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Old August 2nd, 2006, 08:51 PM   #1
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Modesto (CA)
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Q:Is there any way to make a few bucks with a short video?

So lets pretend all the prerequisites are out of the way.

1. its good.
2. it looks good (although its not 35mm)
3. it sounds good.
4. the people that see it love it.

Problem is its only 9 min long, 10 min long etc.

What the heck does one do with a short like this? Where would the money come in from?

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Old August 2nd, 2006, 09:27 PM   #2
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Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Toronto, Canada
Posts: 4,750
A- Enter a contest with it. Although usually you have to make your short fit the contest requirements.

Equipment manufacturers may run little contests... Kodak, Avid, Chimera (dvinfo sponsor) have run contests before. I don't know what their eligibility is. There's also DVC Challenge (see the forum here), but your short won't be eligible for that.

B- I believe there is a very small market for shorts for things like airlines, Sundance channel, etc.

Possibly the way to find these distributors (if they exist?) is through film festivals.

There are places who will broadcast your short, but they probably won't pay reasonably.

C- If you self-distribute a DVD, you might make a little money there. i.e. They guys behind "Broken" did this with behind-the-scenes stuff.
I have no idea how much money they made... but if you somehow sold 300 units at $35 each, you might make $7,500? (assuming expenses are $10/unit). Actual profit margin may be higher, but your real problem is getting volume (lots of DVD sold; how will you market + advertise this effectively??).

D- Probably your best way to get something out of the project is using your short towards future projects.
-Demo reel
-Show it at film festivals, network with other people. Let them know what you do, they might think of you ("that guy who did that cool short") for one of their projects. Get your name out there.
-Get free labour, services, goods, money towards your next project (using your short as an example). Hey, other people's time = money.
-Getting grant money for your next project. i.e. art council grants.

Of the options above, you have to figure out which are worthwhile. It could be that none of them are worthwhile. A lot of these routes may be highly competitive. Sometimes, even if your application gets accepted (out of the 30 you sent in), the project still isn't that worthwhile since the budget is so small (a director's fee of $1,000 for two/three weeks of work may not be a great deal).

Variations on D may be your best route.

Usually, you want to think about profit before you finished shooting your project. Potential sources of profits:
-Self-distributing something more commercially viable. Some ideas: Documentaries for educational or corporate markets (i.e. motivational / inspirational stories), niche market videos (i.e. certain hobbies and interests, niche genres), etc.
-If you can somehow convince a corporation to put money towards a viral marketing video, then that would fund your film.

Or conversely, do films that cost very little money to make. For example, I could've shot something with virtual sets for <$50(0).
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