Distribution : Best way to make money off of shorts? by Aileen Michelle

Aileen Michelle

Best way to make money off of shorts?

I'm producing a few shorts this year and I want to know what everyone thinks is the best form of distribution for shorts. I've researched some distribution companies for shorts and some top notch festivals and networks but I want to know what you think works for maximum profit. Which way do you think earns more money and is more successful? etc.

Josh Mitchell

Try Vimeo Pro. They give 90 percent to the filmmaker. Here's my latest - www.vimeo.com/ondemand/lackofcockery

D Marcus

I have a question that expands on your request, Aileen: Do you pay to watch short films? Do you know anyone who pays to watch short films?

J Tom Field

To D Marcus' point, 90% of nothing is nothing. How much income expect of Vimeo and is anyone successfully (in terms of financial) marketing their Vimeo projects? I have not paid for Vimeo shorts. Maybe I'll break that streak and watch Josh's film or Aileen's if she goes that route but no promises.

D Marcus

Well, Josh's film is a feature... I almost never meet or talk to people who have paid to watch a short film regardless of the best form of distribution. I know some make a little money from ad sharing but those are usually short comedy skits or informational projects that go viral and not a narrative short. Leads me to believe that even the makers of short films do not pay to watch short films. I hope I'm wrong.

Barry Kneller

There's really no way to make money from shorts. I have had several of mine distributed (never got even one dime from the distributors) and other than that and festivals acceptances and awards, there is not to much else to gain from producing them. Shorts are great for practicing and building the portfolio/showcasing work. Every once and a while we see a short that gets financing for a feature, but it is a rare and not the norm. I think they are great to do, but don't expect to make even one dime back of the budget from selling/distributing them.

Dave McCrea

I've paid to own short films on iTunes, i have about 15 of them, most of them were $1.99. But I don't think there's big money to be made, and iTunes takes a hefty percentage probably.

Barry Kneller

You are the minority Dave and like you said, ITunes takes a hefty cut and its also not easy to get shorts on ITunes (from what I understand).

D Marcus

Good to hear from someone who has actually purchased short films. What drew you to the ones you paid for? Were they movies made by people you don't know starting actors you've never heard of?

Adam J. Cohen

I can speak as both a filmmaker who has successfully sold shorts online and dealt with online distribution companies through my interactive short film festival. It is possible to make a small amount of money on a short film, especially IF it appeals to a specific audience. I have sold multiple copies of a 32 minute spiritual documentary about water fasting as an experiment many years ago, and probably would sell it more if I made it available on multiple platforms. That being said, I haven't dedicated my time to update it so you can guess that it hasn't resulted in a lot of money. I am also the founder of the Unofficial Google+ Film Festival (http://ugpff.com) which had a partnership with film distributor last year. There wasn't a big payout to the filmmakers and we are not partnering with them this year. If you can make a collection of shorts and build your audience, you may be able to sell those collections such as what Michel Gondry did or Spike Jonze If you are in this to make money, than your time would be better spent building a YouTube channel with multiple videos. This of course is only an opinion and I'm sure others have different experiences. Make shorts for art, for fun, for practice, and when you make some money on the longtail, be happy! Adam J. Cohen Founder Unofficial Google+ Film Festival http::;/ugpff.com

Aileen Michelle

seems like most people don't think a short film can make that much money if any at all. Well, I'm in the process of making a short film while my feature is in development so I'll let you all know how funding and distribution go for me. Thanks for the input guys!

Natalie Peri

My Short Film is still in Editing.. But it will be posted soon!!! But I did it for fun because I wrote the script!!! And for people to see

Don Zorbas

Very good points.

Erik Lundmark

Leomark Studios is curating comedy shorts, live or animation for a new VOD channel. Contact me for more info.

Ron Cooper

Hi Aileen, Our company is putting together a TV show that highlights shorts. If you are interested let me know. Thanks

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