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Screenwriting : RE:Pay for shorts by Veronica Taylor

Veronica Taylor

RE:Pay for shorts

I have looked into many opportunities for short screenplays and I've found that many short screenplays offer no pay. Is there such a thing as pay for short screenplays--now days--or are shorts just a way to get acknowledgement and practice until a screenwriter completes a feature length screenplay?Anyone care to share their experiences or thoughts on this?

Veronica Taylor

Hey David, I love Batman teaches math. We love Batman--over here--and you sounded just like Bruce Wayne. Hate the thought that there might not be any more Batman movies.

Mark Ratering

It used to be that they showed a short pn cable before the main pic but the a holes just play crap movies now over and over and over

Mark Ratering

There is short film fest for shorts. I will try to find 4 you.

Philip Sedgwick

Pay for shorts is... well, short. Maybe $100 to $500 tops - that is, if you are offered any money. You can post shorts for free on InkTip.com. Also, many festivals and contests have short categories. Slamdance offers the option of production of the winning short, with play at their festival. Check out Dead in the Room on their home page.

Veronica Taylor

@Mark Ratering Thank you Mark. I'd really appreciate you finding that for me. That means a lot.

Veronica Taylor

@Phillip Sedgwick. Hello Phillip, When I saw your comment about pay for shorts being...well short, I laughed, but that is so true. Thank you for telling me about being able to post shorts on InkTip.com. I did not know that, or about Dead in the Room.

Veronica Taylor

@David August, Hey David, Your very welcome. I enjoyed it. I am glad they might consider doing another Batman. I'm not sure why Christian Bale decided not to do more, but it won't be the same without Batman movies. :-)

Philip Sedgwick

You are welcome, Veronica. Both Slamdance and InkTip offer options for short scripts and take them out of the frustration file. Might as well give them a run. The writer of Dead in the Room is pretty cool and I'm glad Slamdance made that film. The path of the writer is not an easy one.

Veronica Taylor

@Phillip Sedgwick I definitely need to take my scripts out of the frustration file. lol I agree I'm going to look into that. I agree with you, being a writer is hard, it has been a real struggle for me, and yet my life is so empty without my writing.

Jason K. Allen

Hey Veronica, I've been going through the same thing. Up until recently I'd only written feature-length scripts. But while going over ideas for my next feature, I decided to write a few shorts. I enjoyed it and I plan to write more. But then came the question: What do I do with them? First and foremost, I wrote them to get my creative juices flowing. Also, I had several ideas that I liked but I didn't feel they had enough story for 90 or 100 pages; however, some of them worked great at 10 or 15 pages. I've decided to shoot a couple of the shorts myself with local filmmakers. I posted the others on InkTip. I've had some success with features on InkTip and I know that shorts are regularly produced through them, too. My shorts got listed on their site today and I've already had three requests this evening. I also entered a couple of short script contests: Slamdance (I think their deadline is today, the 31st) and ScriptVamp. You can also find producers seeking scripts on the International Screenwriting Association's website and the Mandy's Film & TV job listings. You can also post shorts on the Talentville site (although you have to read and review other people's scripts to have yours read and reviewed). Finally, if you have any film schools in your area, they are often looking for scripts to shoot. You probably won't make any money going that route, but you might get one of your shorts produced and get a writing credit.

Mark Ratering

Veronica CHICAGO INTERNATIONAL REEL SHORTS FILM FESTIVAL Chicago, Illinois - USA September 20 to 23, 2012 Dear Mark, In the Spotlight this week is the 9th Annual CHICAGO INTERNATIONAL REEL SHORTS FILM FESTIVAL (CIRSFF), a celebration of short-form filmmaking that tailors its program to the filmmakers and audiences it serves. CIRSFF ensures that each film is part of a curated showcase that complements and accentuates each film's themes, resulting in a highly personalized and always-captivating festival that truly respects and celebrates the uniqueness of each filmmaker. Each competitive category at CIRSFF - including Short Film Narrative, Short Film Documentary, Short Film Youth, and Music Video - will present both an Audience Award and a Panel Award to filmmakers who make a strong and memorable impact. A Best of Fest Award will also be bestowed on the project that best exemplifies the power of the independent spirit. Rather than emphasize competition, however, CIRSFF seeks to create relationships and networks that will extend far beyond the festival itself and will help spark fantastic careers that go on to inspire others. Last year's CIRSFF hosted an exclusive selection of short films featuring Chicago's own Joe Mantegna ("Criminal Minds"), including his directorial debut. The success of this event has prompted CIRSFF to develop an annual program featuring other Chicago-native celebrities and their creative works. UPCOMING DEADLINE August 12, 2012 - Regular Deadline MISSION AND OBJECTIVE The Chicago International Reel Shorts Film Festival seeks to provide opportunities for filmmakers around the world by showcasing their work to "reel" people in and around Chicago. The festival seeks to provide a supportive atmosphere with low entry fees, low ticket prices, and high reward. MORE ABOUT THE FESTIVAL Offering participating filmmakers a pre-festival screening event and a networking gala at a beloved Chicago hotspot, CIRSFF takes full advantage of the sights, sounds, and flavors of one of America's most exciting cities. Home to renowned musicians, diverse and memorable storytellers, and premier culinary artists, Chicago offers something for everyone. CIRSFF guests will enjoy fantastic films at Columbia College's Film Row Cinema, a venue featuring one of the best digital projection theaters in the Midwest. The festival also includes a lecture series that explores the experiences and insights of well-established independent filmmakers from Chicago and abroad; award-winning producer and director Julian Grant will be this year's special guest presenter. For the chance to explore the great city of Chicago and discover this top-notch event for yourself, submit to the Chicago International REEL Shorts Film Festival today!

Lookman Film And TV

Hi Veronica, Because there is very little money value in shorts and pilots, there is no pay. After listening to a panel of sales agents in London recently, there has been a declined DVD market for low budget features. So any budgets under $1 million are unlikely to make a profit without recognisable actors. The exceptions are some arts films and niche films. Perhaps if UK broadband had a wider bandwidth video on demand might fill the gap for cheaper films.

Mark Ratering

I spend most of my time in Asia. 20 new blackmarket bootleg films arrive daily. I can not figure how these films a) got made b) made a dime in profit c) how much longer can it last?

Veronica Taylor

@Jason Allen, Thank you so much for all the information that you have given me, and for sharing your experiences with short screenplays, too. I'd love to do a feature length, but I fear it will be a flop because I am a self-taught screenwriter, so shorts are what I feel comfortable with for now. When I saw all your information--know I sound silly--but it made me very emotional over here--because you and so many others, @Mark Ratering, @Lookman Film and TV, @Jason Allen, @David August, @Phillip Sedgwick--have given me so much information and I no longer feel so alone in this.I have been so emotional--with all my dads going through--you all and your kindness has made me cry--but with happiness.THANK YOU ALL. Thank you. When I can get my dad on the road to recovery, I plan to look into each opportunity mentioned on here. :-)

Veronica Taylor

@Mark Retering Thank you so much for giving me this information about the Reel Shorts Film Festival. It is so exciting to see this when most people--offer no pay for shorts, or do not take them seriously. I am so excited about this. I wanted to thank you for giving me all this information. I must admit when I first started on Stage 32, I was ashamed to be on here because I was new and did not have any credits under my belt, but I realized--with time--it's not the credits, as there will always be someone new and better to replace--screenwriters, as this is such a competitive field--it's the heart that beats, and the need to write. The need to write that's so strong, that you do not have peace if you don't write. So I am a proud member here, new at screenplays or not, and proud to say the heart of a screenwriter lives inside. Thank you.

Veronica Taylor

@Lookman Film and TV Hello, Thank you for telling me this, I guess I just had not looked at it this way. I guess, I feel that each person--in any way that they contributed to the film-- should be credited or offered some pay, whether it be the writers, the gaffer, the person that does the costumes, etc. and so forth and so on, because without each person doing their part there would be no movie, you know? But, I do see what your saying, I really do. Thank you very much.

Chris Keaton

There's really no money to be made from shorts. Whoever is shooting this is fronting everything knowing they'll never get it back. It's really a calling card. That's why you just can't give your script to anyone, because a short that you can't show does no one any good.

Veronica Taylor

Hey Chris, Yes, I agree, I've seen no pay in shorts. But as a SAHM, freelance writer, the little they do pay would truly be appreciated. But, in time, when things are less hectic here, I'm going to work on a feature length screenplay. :-)

Lookman Film And TV

You should get a credit, perhaps something for your reel, some stills and a bit of publicity. It is up to you if you want to create your own publicity from it through a blog etc. . Blowing your own trumpet is not a bad thing to do.

Veronica Taylor

@Lookman Film and TV. That would be good. If blowing my trumpet will help, I'll blow til the cows come home. lol Want to be noticed and taken seriously, you know?

Brendan Thatcher

I'm just getting into filmmaking, and I'm in production of my first short. I picked to do a short because it seemed easier and cheaper to do- which means I won't be paying actors (mostly because there's and extremely limited budget, coming from my personal money). If I'm successful in my filmmaking endeavors, then when I make it big enough to make feature films, I'll have a budget. That's my opinion anyway.

Veronica Taylor

@Brendan Thatcher Hey Brendan. I can see your point. I guess the truth of the matter is that no matter who it is: producers, screenwriters, etc. it's hard getting started.But we all have the same goal, to do what we love, and hopefully make money at it. Good luck.

Melvin Johnson

I've been paid for a short, but like others here said it's mostly for a calling card to show what you're capable of as a writer. It was InkTip that got my first short sold and produced which led to other script options and writing assignments. Shorts are also good to use as a break. I wrote a comedy for fun as I normally do thrillers.

Lookman Film And TV

In an ideal world, it would be nice to pay crew and talent for participating in short production. The problem is: Where does the funding come from? Very few shorts are funded by public grants, etcetera. In most cases, they are funded by the individuals who make them. If the rule was that everyone be paid, then the industry would consist of a set of privileged individuals, entry would be restrictive and the quality would likely be lower. Currently, governments keep the film industry on life support to preserve linguistic and cultural traditions. We have recent technological improvements to thank for allowing greater participation.

Mark Ratering

Now you see why I'm forced to sell my body to strangers just for a couple of frames in the can !!1 I know someday I will look back .... when I'm standing there excepting my Oscar.... and praying the Penicillin will kick in ....... in time.

Lookman Film And TV

I must agree with Mark, whether writer, director, producer, crew or talent, we all share the same predicament. Even if there is no pay there are still bills to pay. Either by the producer, writer, director, etcetera. Shorts are not free and exhibition costs money as well. Ellis we should now have a discussion about how to get money back on-line or by distribution.

Lookman Film And TV

I presume distributors are interested in shorts 10 minutes or over?

Mark Ratering

it would be great if we started a shorts movie chan. Shorts all day every day!!!

Chris Keaton

It would be nice if there was a market for them...a paying market.

John Sharaf

My experience (going all the way back to UCLA Film School, is that Short Films are usually made to demonstrate skills of Directors, Camera People, Writers, Actors, etc. that otherwise don't a venue for expression. The fact that there's no pay and very little chance of "commercial" distribution is often a liberating factor in this genre and often leads to exceptional results! JMHO

Veronica Taylor

@Dan Guardino, I agree. How else can we show our work?

Veronica Taylor

@Chris Keaton, @John Sharaf, I agree, it's hard to get a foot in the door with shorts. Often, they are not taken, seriously, but they are a very important stepping stone, not only to show our writing style, but practice for the feature lengths--hopefully--to come.

Veronica Taylor

@Lookman Film and TV I agree with what you've said and I can see your point of view about funding etc., but as a struggling fictional writer/short screenplay writer, hope always beats, as my heart, eternally. But this hope, is the same for all--in the film/writing etc. industry. We all want acknowledgement, to see our baby--our project--come to fruition. :-)

Veronica Taylor

@Mark Ratering, Oh, no I hope I don't have to resort to selling my body for a short to make it. lol You had me giggling with that comment.

Veronica Taylor

@Melvin Johnson Congrats on your success on InkTip. That's exciting to hear that your shorts not only did well, but it brought you more assignments.:-) . I want to try submitting my shorts on there. Congrats again on your success. :-)

Lookman Film And TV

Yes, Veronica, I have put up money. Money I do not really have to fund my screen writing and other things. So many shorts and sometimes features are self funded. Say you have already made several shorts, you then have to make a feature. Where does the money come from? It comes out of your pocket and your collaborators. That is the way the industry runs for newbies and sometimes old-bees. If you make something back on DVD or streaming all the better. Nothing is guaranteed other than there are always more people to take your place.

Veronica Taylor

@Ellis Mernagh Congratulations on the success with your short! :-) I am so happy to hear that. I agree with you, I think anyone is happier--if paid--, even if sometimes it's just a token amount. Makes us feel like what we've done has value, is appreciated.Much luck with future shorts. :-)

Veronica Taylor

@Lookman Film and TV Unfortunately, we all have to put out money for things, to get ahead. Life's hard that way. And most times, things don't pan out, but life never has guarantees. And yes, there is always someone that can take our place. Again, that's life. Hang in there, okay?

Mark Ratering

I not old .... I not....... I'm not O.K. !!!

Mark Ratering

William sadly is correct. But lets believe that a t.v commercial can be a 29 second piece of art. That a short film can be crafted for arts sake... because after all ... we are artists first !

Lookman Film And TV

Some of the mobile cinemas do want for short films, especially for their more mature audience.

Mark Ratering

Yes shorts are like the equestrian events at the Olympics, if you got the money it's great entertainment !!! Advertising was so good to me. It taught me so much with equipment and directing before I got into making features.

Veronica Taylor

@Lookman FIlm and TV-How would one find out more about the mobile cinemas?

Veronica Taylor

@Mark Ratering I think that would be cool and all shorts channel. :-) I'm glad your making feature length films now. I'm trying to work up the courage to do that. :-)

Lookman Film And TV

There is one called Moveiola which serves the West Country. I think they said their was something called ICA ? when independent cinemas see screenings of films.

Veronica Taylor

@Ellis, That's cool. Are they looking for short screenplay writers there, or just showing the films?

Veronica Taylor

@ Lookman Film and TV, I'd love to look into that, it sounds really interesting. :-)

Veronica Taylor

@Ellis Mernagh, Man, I wish I could afford to go to something like that, but I couldn't afford to travel there. That's the bad thing about wanting to get into screenwriting, I am far way from movers and shakers. I am so happy that it helped you, would love to hear you advice anytime. :-)

Bruno Machado Gomes

I don't mind not being payed for my shorts. I write them because I love to create simple short stories. I have 3 short screenplays written so far and I have a few more ideas for a few more. My first 2 shorts are on production and one of them I was requested by the Director and Producer of it to turn it into a 90 pages feature screenplay and I'll be payed for that. What I want for my short screenplays is to get them produced and to get credit for writing them. The compensation that I want for writing my short screenplays is to get connected with Directors, Producers and people that can help me later on when I write my features. I also want the experience of writing and make changes to my screenplays to suit what the Director needs. For now I'm just really happy and anxious to see my first screenplay on screen.

Veronica Taylor

@Bruno Gomes I'm very glad to hear that one of your shorts is going to be made into a film. Congrats! I, like you, have written for many years, and many of my things have been given away for free. Just because I want some pay for them--the shorts--does not mean I don't write, if there's no pay there. I love the written word, and probably live more in the world of my characters, than in my own reality. I love writing that much. I want pay, because this is what I hope to do always, and I need money to help hubby out. But, I, too write, in hopes of finding a producer that will connect, and hopefully we can work on a feature length screenplay together.

Chris Keaton

Hell, I lost count of the number of short scripts I have. On top on no momentary reason to write shorts, the directors are always on some ridiculous time frame. So to increase your chances of success always have a handful of scripts for them to pick from.

Mark Ratering

Veronica I never know what a person's money is but produce your own shorts or share with a stage 32 person. In the old days impossible but now with Red and home editing "MAKE IT HAPPEN" !!!!!

Chris Keaton

Red? That's at least a $20k camera body if not more. How about a Canon 5D at $2-3K.

Mark Ratering

Got to go where you can rent. That's why I moved to Hollywood 35 years ago. Panavision for $250 a week.

Bruno Machado Gomes

@Veronica Taylor Like you I would love to turn this into a pay job but from what I've read and heard that's only possible if you write features and sell them. I don't think it is possible to make a career as a screenwriter writing only short screenplays. For what I've seen people looking for short screenplays to produce don't want to pay for it or don't want to pay much for it.

Chris Keaton

After reading the WGAw survey is seems impossible to make screenwriting a career.

Bruno Machado Gomes

@Chris Keaton you may be right.

Mark Ratering

have to make your own films

Mark Ratering

Where's that gun I know I put it somewhere?????

Veronica Taylor

Hey everyone, Thank you for your wonderful thoughts and advice on writing shorts. I do so know and agree with what was said on here, and yet I also disagree. We should never sell ourselves short not only as screenwriters, but any creative endeavor or dream we follow.. We are the creativity that makes a movie, commercial, radio skit, soap skit, TV show or documentary possible. So hard to get into, or not, people do, and without our creativity, our input there would not be some awesome things out there. I already know, from trying since last year, that there is little or no money writing shorts. And unfortunately, I cannot produce them myself. But I will take whatever pay there is, little or not, and be happy I got that, so that was never a problem for me,how much money was offered. But what I think each of us should do, as short screenplay writers--is not look at the impossible, not look at what might never be done, but what might be done. I don't intend to let negativity--from anyone that doesn't take us seriously, as screenwriters/fiction/novel writers, etc.(from whomever might feel free to make negative comments from any walk of life) short or feature--affect me. I think we should offer each other support, period. I do write fiction and I'm in my 4th semester of graphic design, so that was always something I planned to do too. But, I still intend to write short-or feature length, and I intend to keep on, whether I just sell one, or none at all. So here, here to us. Let's not look at what might not be possible, but what we each will do in our lifetimes. Write and sell, at least, one short or one feature length screenplay. And Mark, lol put that gun away, we need to use it as a prop in my short. :-)

Bruno Machado Gomes

@Veronica Taylor I agree with you 100%. Like I said before right now I'm very happy that 2 screenplays that I wrote are being filmed. My goal when I started writing was to get one screenplay turned into film. By the look of it I'll have 2 before the end of the year and if this is as far as my screenwriting career will go that's OK by me.

Veronica Taylor

@BrunoGomes, I am so happy for you. Again congratulations! Seeing this will always positively reinforce that each of our goals is possible. Have a great day and upcoming weekend. :-)

Veronica Taylor

@BrunoGomes, I am so happy for you. Again congratulations! Seeing this will always positively reinforce that each of our goals is possible. Have a great day and upcoming weekend. :-)

Bruno Machado Gomes

Thanks Veronica. A good weekend for you too.

Tshib'ls Kadima

it helps on building credits and shows how talented you are!

D.L. Payne

no one pays for shorts unless or until they are filmed and hit the festival circuit. once that happens, sundance channel, ifc, and the pay channels often buy them.

Veronica Taylor

@D.L. Payne Hey. I am glad to hear that is a possibility. :-)

Veronica Taylor

@Tshib'ls Kadima I agree. I am excited to say that one of my shorts may be made into a film for the film festival. I'm all for building my credits. :-)

Veronica Taylor

@Bruno Gomes, :-) Your welcome.

Valerie Michele Oliver

@Ellis - I think it's a great idea to have shorts shown prior to the feature in cinemas (like in Ireland). It was wonderful when the cinemas used to have double features too, and serial reels like Buck Rogers or The Lone Ranger. Here in the U.S., I never see short films played prior to the feature except in small indie cinemas. Perhaps it would attract more people to the theaters which are getting very expensive here. Of course with so many new distribution channels that are on-demand, short films that fit with theme in the feature film could be packaged with it. @Veronica - Thanks for the question! ~Val

Mark Ratering

There is a place for shorts, someone has to have the vision to see how great they are.

Veronica Taylor

@Valerie, Your very welcome. :-) @Mark Ratering I agree. For a short, can be just as intense in emotion, just as good. Just shorter. :-)

Chris Keaton

It appears there are people paying to show shorts. My short, 'The Devil's Toy' just got picked up by PopcornHorror.com, a smart phone app for watching short films.

Veronica Taylor

@Chris Keaton Oh, Chris. That's great news! Congrats! That exciting news. Shorts, I Feel, can be just as intense. Smaller, just as big a bang for the buck. :-)

Mark Ratering

Good job Chris

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