept driven and not too overly ambitious in their aims. If your aspiration is to make short ﬁlms then that’s perfectly ﬁne but if you want to make features there’s no better way than just getting stuck in and making one! This is what we at Far North Film have done recently with Playhouse and it’s been an incredible learning experience beyond what we could ever glean from short ﬁlmmaking.
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