WIFTI Summit 2012 and ScriptDC
University of California Washington Center in Washington DC
Sunday, December 3, 2012
Writer: Christina Helm, Women in Film & Video Member
Launching a film project is exciting, how do you make the most of a short film?
Story can be the easy part but once you’ve come up with an idea, what else do you need to think about? Petrina D’Rozario, Janet Davidson, and Sheila Dennin brought first-hand experience to the Sunday WIFTI Summit and ScriptDC panel on Using the Short Format to Build Your Portfolio. A passion for the project you’re working on can make your short film great, but it can be easy to get lost in the details. It can be hard to see beyond your own ideas for a project, so bringing in an outsider who’s not personally invested can be a good idea. Their vision can help you move beyond the minute details that keep the film from being interesting, especially since short films need to grab the viewer’s attention in the first two minutes. An audience member suggested using YouTube analytics, as it will tell you when viewers stopped watching.Holding a screening for feedback can be beneficial. Panelists recommend creating a survey that viewers can fill out. Tangible feedback can be extremely useful in the edit suite. Make sure your screening isn’t only with friends; you need people who can be brutally critical if necessary. The audience needs to leave with two or three take-away moments, after all we want our films to be memorable.
One point the panelists address, is the need to plan for your film to be successful and include that in your budgeting and strategy. If your film is making the festival circuit or bought for distribution, you need to have budgeted for that in pre-production. You have to travel with your film if a festival picks it up; you need to be there at the screenings and Q & A’s. In assuming your film will be successful, you also need to consider what costs appear after your film is bought, i.e. SAG actors that had a deferred payment agreement now need to be compensated.
About the Writer: Christina Helm, Women in Film & Video Member
An active member of WIFV DC, Christina Helm is also a media designer at Mediatronics, and has been at American University for three years. She is skilled in Final Cut Pro, video, film, and digital media, and was a freelance violinist for 13 years.