BIFF 10: Day 7

Last night I sat through 102 Minutes of Shorts. I say “sat through” because it was amazing to me, someone who makes his living within the constraints of five or so minute-scenes at The Second City, that so few of these films actually worked.

Here’s the YouTube trailer for Jokers are Trumps, a made-in-Bermuda short and (therefore somewhat obviously) crowd favourite. It’s basically a home movie, and I mean that in the best possible way — a testament to the power of digital filmmaking, able to speak to a very specific audience in a way that no mass market Hollywood film ever could.

One thing, though… One of the end credits read “Shot on Location in Bermuda and Toronto”, and I’m pretty sure this got hisses from the audience. What’s that about?

The other big success for me was t.o.m., a simple and absolutely ridiculous idea for a story, and I mean that in the best possible way.

The rest of the films suffered from at least one of the following symptoms:

  1. Poor acting
  2. Bad direction
  3. Trying to cram a feature-length idea into a short

Maybe I’m biased because the short I submitted to the festival a few years back never made it in, but the lesson to be learned here is this: Shooting something in 70mm widescreen doesn’t automatically make it good, whether it’s a short or a feature!


About Andrew

Mobile phones, Linux and copyright reform. Those go together, right?
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2 Responses to BIFF 10: Day 7

  1. Ed Miller says:


    I’ve been working on scripts for shorts since last fall, for a self-produced DVD, internet, festivals, etc. There are a few books out there on making shorts, good and bad, is the best means of learning (alas, poor Second Cine — you are still missed).

    I’ve been watching Channel 101 and Channel 102 videos recently (YouTube has too much crap to sort through), and you can see some stellar no-budget work and some less-than-stellar work. Your three symptoms are perfectly valid for all the mediocre shorts I’ve seen, and I’ve come to appreciate that intensive preproduction is necessary if you don’t want to end up with 1 or more of the symptoms.
    there is often a disconnect between the idea for the story and the execution in the script, as well as the acting and directing –you could add that as a fourth symptom, I think.



  2. AC says:

    Hey Ed, my advice for that disconnect is to trash the script — Bernardo Bertolucci never shot with anything more than a treatment, and I’ve always thought it a bit weird to plan something in the visual medium by starting with the printed word.

    P.S. Good luck with the shorts!

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