Short Sighted: Recognition – new Emmy awards.

“Our industry is aggressively, quickly, and creatively evolving the various ways episodic stories are told, Our Board of Governors felt that this expansion of short-form categories begins the process of ensuring that Emmy-worthy creativity will be rewarded, irrespective of format or platform.”  Bruce Rosenblum, Television Academy Chairman and CEO

Short form content on the web has never been recognised by the Television Academy but this year, things are set to change. The Primetime Emmy Awards have expanded their short form categories to further acknowledge the dramatic growth of the work by people in the creation of short form content.  They categorise short-form programmes to have episodes that are 15 minutes or less and the new categories cover a variety of genres including comedy/drama, animation, variety and nonfiction/reality. There is also a new award for Outstanding Actor/Actress in a short form series. 

“These category changes reflect the broader opportunities that emerging networks and distribution platforms … are seizing in choosing innovative formats that enable our television community to share stories in novel and entertaining ways,” Rosenblum said.

Although the award will not be presented during the telecast in September (it will be given a week earlier at the Creative Arts Emmy Awards) it is still a major coup for the short form.  They will be peer-voted awards which allow Youtubers and Internet shows to be seen as professional, legitimate forms of entertainment for all. There are already awards recognising the work in this area such as the Webbys and the Streamys (both open to public voting) but the Emmys inclusion of this category is a real signifier of the changing landscape of media. Youtube stars such as Tyler Oakley are already expanding into television and Netflix original series. Youtubers are becoming as important, arguably more important, than traditional stars and this recognition has a big impact because it means the Academy is actively interested in representing changes in the media landscape. Creator driven short form content is a major force because of its accessibility for young audiences.  

“While we like to say awards don’t matter or that we think our fans are the real award, this kind of external, institutionalized recognition always makes you proud and a little more ambitious. I think this will help people start to understand what makes a good short form series and what excellent talent looks like.”Kathleen Grace, Chief Creative Officer at New Form Digital



Who are shorts international?

‘You’re not going to make a living off of short films.’ was one of the first thing out of Chris Tidman’s mouth in front of a room full of aspiring short filmmakers. ‘they’re an investment you make in your next project.

Shorts International is a global independent short film distribution platform and Chris Tidman is their London based vice president of global acquisitions. His role is to oversee procurement for the Shorts International distribution catalogue. At the BAFTA short film masterclass he discussed’s relationship with the Academy, the anatomy of a Sale and his predictions for the future of short films.

Chris told us that Shorts.TV have a close relationship with the Oscars, releasing and providing theatrical distribution for the nominated short movies. ‘The films go into theaters shortly after nominations are announced, and are not released anywhere else except in theaters until a few days before the Oscars.’ 


From ‘World of Tomorrow’ (2015) : available on Netflix and to rent via Vimeo. 

Posting content to be viewed free online is generally frowned upon by festivals. Filmmakers are often faced with choosing between getting paid for their shorts, with the help of organisations like Shorts.TV or allowing the biggest possible audience to view their film. Chris weighed in on this saying : ‘the internet is problematic for broadcasters, once your short film is on the internet, it cannot be sold to but there are certain organisations we can’t dictate to…’ he went on to say that when Disney made their short black and white romantic cartoon, Paperman, free to view online in 2013 there was little could do. In turn every animated film up for the award followed suit causing real problems for the broadcasters. This year, however, none of the shorts have been made available online (legally) with the exception of World of Tomorrow (which is available on Netflix and to rent via Vimeo) meaning the exclusive theatrical release of the Oscars shorts lies in the hands of once again.



Chris said: ‘The recent growth in demand for short films has been unprecedented and Shorts.TV now has over 11 million subscribers. That’s a huge number of people interested in viewing high quality short films! The landscape of short film has changed, broadcasters who were once interested seem to have run away. I think this has something to do with Video on Demand, which has lowered the price of short films. This is not to say there isn’t hope for the short form. We have seen recently that short films are used as teasers for feature length films, and they’re being used to pilot tv series. First and foremost, shorts are a filmmakers calling card and a chance to find out who you are and what your style is as a filmmaker.’ 

Chris then went on to talk about how he sees the landscape of short film changing over the next 5-10 years. ‘I predict that shorts will go back into the hands of the broadcasters. On demand platforms already see the potential of the short form. Canal + have been offering €500-€1,000 per minute for a short. The audience is there and seems to be expending, it is in your hands to produce the quality content.’

‘Now is Good’

Ladies if you are going to watch this film, please remember to wear waterproof mascara because you are going to cry. There literally wasn’t a dry eye in the room, the film seemed to be punctuated with the loud sniffling noises of the man behind me tearing up throughout the film.  ‘Now is Good’ isn’t afraid to pull on your heartstrings and even if it was unashamedly cliche in parts, it managed to move every member of the audience in some way.

The film delves into the action straight away with Tessa, the film’s dying protagonist, and her best friend and partner in crime, Zoey, meeting some boys. We don’t know that Tessa is ill until the boy she is with pulls off her wig and her pixie short hair is exposed. After their encounter came one of my favourite parts of the film which was the title sequence. It was all hand-drawn and processed in 3d using after effects. It was visually stimulating and perfectly paired with an edgy remix of Lana Del Rey’s Blue Jeans, there was no way I wasn’t going to love it! A refreshing change from the typical dry credit sequences.

Dakota Fanning’s performance as Tessa was good, I was impressed that she was able to maintain a very convincing British accent throughout. The onscreen father and daughter relationship was heart wrenching as Paddy Considine’s character was constantly searching for a way to cure his daughter.

Although Tessa’s bucket list was toned down for the 12A audience we are still able to feel that Tessa is coming of age before it is too late. She gets arrested, takes drugs, goes skinny dipping and most importantly in the film, falls in love with her gorgeous next door neighbour Adam. Adam, is every girls dream; he’s cute, caring and completely head over heels for Tessa. Despite what Tessa’s father thinks, Adam is there for her in her last days,  making her his main priority. The couple go on an incredible journey together and the audience believe Tessa will die happy because she experienced such a great love.

There were a few things I didn’t like about the film however, the first being Zoey’s pregnancy. I felt it was unnecessary to the film’s storyline and it seemed to be more of a cheesy add on than a pivotal part of the film. The second thing is that although the film was very engaging it didn’t really veer away from the ideas similar films present. It would have been refreshing to see a new spin on the ‘bucket list’ film.

All in all, I would rate this film 7.5 out of 10.

An Update…

Over the summer I have been keeping myself busy with various new projects.


I have also been involved with the production of Poet Matt Windle’s second music video for his new track ‘Be The Day’ which will be launching later this month.  It was great working with Hayley, Rebecca, Matt and Felix again. Now I just cannot wait to see the final product.

The Telepresence team have also met to brainstorm about some minor changes we are going to make to the film. We have discussed using a voice over to lead the narrative through the film, it will give a deeper insight to the feelings and emotional change the protagonist experience throughout as well as reducing the number of scenes we need to rework.

Documentary Diary: Dreams of a Life

Taking the advice given to me during the Second Light Documentary Lab, I decided to watch Carol Morley’s Docudrama, ‘Dreams of a Life’.

The film tells the tale of Joyce Carol Vincent, a londoner who died in her bedsit and remained there for three years, undiscovered. It begins with interviews with her long-lost friends and colleagues that narrate the story or Joyce’s life as the filmmakers begin to piece together this woman’s untold story. It was revealed that she was beautiful, popular and had three sisters, it is mind-boggling how her death went unnoticed. The re-enactments are haunting and the documentary is incredibly thought-provoking.

Progress Post: Telepresence

Things are looking up, we have already cast and done the majority of the paperwork for our short film. All that is left to do is make the final script revisions and get them out to the actors to familiarise themselves with their roles.

The audition process was something new to us all however we were happy with the turn out and some very talented people applied to be part of the production. After the auditions we were able to slightly adjust the characters because we were able to visualise them better after putting a face to the name.

The final cast and the Kristal Vision letters giving the actors the news.

The story went through several re-writes to make it tighter and easier to understand  in a short period of time. The initial underlying message dissolved somewhat because it’s quite a large topic to explore in just 10 minutes but I am happy with the final result.

The first story board..

Now we just have to prepare for next week’s shoots.