With the growing popularity of the internet and the introduction of sites like youtube and vimeo there is now a much greater distribution for all short films. Many would argue that this introduction has only cheapened the medium, my contention however, is that the ability to distribute a short from and to just about anywhere on the planet can only benefit the medium of short films.
There is a certain level of anonymity that comes with the ease of accessibility. Those who have the best or any access to things like short films through youtube or any other streaming site tend to alienate and sera gate themselves from those who don’t. That being said the same accessibility has left sites like these bogged down with constant barrages of amateur video makers claiming that they have made short films. In many regards, there are individuals who do in fact use this medium to truly self distribute their work, after making something truly self produced and distributed. In those regards the internet has greatly helped the medium, in the same breath however one could argue that with that barrage of amatures and stolen videos that the industry is being made a mockery of. It is almost to accessible when devices are made specifically to shoot no more than five minutes of video that will immediately upload to youtube. There is a definite cause and effect that has taken place as a result of these resent technological advances but is it really good or bad?
I will go with the latter on this topic and say that it is in fact good for the industry. The now defunct Flip Video camera’s that were designed specifically to upload videos directly to youtube or vimeo, and with that came the onslaught of every inside joke ever told being filmed and placed in very public forums. There has also been a massive fluxuation in the number of videos that have actually been good. There are internet phenomenon’s that have borrowed from pop culture and made farces of various levels of this medium, but there have also been very successful and stirring works that have been brought to the world because of the internet.
As previously mention, the Flip video camera is now defunct, but before production ceased they started a short film festival to get more content and marketing for their video recording/uploading device. It is my contention that this was a fairly clever marketing strategy that proved both the power and interest in the medium/device but also that one can produce something “professional” on a camera like this.
There have been countless additions to the film festival circuit thanks to the accessibility of videos now. The medium of short film is changing rapidly and with it new ideas and challenges for film makers have been presenting themselves. There is now a five, ten, fifteen, thirty, and two second short film festivals. Can they really be called short films in that span of time? I will again say yes. All that having this time limit placed on short film makers has done is prove that the medium of short film has validity at any span of time. Having what most would call bizarre or a misrepresentation of the medium such as these second long short films is just the kind of new thinking that is keeping the public interested in short films.
It is a very fast paced lifestyle that most people live and no one has a very long attention span anymore, so, theoretically, these second long short film contests are the perfect length of time for the common internet video viewing public. Not only that, but the simple fact that film makers have been challenged in such a way to develop a narrative and strive for some kind of connectivity with their audience in only five seconds is a true challenge, but is both a learning tool and wonderful artistic challenge. There have also been video magazines developed on the internet as well various sites that are designed to connect short film makers to investors and each other. All that has truly happened as a result of the internet is that that it is now much easier to get recognized as a film maker. Though it may not seem it with the billions and billions of videos on the internet now one could say that the best shorts could easily be lost in the preverbal piles, I however believe that it has only made the better works more noticeable to the public.
Opinion is still paramount in the short film industry and more than ever opinion can change and effect reactions to the directors work. That being said the market for the more absurdist shorts has greatly increased, again due to the accessibility. It would seem that thanks to the internet there is now literally a market for everyone to view any kind of product they would find interested in, as well as being able to globally distribute said product. Will the internet be the downfall of the short film industry, it is very unlikely, much like how videos killed the radio stars, the internet will blend and change as short films will blend and change to meet the new technological advances and public desire for fast, easy, entertainment.