In the era of commercial successes and watertight award show categories, it may feel like short films don’t have much of a place in the grander scheme of things. That couldn’t be farther from the truth. Gone are the days when short films enjoyed a few days of hype and then made it to popular platforms for free viewing. Today, film producers can make money from online short film distribution, so long as they have the right platform for it.
For those who looking for how to sell short films online, this guide lays down the essential steps that, when followed through diligently, make a short film a way of making money and entertaining the masses.
The Essentials Tips to Distribute & Sell Short Films Online
To release & sell your short films in India, follow these tips & tactics to reach the potential audience & get better revenues.
Tip #1: Find your Purpose and Audience
The rules and guidelines for short films are not limited to those of feature films, so there is the freedom to experiment. However, that freedom is a double-edged sword– short films come in many styles and tones, but not all of them are sellable. Home videos and thoughtful documentaries both classify as short films, yet the former may not sell to a wider audience while the latter might. Here, the paradox of too much choice comes into play– short filmmakers have virtually no boundaries and aren’t restricted to an audience, so what they create may not be relatable.
This is why it’s important to have a purpose and a selected target audience when envisioning a short film, let alone making it. A clear vision for the future of your short film is critical to the success of your short film distribution strategy & plan. If you want to make some money or even garner profits from your short film, you’ll want to pick a genre, topic and audience that is most likely to pay.
Tip #2: Prepare a Budget Estimate
It’s challenging to come up with a budget for a short film, but they usually wind up being much smaller than those of an average feature-length film. In fact, some zero-budget films that were sent to short film distributors in India and abroad ended up sweeping box office records and racking up a cult following. This goes to show that you don’t need a massive budget to appeal to the masses, not if your film has everything else it needs to become a hit.
That said, a lot of amateur short filmmakers like to start with some sort of budget, given that they would have next to no equipment or props. To begin with, filmmakers can consider Distribution costs, Software subscriptions (such as editing software), Hardware costs (lights, laptops, cameras), Costume and set budgets, Advertising costs, and Cost for short film platforms.
Tip #3: Submit to Film Festivals
When your film is ready, it’s time to hit the film festivals. Film festivals attract a different sort of crowd than commercial films do, and with them, come critics, reviewers, and short film aficionados. Any positive response from any of these watchers can morph into fundings, rights purchases and even signing into entertainment companies.
Film festivals also grant you access to other filmmakers so that you can scope out your competition or identify potential future collaborations. It’s a great playground to see how your film fares against others, and what kind of films the audiences like. Depending on your film type and topic, there are scores of film festivals to apply to. The world-renowned ones, like Cannes Film Festival and Raindance Film festival, see hundreds of applications each year.
Tip #4: Get Your Film Noticed on Social Media
The power of social media allows you to use a free account and loyal followers to promote your film without any money. You want to get the masses interested from the very beginning, so they’re more likely to turn up for the premiere or spread the word about your film.
Social media is also rife with networks of filmmakers, directors, producers, and critics. Catch any of their eyes and you may well find your film being shown in some of the most prestigious platforms. Even if you don’t intend to put your film on the big screen, social media can be of help. If you’re hosting your film on one of the popular short film platforms in India, you can leverage social media to hype up the film and direct traffic. It’s also a great place to gauge audience reactions without too much pressure.
Tip #5: Build Your Audience
Over time, you’ll find that you will need to understand your potential audience inside and out to be able to position your film effectively and distribute short films online. Building audiences is key for rookie filmmakers– it’s this loyal following that will take you to your next premiere, your next festival, even your next award. Loyal audiences hold your work to certain esteem and help you establish a brand name and a niche for yourself in the content industry.
It can be quite difficult to build up an audience– unless you follow the previous tips. All of these are gateways to more and more followers – not in the ‘trendy’ sense of the word but in the more loyal, understanding manner. Finally, your audience is proof to agents and producers that your work has opened minds, broke hearts and, generally, hit the mark very well.
Tip #6: Find the Right Distribution Platform
The right short film distribution platform may well make or break all the hard work you’ve put in over the last few weeks or months. YouTube and Vimeo are quite popular, but your film might be buried under other, more popular, YouTubers. You can’t rely on algorithms to recommend your film, either, so making it to the YouTube home page of thousands of people has a very slim chance of happening.
Short film distribution platforms in India, however, are a boon to first-time or professional filmmakers looking to host their work and gain traction. This is especially so in times like these, where people are more glued to their laptops and TVs than ever before. You’ll want to pick a leading Short film distribution platform to distribute your film because you’ll get proportionate revenues and success. GudSho, for example, allows for multiple monetization channels and lets even zero-budget filmmakers upload their films for free.
Online Short film distribution is no easy task, but it has been made more accessible and affordable by platforms such as GudSho. Selling short films online is the future; jump in on it today to make it big.
Want a trustworthy digital OTT platform to upload & release your short film and rake in the big bucks? GudSho can help you with the multiple features.