By the time you reach the editing process you might be worn out, low on cash, and even growing slightly sick of the film you’ve spent so much time getting off the ground. But you shouldn’t rush through this stage—especially to meet a festival submission deadline. Edit the film down, screen it for friends, and then cut it some more. Festivals only have a select number of slots available, so programming three great 10-minute shorts in a single slot is preferable to giving that space to one great 30-minute short. When it comes to features, a screener who’s powering through a film batch late at night will most likely not be excited to dive into your two-and-a-half-hour indie epic after already staring at their MacBook screen for hours. For screeners, there’s a unique joy in noticing that the next film in your queue is a zippy 75 minutes.
“Edit, edit, edit! So many films benefit from being shorter. It’s a detriment to fall in love with your film so much that you don’t want to cut anything. A story that’s told tightly and leaves the audience wanting more is much more attractive than too many details.”
“Keep the story as efficient as possible. Cut anything that doesn’t work
perfectly for you.” — Program Director
“The shorter, the better. We want to program as many films as possible and we can’t do that if your short is 45 minutes.” — Shorts Programmer