Distribution : Shorts TV vs. Festivals by Sue Lange

Sue Lange

Shorts TV vs. Festivals

Question for the group mind: Shorts TV has offered to pick up my short film, but I've sent it out to a bunch of festivals. Some are declining, but some are picking it up. My thought is I would wait to have Shorts TV start broadcasting after the festival season is over. Does that make sense? It would put it all the way to April of next year. What have other people done in the past?

Amanda Toney

Based on the educators that I work with day in and day out, their overwhelming support would lean towards starting with the festival route before you go to TV/VOD. Maybe some other filmmakers can chime in on their own experiences?

Ninon Schubert

Hi Sue, I would also recommend going down the festival route first. This is what we did with all our shorts and our first feature. A lot of festivals want premieres of some sort, so if a film is available online or on TV that would make it less interesting for them. In some cases, if your film is already online, festivals might ask you to remove it for the duration of the fest. But it also depends on the festival - most of them tell you on their website how they like to handle it.

Sam Borowski

Sue, Play the festivals first. AS MANY AS YOU CAN. You should play the festivals for close to a year - give or take. In addition, as you near the end of your festival run, put out a DVD, either through a small or mid-sized distributor (some of them do shorts) or CreateSpace, which is wonderful for short DVD distribution and start selling it at your final few festivals. Bring them along. (* I am giving you the Reader's Digest version of this plan here). In addition, maybe do a Special One-Night Screening at a Restaurant with a party room and either a 60-inch T.V. and DVD player or digital projection (some of them have it) and do a launch-party for your DVD/ BLU-RAY. THEN, go through a content aggregator and get it on I-Tunes, Amazon and maybe Hulu. You can even make some money. You have to work yourself hard, but in the end, if you make even a little money (as in MORE than your money back), get your work out there, you can use it as a LAUNCHING PAD. Also, there is always the chance you go viral and sell a decent amount. HOWEVER, ONE MORE THING: TO do these things, you have to put hard work into - have a trailer on YouTube, maybe sell tee shirts with your poster on them at teespring (you don't have to put any money out - tee spring does), REALLY play up your film's online and DVD distribution on ALL SOCIAL MEDIA. IT CAN BE DONE! Good Luck and GOD BLESS! Onward and Upward and Stay Fresh! ;)

Karen Goldfarb

I have a question -- why is it better to play the festivals first if you have an opportunity to show it on television?

Sue Lange

Festivals are good for networking. A big festival might actually provide more visibility than tv. After all, It's not NBC that we're talking about here.

Jumai Yusuf

Hey Sam that seems like really good advice. But the shorts I make are super short, around 4-5mins long. Would you still recommend putting that on a DVD?

Sam Borowski

Jumai, while I think it's easier to tell a story with a longer short, and an easier selling point, the short answer is yes, I always recommend putting your work out. If you have two or three short-shorts, why not put them out as a collection. You can call it the Jamai Yusuf Collection! You can also record commentary for them or have extras on the making of - a table reading if you filmed one, behind the scenes, etc. You can also make the price point lower like between $8.99-$12.99. You can go through Createspace and you control the content and the artwork! You may make less money because of the shorter running times, lower price-point, but hey, if you get your original investment back, make even $1 profit and get your work out there, you've won! Then, go through a content aggregator to to get the movies on I-Tunes, Amazon and Hulu. Would cost you some money, but you will get them out there! Onward and Upward and Stay Fresh! ;)

Terry Owen

I would like to take a look at it www.akyumen.com and AkyumenTV offers a non-binding global distribution agreements and don't really care where else you have it out in the market because with our platform (Akyumen smartphone devices) and our OTT, we are converting and KEEPING 48% of our global smartphone consumers to our OTT and generating significant revenue for our content partners (filmmakers) quarterly.

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