‘Long Story Short’ program launches third edition of exposure for up and coming filmmakers

Courtesy+of+Kickstarter

Courtesy of Kickstarter

By Karissa Schaefer, Emerson Los Angeles Bureau Chief

Drawing success from its short film category that’s seen more than 7,000 shorts, Kickstarter’s third annual month-long celebration Long Story Short brings creative stories to fruition and helps artists financially support their projects. 

The film company previously had 159 projects each year, garnering $1.8 million pledges in 2021 and $1.2 million in 2020. According to Senior Director of Film Elise McCave, March is an ideal month for film promotion due to the following spring weather being the best possible time for filming. Noticing what time of year typically accumulates attention on the site, this also allows for college students to submit any final thesis projects they may have.

Coming from a background of documentary and film, McCave uses her experiences to focus on curating a community of filmmakers at Kickstarter and working with them day to day. The crowdfunding site is always thinking of innovative ways to promote fundraising campaigns. Kickstarter’s main goal is to facilitate connections between filmmakers and their projects. 

“I’m a primary interface between the film community and the platform,” McCave said. “We’ll help folks think about fundraising strategy: Where does crowdfunding fit into that? Where does the rest of the budget come from? Who might we be able to connect you with? That’s to help you to reach the rest of your budget needs for film productions.”

Kickstarter has 15 broad categories for all creative works such as music, publishing, games, design, technology, and more. McCave works with filmmakers by heading in all types of different directions, whether it’s a short, feature, a VR piece, or restoring a local theater. All creators collaborating with the platform have an original idea they are seeking support for. 

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“The basic principle is that we’re bringing people to the platform to pledge in exchange for some kind of incentive for some kind of reward,” McCave said. “That could be a link to see the film, the opportunity to walk on set, [or] some kind of gadget. What our creators offer in exchange for those pledges are really varied.”

The brand is committed to showcasing a wide array of diverse, upcoming artist voices. Filmmakers are from all over the globe, many met when traveling to various film festivals, which became easier to be present for online due to the pandemic. Other methods of contact include going through other film organizations, partners, and referrals.

“It’s important to us that we feel that the films that are on Kickstarter, especially the films we are actively promoting, really represent the breath of society and community, in the U.S. and beyond,” McCave said. “Hearing stories, getting a window into stories I might not have heard before or someone else might not have heard before, and that we’re supporting folks who maybe have not had the opportunity to tell their story before.”

Long Story Short grew from a love of short film, no matter what stage of production, distribution, or viewing. Compared to feature-length, shorts are an easier way for filmmakers to gain entry into the entertainment world, as well as allowing them to branch out with fresh ideas, forms, and genres. Shorts is the brand’s most notable subcategory from the site, accumulating the most money and having the largest amount of successful projects. 

“It’s an area where people come into film at the early stage of their career, but it’s also a really nice opportunity for more experienced filmmakers to experiment, innovate, and try new things,” McCave said. “It always makes sense to put in extra energy for something that’s working very well because we just realized we can get people excited and bring lots more shorts projects to the site. We just wanted to give folks an extra lift to help them hit the launch button and get their projects live.” 

The initiative has previously been the home of three Academy Award winners: Hair Love (2020), Period. End of Sentence (2019), and Inocente (2013). Kickstarter has been working on spreading the word about Long Story Short for the few months leading up to March, the month filled with promotion. Between social media and their website, they are hoping to attract fellow filmmakers and lovers of film to engage with their content with the prospect of future collaborations. 

“We’ve got a number of different newsletters that are specifically showcasing these short films,” McCave said. “We have a bunch of resources which are specifically directed towards shorts filmmakers to get them ready for it. It’s all about promoting the project as heavily as we can and trying to drive as much traffic to those projects, and get people excited about them as well.”

McCave has a running list of exciting short films that are featured this year. With plenty of different genres and stories to choose from all around the world, there’s something for everyone to keep their eyes peeled for. Some noteworthy mentions include: Christopher Kim’s comedic narrative fiction Missile, Dhillon Shukla’s narrative fiction Run Outs, a USC thesis project The Fairchild, and a UK semi-animated documentary Trust Me?!.

A big age range and a lot of differences in terms of people’s origins and where they’re from,” McCave said.It’s a really exciting dynamic format for people to try out with. It can be something you’ll think about for years and sometimes all you need is that extra nudge.”

Steps to get involved can be found on their website.