Short films: An underrated medium of art

I am willing to bet that the last film you watched was not an overly artistic short film chock-full of symbols and hidden meanings.

For most of the American population, big budget movies are the extent of cinematic art that people are willing to watch. While I enjoy Star Wars: The Force Awakens just as much as the next guy, I think that short films have some overlooked merit, and the genre deserves a little bit more of an acknowledgement.

I think there is a common misconception about short films that they are overly artistic, and “try too hard” when it comes to conveying a message or meaning. Short films are a niche interest for those who love not only the magic of movie making, but also the writing portion of movies. While big budget films such as the Star Wars films or the entire Marvel cinematic universe are fantastic movies in their respective genres, I don’t think these movies bring anything new to the table.

They follow the same three act structure that has worked for decades, because they know it will make money. The majority of short films do not have big organizations (i.e Universal, Disney, FOX, etc.) looking to make money. Short films are typically a small team of creators with a relatively small budget, and that is what makes them so special. Limitations allow for outside of the box thinking, and that is when something truly creative and original comes out.

Another aspect that I particularly enjoy about short films, is the ability to say so much, with still saying very little. Naturally, as the name suggests short films are shorter than feature length films. It is much tougher to convey a certain message or theme in a shorter amount of time. Some films however, make a stylistic choice to not say anything at all, and let the cinematography speak for itself. With this technique, certain shots and scenes can create emotions that may have been ruined with dialogue. It is true that sometimes less, is more.

Not to mention that short films are a starting point. You will never meet a director who jumped right into making feature films. Every director, and nearly everyone in the business of making movies starts out doing short films. In many cases, short films are the training wheels for actors, directors and cinematographers before they can ride the real bike by themselves.

In Short, short films really are a crucial part of the entertainment industry, and it is sad that many don’t get the same recognition that big budget films do- even when they aren’t so good. So, I leave you with this, the next time you’re watching Disney+ or scrolling through YouTube, don’t be afraid to search up a short film, because you just might like it.

Check out this gallery of some of my favorite short films