Welcome back everyone. We were absent last week, because we were busy while our short film festival took place last week. We look back at a succesful edition with many inspiring film progams, a VR program, many Q&A’s, discussions and so much more. This week we’ll look back to last week with our Short Shot Focus of this week Coke Habit, a film that was screened during our annual Industry Day last friday. 

Director of Coke Habit, Dan Covert, attended Go Short this year. He was invited to take part in a panel discussion on strategy and effect of putting your short film online. This panel was part of the annual Industry Day at Go Short, which traditionally takes place on the Friday of the festival.

Alongside Dan, also Meghan Oretsky (one of the curators of Vimeo Staff Picks and jury member for the European competition at Go Short 2018) and Derry O’Brien (sales agent and short film distributor at Network Ireland Television) were part of the panel. The session kicked off with the screening of Coke Habit and a case study of the development and the online distribution strategy of the film. Dan, who is the managing director of the New York based production company Dress Code, mentioned that the film was originally planned to be a little side project. Since the company usually produces mostly commercials of a live-action or documentary kind, this first-time animation was aimed to challenge their creativity. The project took multiple years to develop and exceeded the initial budget big time.

When it was almost finished, Dan showed it at a filmmakers network event in New York City, where Meghan was also present. She approached Dan to launch his film on Vimeo as a Staff Picks Premiere. As such it generated a lot of traffic to the film in its first weeks, accomplishing the goal of the films strategy: to attract new potential clients to Dan’s business.

Brands want to see independent work. They are not interested in other advertisements you have done. That’s boring.

From a sales perspective Derry countered the point of view of Dan. As a renowned distributor of an extensive catalogue of shorts, he argued that putting your short film online for free, decreases your chances of a successful festival run and potential sales to for example airline companies and television stations. One of the things Derry specializes in, is getting short films in the race for the Oscars. Multiple films that Derry distributes have been nominated for and awarded with the prestigious Academy Awards. The latest example of this being The Silent Child, which won the Oscar for best short film this year. If you’re a filmmaker, not working in the advertising industry, the exclusivity of your film is something you should be careful with, Derry argued. Recognition, success and awards are harder to come by, when your film has been online and available for all, since its launch.

Proof of the fact that both strategies aren’t as opposing as they might seem (the discussion got heated at certain points), came from the audience. Job Opprins, one of the directors of the Dutch animation studio Job, Joris en Marieke, rounded up the session with the example of their film A Single Life. First the film went on a festival tour and got nominated for an Oscar. After two years the film was put online, got picked up by Vimeo Staff Picks and actually got a second life, generating attention for the work of the animators.

What do you think? Should we be careful with putting our films online or should we embrace online distribution more? Don’t forget to watch this week’s short film and hopefully we have provided you in this blog with some food for thought as well, food for thought that is very useful for Short Shot as well.