Indie Directors Could Turn Their Short Films Into A Feature

Posted on: 29 May 2019


Creating short films serves as an excellent way to showcase talents. A short film reveals insights into a director's overall abilities and doesn't come with feature film budget or complex production requirements. Short movies can be filmed within a weekend, allowing part-time directors to return to their full-time jobs afterward. After shooting several short films, the possibility exists to edit them into a single feature film. The eventually completed anthology adds something helpful to a portfolio: a finished full-length film.

The Seamless Anthology

Putting the short films together into one 90-minute or so feature shouldn't rely on a dull approach. Inserting titles between each short comes off as lazy. Look at the old and forgotten Stephen King film Cat's Eye. Three short films appear one after the other with no connecting sequences. The presentation hardly inspires. Compare this approach to the King anthology Creepshow in which a comic book come to life framed everything. The Creepshow approach gives audiences the impression it's a film.

Linking and Framing Connected Themes

Anthology films work best when a theme or genre connects them. A director who already produced two short crime films could produce one or two more crime films; the genre issue isn't a problem. With a crime, a sci-fi, and a romance short already finished, however, the director must use a logical framing method. Directors commonly follow similar themes through their works. One genre may make the theme's presentation more subtle than another would. As long as the similarities exist, use a thoughtful framing to link them. For example, if themes focus on lingering guilt, group therapy sequences could connect things. Call the lead actors back to shoot the group therapy session, and you are on your way to a feature film.

The Alternative Feature Approach

The chapter-play anthology concept might not appeal to every independent film director. Another option exists. Follow the Tarantino strategy of weaving several stories into one overarching narrative. The shorts may contain separate plots, but they figure into the main plot of an overall film. Yes, this is a complicated approach, but it could impress audiences when done right. Obviously, this method works best when planned in advance. Attempting to put together a new film from three or more finished shorts could prove disjointed.

A New Film Festival Life

Depending on the rules of a particular film festival, directors could enter the new feature once the shorts "play out" on the festival circuit. Doing so could create another pathway for exposure, something beneficial to all new directors.

For more ideas, consider chatting with other independent short film directors.