Short Films; Maximum Impact

In the independent world of filmmaking, budgets are tight, crews are small, and time is of the essence. Anyone can get out and make a short film if they have a camera, some talent, and a few nice looking locations. But who wants to just make a short that gets no notoriety? In the film business of making shorts it’s important to take proper steps in making your short so that it can have a maximum impact that could get a feature into the making.

Lets discuss a film that was a short to begin with, but later had so much impact that it was made into a feature. Saw (2004) was made on a $2,000 budget, and was shot in just one week. This film managed to get so many views and hype behind it through film festivals that within a years time the feature was released. Director James Wan says its important to be passionate about your films creation and the ideas put into it, had he not been this project may not have appealed to the people it did. The style needs to feel expressive of the story being told. In the short film Saw (2003), they recreated their own personal nightmare with a tension that is contagious to anyone who views it. The feature was made only one year later and went on to make $103,880,027 worldwide. This feature went on to create 6 sequels, and became a worldwide phenomenon going on to gross $878,139,093 and that’s not including DVD or Video sales.

Saw Franchise

With a success like mentioned above, short films of its kind are making their way into features more often. Another famous short by the name of “Lights Out”, which in its true short form is only 2:42 in length and was created back in 2013.The short, went viral, and James Wan saw it and contacted the Director David F. Sandberg. This short has now been made into a feature by the same title ‘Lights Out’ that will be released worldwide on July 22, 2016.

Lights Out Feature Screengrab

These films had so much impact due to their creators having relentless passion, and a determination to get the job done. They were focused on being able to appeal to their crowds by creating shorts that they wanted to watch themselves.

Saw (Short):

Lights Out (Short):

Articles on Saw and Lights Out Creations:

Interview with James Wan and Leigh Whannell

How the 3-minute Short ‘Lights Out’ became a Hollywood Feature

Written By: Kierra Colston & Blake Heffelfinger




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