Apparently, it can be argued that short films are old school. According to Australian Film Television and Radio School lecturer Mike Jones on nofilmschool.com, traditions are changing and it’s better for aspiring filmmakers to create web series instead of short films.
Short films showcase the talent of the production crew behind them. In the case of student films, it’s usually one person who writes, directs, and edits, but this doesn’t always have to be the case. It’s a great learning experience in how to make a film, since you have to create a budget and stick to it, as well as come up with the resources to actually film. It’s something that someone can put on their resumé and show people what they can do when crammed for time and money, which can demonstrate that they do know what goes into the production of a movie.
However, Mike Jones argues that short films fail in being a learning experience or even a calling card. It fails as a learning experience, he says, because you only learn about making short films and not features. He also says that short film fails as a calling card because it doesn’t demonstrate character arcs or narrative structure. He also says that web series fulfills both learning experience and serving as a calling card because they cost no more budget wise than short film, can find a larger audience, and demonstrates character arcs and narrative structure.
I wouldn’t say that the short film is dead, or that Mike Jones is completely correct. Web series are episodic; movies are not. A short film does at least have the benefit of demonstrating that you can tell a complete story in an alloted time period. Web series, much like television series, can last seasons. I believe web series can be more beneficial if one wishes to work in television. However, it is always a good thing to be able to demonstrate versitality. While a web series can get you a larger audience and thus more attention, so can a good short film – after all, director Shane Acker’s 2009 film 9 was based on his own short film. You should create a web series to show that you can sustain things such as character arcs and narrative structure, but also have the short film to show that you can tie up a story in a set amount of time. Working on both a web series and a short film can be an invaluable experience that can help the emerging filmmaker.
Mike Jones, “The Short Film is Dead: Time for the Emerging Filmmaker to Get a New Calling Card”. nofilmschool.com