Submit your film to Short of the Week and join the next generation of innovative storytellers. For less than the cost of a typical festival submission, we guarantee that your film will be viewed and done so in a timely fashion with feedback from a SOTW editor. Before you submit please read the Frequently Asked Questions section below in its entirety.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why Go Online?
We asked ourselves the same question before we launched our own film online, The Thomas Beale Cipher, that went on to earn over half-a-million views, articles from top publishers (Wired, The Atlantic, Gizmodo) and draw the attention of studios and talent agencies. Since then, we’ve helped hundreds of filmmakers find audiences of millions around the world and kickstart their careers as successful indie filmmakers or Hollywood upstarts. We believe the next generation of storytellers will come from online.—How We Launched Our Film Online
What Do You Look for in a Film?
Quite simply, we look for great stories. After years of watching thousands of online shorts, we’ve found that great shorts share four qualities: Relevant, Unique, Emotional, and Entertaining. We’re not looking for “good” films, we’re looking for “great” ones, across any genre or budget-level.— Greatness—Why Good Isn’t Good Enough.
Can you be more specific?
The films we select focus on story. As such, please think twice before submitting that special effects driven teaser trailer, your latest backyard comedy sketch, or that glossy music video with tons of lens flares. Flashy visuals are not enough to be featured on Short of the Week. We look for innovative stories that build interesting new characters, tell a new type of narrative, or use new techniques to create an aesthetic or interactive experience the world hasn’t seen before.
What type of films don’t tend to work on Short of the Week?
That’s a difficult question to answer, as really, every film is different and we don’t wish to stifle creativity by placing rigid guidelines on the films we accept. For instance, we do feature experimental work, however, it must reach for a higher bar to really strike a chord with our audience. Along those lines, the following tend to fall short of reaching the unique combination of innovation and storytelling that we look for:
- One-joke comedy sketches
- Music videos without a narrative
- Films driven solely by special effects (we’ve watched the same Video Copilot tutorials as you)
- Long, slow-moving films
- Corporate or company promotional pieces
Is there a maximum length?
No. However, it’s important to know your medium. When it comes to length online, shorter is generally better. Long shorts (those over 15 minutes) should maintain a compelling pace and use that time wisely to tell story and build character. Remember, the small screen is less immersive, so long, slow dramatic shorts don’t play as well online as they may have on the big screen. A solid general rule: the longer your short, the better it needs to be.
Does that mean my 28-minute film doesn’t have a shot?
Not necessarily, but it will be fighting an uphill battle. Online audiences have less patience for a story to develop than those in a theater. We’ve found that most “long shorts” sent to us could be trimmed significantly.
So, is there a minimum length?
Not at all! The beauty of the short format is that you can tell complex narratives using bite-sized runtimes. However, there’s a big difference between a concept and a story. We’re looking for the latter—an engaging experience that keeps you invested from start to finish and isn’t solely dependent on a single trope or gimmick. Essentially, there has to be enough “there” to warrant a write-up and critical analysis on our site. Ask yourself the following: is my story doing something new? Is it emotionally engaging? Are there interesting characters? Is there a plot? If the piece is simply your friends shooting off fireworks to Sigur Ros, you’re probably in the “concept” corner.
Will releasing my film online hurt my chances at film festivals?
This is probably the biggest scare for filmmakers (it was ours, too). So we did the research and found that over 66% of film festivals will accept online films. And with heavyweights like Sundance and SXSW joining the list, this is clearly a growing trend. Take a look at this list to see if the festivals you’re considering are “online friendly”. — Essential List of Festival Eligibility
Does it matter when my film was completed or released?
No. We don’t take the age or release status of the film into consideration when looking for work to feature. As mentioned, we look for great storytelling, and we usually find that if a film contains this, it doesn’t matter when it was made.
Do I need to have rights to the music used in my film?
Yes. In fact, you need to have the rights to all the content contained within your film (both audio and video). So, that means if you are using music that you do not have explicit rights to use, we will not accept your film.
What am I paying for?
As with most top tier festivals, we receive so many submissions that we cannot view them all. Your premium submission payment ensures that your film will be viewed by a SOTW curator who takes the time to watch the submission and provide critical commentary. Most festivals reject films without providing any sort of feedback. We’re interested in helping all filmmakers learn and grow, so for less than the cost of a typical festival submission, you can receive helpful notes about your film (both positive and negative).
If I’m not accepted, is my premium submission fee refunded?
No. You’re paying for our time, not guaranteed acceptance.
I made a mistake or changed my mind about submitting. Is there a way for me to get a refund?
No. Unfortunately there’s no easy way for us to refund payments. Please make absolutely sure this is what you want before submitting.
My film was accepted to the best film festivals. That means it’s guaranteed to be accepted at Short of the Week, right?
No. Laurels are nice, but they don’t necessarily translate to a great online viewing experience.
Is Short of the Week affiliated with Vimeo?
No. We operate independently. In full disclosure, co-founder and editor, Jason Sondhi, is an employee of Vimeo. However, all curatorial and editorial decisions are made independently.
If I’m accepted to Short of the Week, will I be staff-picked on Vimeo?
No. We have no affiliation with Vimeo. While there is certainly overlap between the films we feature and those selected by Vimeo and other film curation sites, we operate under completely independent curatorial guidelines.
If I’m accepted, can Short of the Week guarantee that my film will go viral?
No. No one can guarantee that your film will go viral. If anyone tells you differently, they’re probably lying. At Short of the Week, viral is not our goal—in general, few short films ever really go viral. We seek to highlight great, innovative short films regardless of audience size.
I still have more questions!
Send us a mail and we’ll do our best to answer them for you.
Words from Filmmakers
Joseph Pierce (A Family Portrait)
“Launching A Family Portrait online exceeded the buzz of it’s physical premiere (at a packed theatre at the London Film Festival). With SotW expertise and focus it was exhilarating to see the snowball effect an appreciated piece of work can enjoy. To receive personal emails and comments on boards about your work from professionals and those just enthusiastic about film was humbling. Short of the Week is fast becoming the ‘go to’ place for all things short on the web or not. I was shocked at their knowledge of the British animation scene, no matter how independent a short may be. It’s helped me generate a tangible audience (my twitter followers rocketed after) which is immeasurable, especially in this climate where arts and short form film is financially massively under-supported. I am about to finish a new short and it now feels I have an audience to market it to, a people genuinely excited about what I may do next. This is down to the online launch and it’s success is hugely down to SotW!!!”
Christopher Kezelos (Zero)
“I tried launching Zero online by simply uploading it to YouTube. It went largely unnoticed and after several weeks had received only a few thousand views. Thanks to a more focused launch strategy by Short of the Week, Zero went viral in a few days and has since seen well over half a million views. Due to this success, I’ve signed with an agent and manager and am working with them towards getting a feature off the ground. I have SOTW to thank for their knowledge and support.”