For the next few weeks, our Denise
Harrison takes us through the wild and wooly world of internet shorts.
This week she gives us an overview of who's who. Next
.The Wheels, The Deals. The Business of Shorts. So hold
on to your hats and glasses because this will be a bumpy ride.
Shorts are hip, theyre free from the mires of filmmaking studios,
and the big news is that shorts are not just for college projects anymore.
In this new world of low-cost digital cameras and a plethora of Web sites
drooling for content, pros and amateurs alike are capturing gigabytes
by the minute. Everyone can be a contender.
"Shorts were a dying art form," explains Steve Hein
of Quality Filmed Entertainment. Quality Filmed Entertainment, the company
behind Billy Jones, the shorts award winner at the Yahoo! Internet
Life Film Festival in March, is a production management company specializing
in launching the careers of young writers and directors. "Back
in the 30s and 40s, they made shorts and showed them before feature films.
Then in the 70s and 80s, they were used mostly for "Hardware Wars"."
More recently, says Hein, shorts were mostly used as calling cards for
directors, sometimes met with success, such as for the South Park
creators, who originally made a short, and the more recent George Lucas
in Love, which found fame on the Internet but wasnt originally
made for it.
"The Internet began taking these shorts that were already there
and exposing them outside the Hollywood community, bringing a lot of legitimacy
to the form," he says. "Our company has been doing shorts
for three or four years and the Internet companies getting behind them
and treating them as real filmmakers has been an asset. Sites such as
iFilm.com and atomfilms.com have become incubators, a great place to test
how successful a short will be.
Robert Faust, president of on-demand entertainment site MediaTrip.com,
and says shorts began to have a life at film festivals and occasionally
would pop up on cable. Faust, who used to run the Los Angeles Independent
Film Festival, says people would constantly call and ask how they can
see a film featured at the festival. "One of the reasons I got
so excited about the form and the Internet is that it breaks the bottleneck
of distribution. Anything can be seen."
He says not only does the Internet give new filmmakers a chance, the distribution
also provides a creative freedom to big filmmakers and directors. "We
are going to see more mainstream talent doing short form content for the
Internet," predicts Faust. "In traditional media, there
are sometimes restrictions, but not so with the Internet. This gives
artists creative freedom."
Shorts and the technology of the Internet are a great match, he says.
"The technology and the attention span of the Internet make shorts
the perfect content form. I also think well see plenty of feature
films on the Internet, too, all of it on this on-demand basis. The accessibility
is great for the filmmakers because they can showcase their work but the
consumer benefits as well. This is a whole new mechanism that allows the
consumer to watch the film, give instant feedback, automatically review
it, go to chat boards and even talk to the director."
Of course, shorts arent Internet-only, and well be discussing
other distribution next week. Theyre also not always filmed or taped
animated shorts have taken off as well. For now, were talking
short film, and heres where to point your browsers for the latest
from the hottest new (and existing) stars in Hollywood the makers
iFilm, launched in October of 1998, has more than 800 shorts. iFilm
bills itself as an Internet resource for film fans, filmmakers, and entertainment
industry professionals. It serves as a resource for budding artists and
also for the Hollywood industry searching for that talent. It has shorts,
digital, features and student films categories. iFilm boasts the 10-episode
series: The Sadness of Sex directed by Rupert Wainwright and written
by Barry Yourgrau and the award-winning Billy Jones by Christopher
Bell among many others. They encourage submissions but definitely have
quality standards. You can view using Windows Media, Real Player or QuickTime.
AtomFilms focuses on creating a mass market for short films, animations
and digital media. A loyal supporter of independent filmmakers and animators,
AtomFilms has built a platform for its artists looking for worldwide distribution.
The company selects fewer than 10 percent of the hundreds of shorts they
review each month. Currently showing is George Lucass college project:
Electronic Labyrinth. See Web site for submissions. Real Player
or Windows Player for viewing.
on-demand shorts. MediaTrip.com
was featured in the December 17, 1999 issue of Entertainment Weekly as
having the best short film on the Internet and rated our film "George
Lucas in Love" with an A+. MediaTrip.com has also set a world record
for the most viewings of a short film with over 150,000 video streams
for "George Lucas in Love" in its first few weeks. MediaTrip
also shows on-demand features, music and original programming content.
View with Windows
Player or Real Media Player.
in July, 1999, also provides free short films on demand and has work from
more than 100 artists. Founded by filmmakers for filmmakers, they encourage
submissions but their Web site states they only select quality films for
posting. Real Player is required for viewing.
/the· sync/, home
to JenniCAM, has a section called independent exposure featuring 10 shorts.
Also has features, series and webcams. Appears to have contracts with
certain artists and a section for submitting your work isnt apparent.
View with Real Player, Windows Player or QuickTime.
WireBreak says they create digital shows for the Internet and for future
digital delivery systems. They have about a dozen or so short films as
well as some games and other entertainment. You'll need Real Player or
Brand new site with
a dozen or so shorts, including some classics from Charlie Chaplin, the
Dead End Kids, Spencer Tracy, Gracie Allen, Bob Hope, Judy Garland. Microsoft
The New Venue
The New Venue has Every
week the New Venue features new independent short films (there are about
30 on the site) and helps digital filmmakers with "FlickTips", a complete
guide to making movies for the web. Requires Macromedia Flash 4.
MovieFlix has hundreds
of shorts and other first-run content, as well as movie merchandise, articles,
box office figures and more. Contact MovieFlix about submissions. Requires
The D.FILM Digital
Film Festival is a traveling and online showcase of films. In its first
year D.FILM was presented in New York, San Francisco, San Diego and London.
Every show in every city was sold out. The first leg of D.FILM's second
season included screenings at Stanford University, the ZKM Center for
Art and Media in Karlsruhe, Germany, at the Digital Video Conference and
Expo in Pasadena and in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Use QuickTime for viewing.
ICAST emphasizes the
do-it-yourself nature of the Internet. It features some well-known artists
as well as giving users the platform, self-publishing tools, content and
community for creating their own projects.
entertaindom.com is a gigaplex of entertainment with only several shorts.
But the site promises new shorts three times a week, which should beef
up their offerings quite quickly. Real Player and Windows Player.
The Bit Screen
The Bit Screen delivers
first-run Internet films, adding new programming each week. The Best of
The Bit Screen on Broadcast.com (www.broadcast.com/video). They are seeking
submissions see their Web site for info. Films are viewed with
Bijoucafe, begun in
1998, has a few fun shorts and plenty of other types of entertainment,
including features and episodic (even some old Secret Agent episodes!).
They do encourage submissions but dont select just anything. For
viewing, be sure to have Real Player.
AntEye.com is an interactive
community just as much for the content creators as for the viewers. Viewers
vote on all the pieces they show, then the Anteye folks take a look at
the top rated projects. These become eligible to receive development deals
for television shows, interactive media, and digital short films of up
to $100,000, and digital feature film budgets of up to $250,000, plus
the expertise of our Anteyes digital producers and crew to help
get it done. For viewing, get Real Player.
And Coming Soon
Launching later this
spring, POP.com is an independent digital entertainment company created
to produce and broadcast original internet-only programming founded by
a collaboration of Dreamworks SKG and Imagine Entertainment. The content
will include live action and animation, video on demand and live web events,
non-linear interactive features and games, and user-submitted content.
Z.com is a new site
made from a partnership including idealab!, Basic Entertainment, 3Arts
Entertainment, Maverick Record's Guy Oseary, and a team drawn from the
arts, entertainment, technology, and interactive design communities. They
are dedicated to creating new and unique content the Internet.
Over the coming months,
content will appear from producer Jerry Bruckheimer, director Oliver Stone,
Cindy Margolis, comedic personalities from film, television, and stand-up,
as well as emerging talent from the writing, directing, animation, and