Making It Big In Shorts by Kim Adelman (book review).

I should point out from the start that Kim Adelman’s book, ‘Making It Big In Shorts’, has nothing to do with school children. We are talking short films. These are 40 minutes or less, the latter being the operative word and you shouldn’t really think beyond 10-15 minutes worth without risking boring the audience and where less is more.

This is the third edition of this book, the earlier editions hitting on earlier times, updating as things have changed and grown. I thought of reviewing this book originally purely because of the number of times we’ve been approached about showing small films to be reviewed but reading here, its seen as a road in Hollywood for new directors and even writers and actors to show off their skills and market their talents at various festivals.

Adelman’s enthusiasm is infectious as she points out how small films can be made cheaply and what you need to do to get ahead. Showing you can do a small film on a tight limited or practically no budget will serve you in good stead and I was amazed at the small list of significant directors who came up this way. It’s also the means to be typecast so be careful of how you pick your subject matter. The kind of dedication shown here also draw the attention of the big studios always on the look-out for new talent. If you can win awards, then they pay for your next film short although that’s not always the reason for success.

Understanding how to market yourself as well as making all the right connections will undoubtedly serve you in good stead. It’s practically becoming a mini-studio where you have to do all the right decisions and knowing when you have to pay or exchange favours. The business end of finance and such is laid out in no uncertain terms so you learn something about budgeting as well.

To some extent, I wish Adelman had explored how this can be approached in other countries at least in terms of what competitions and festivals are available but I suspect the Internet can help with that. The essential guide to short film making tips is probably more world-wide so even if you just want to make a polished clip for YouTube, you will find some use here.

In many respects, this is a short read but those who make short films will ultimately use it as their bible and read it many times. This being the third edition should speak for itself.

GF Willmetts

December 2016

(pub: Michael Wiese Productions. 137 page illustrated small enlarged paperback. Price: $ 16.95 (US), £13.80 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-61593-256-6)

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