September 2013 screening preview

We have an exciting series of screenings lined up for you tomorrow night, and we wanted to give you a little preview of what’s in store. We asked some of the filmmakers a few questions to gain a little insight into their thoughts on filmmaking, and here’s what they said:

PSFN: Why do you make short films? What can a short do that a feature can’t?

Frame from New England Blood

New England Blood

Dylan Ladds and Ryan Scura (New England Blood):

We make short films because we love making videos and short films are a great way to experiment with different ideas, techniques, and methods of storytelling. You can invest months and months into creating a three minute video, but you can also loosen up and make a short film in a day to keep yourself fresh and try something new. It is exciting to see the incredible variety of short films being created today. For our situation in particular, we are working on a larger feature film about New Hampshire surfers and making short films helps us familiarize ourselves with all of our footage, helps us keep people interested in our project, and lets us experiment with techniques we are using for our feature.

Off to the Races poster

Off to the Races

Megan Lovallo (Off to the Races):

I make short films because I believe they allow filmmakers to to focus on the bare essentials of a story. It allows the filmmaker to hone the craft and make mistakes, learn what works well and what rules can be broken. Short films are accessible in so many ways–easier most of the time to make than features because of time and budget, and they are also able to portray a simple story or idea in a cohesive way.

Jim Sass (Prince of Pixel Tower):

One of the best aspects of making short films is the challenge of telling a story and connecting with an audience in a limited amount of time. Shorts have the advantage over features of being more shareable, especially thanks to mobile devices so it’s a very exciting time for short films.

Frame from This is Ben

This is Ben

Pam Severns (This is Ben):

I mostly create short films because most of my current ideas are situation- or character-based comedy and often come in the form of sketches. I have a few ideas for feature length films, but I think I’m just getting my feet wet making sketch videos and shorts for now. I’d rather not risk compromising the quality of a longer film due to lack of experience or budget and stick to doing the best work I can, even if it’s only 30 seconds long. And shorts are really great if you’re working with a puppet that doesn’t speak!

PSFN: Does the changing way we consume media affect your filmmaking and distribution? How?

Dylan Ladds and Ryan Scura  (New England Blood):

The way we all consume online media has certainly influenced the way we make our videos. It has pushed us to be more concise with our videos; we try to keep everything around 3 minutes. It also has pushed us to be more active on social media, which has encouraged us to publish more photographs and produce more videos. While short attention spans can be frustrating, it is also helpful to push ourselves to make shorter videos because it really makes you evaluate what is essential to your story and why you are telling it the way you are. In terms of distribution, so far, we have published all of our videos online for free. We never expected to be making money from this project and, right now, we are just thankful that it is so easy to make our videos available to such a large audience.

Megan Lovallo (Off to the Races):

I wouldn’t say the way we consume media affects the way I make a film or how I approach a story, but I do think the distribution factor does. It’s never been easier to be a filmmaker in America today; the beauty is that anyone and everyone can make a film and put it online. But that’s also its downfall–there are so many ways to get your piece out there and there is just so much content, so it’s easy to get lost in the shuffle.

Frame from Prince of Pixel

Prince of Pixel Tower

Jim Sass (Prince of Pixel Tower):

There are so many avenues for media on the Internet; even creating a YouTube video is different than creating a Vimeo video. The emphasis on shorter and stickier content can have a big effect, as well.

Pam Severns (This is Ben):

Of course! Everything is digital now, and anyone can share their work on any number of video sites. Which is both good and bad. It makes my work more accessible and I’m able to share it with a wider audience, potential producers, collaborators, or employers. But there’s more to compete with which makes it hard to stand out.

There will be more of a chance to hear from the filmmakers tomorrow night, when they will be on hand to answer your questions and listen to your comments. The screening starts at 7.30pm in the Strawbery Banke visitors’ center, so make sure you come early enough to grab some food from White Apron and a good seat. See you then!

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