- Egypt rights center raided, 2 Mubaraks acquitted
- New Mexico Supreme Court rules same-sex marriage constitutional
- Blame Bush: 5 years later, that’s still the mantra, pollsters find
- Dutch prostitutes demand same retirement benefits as soccer stars
- John McCain to Harry Reid: I’ll ‘kick the crap’ out of you
- Dogs that talk: Researchers seek $10K for ‘No More Woof’ technology
- 1,000 firefighters called to battle stubborn Big Sur wildfire
- Black Friday brouhaha: Millions of Target shoppers hit by credit card theft
- Britain orders airplane to rescue citizens from violent South Sudan
- Mega Millions winner emerges as Georgia mom, in ‘disbelief’
Entrepreneur finds audience for short filmmakers
Question of the Day
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Some years back, investment banker Carter Pilcher stumbled across some really good short movies made by a few talented friends, and the money-making and artistic sides of his brain suddenly clicked.
The idea was to buy rights to those shorts cheaply from wannabe filmmakers who sought fame more than fortune. He figured he could make a business by showing them to new audiences for just the right price.
“I just felt like I’d discovered a part of the world of content that didn’t take a lot of money to create but was really riveting,” said Pilcher, a 49-year-old American who was working in London at the time and still has his office there. “In 10 minutes, you’re in tears, or you’re shocked, or you laugh really hard.”
Pilcher gave up his career in finance to pursue the idea. With his own money and help from family and friends, he started what has become Shorts International, a company that now runs subscription TV channels that show shorts in six countries to about 12 million homes. That’s not a lot of homes for a channel although he hopes to expand its reach. AT&T Inc.’s U-verse video service began carrying ShortsHD in the U.S. last summer and Dish Network Corp. did so in April.
While giving thousands of filmmakers a potentially huge new audience, Shorts International won’t necessarily make them rich. Its licensing fee _ a few hundred dollars over several years _ is not enough to transform what is a money-losing venture for most filmmakers.
But his business adds to the many outlets that are now trying to make money from their work.
“It’s a fair price,” Pilcher said. “What’s even more important: We’re giving filmmakers a chance to be seen.”
For filmmakers, making short movies is a kind of necessary proving ground. No one walks into a director’s job at a Hollywood studio without a track record. For many, it’s either lose money making your own short or fetch coffee as a production assistant and try to rise through the ranks.
Tarique Qayumi, a Los Angeles filmmaker who is trying to sell the company his short, “Last Supper,” called the few hundred dollars in payment “ridiculous” given the hours he invested and the favors he pulled to give his movie a professional look and feel despite its $3,000 budget. Yet if such a deal is offered, Qayumi said he “would grudgingly sign.”
“I just want as many people as possible to see my film, so I really don’t have any bargaining power,” Qayumi said.
A few filmmakers whose shorts are being featured on the channel say that making them has had a career-changing impact, even if the movies lost money.
Mark Osborne went from teaching at the animation school CalArts to directing DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc.’s “Kung Fu Panda” after his stop-motion animation short about worker drones, “More,” won an Oscar nomination in 1999. The movie has yet to recoup its $100,000 budget but it was more than worthwhile, he said. “I always tell everyone, ‘Make shorts, make shorts, make shorts.’”
“Shrek” director Vicky Jenson added a twist to her animation-heavy career by making the short “Family Tree” in 2003. The mystical, humorous short littered with personal references gave her the experience directing real actors that she lacked. It led to a directing job for a live-action feature six years later. “It was my own personal director’s camp,” she said.
For at least one major studio, shorts can be a way to develop new moviemaking techniques and nurture talent while keeping employees on the payroll.
Pixar was a struggling imaging device company in the 1980s, but its early shorts helped pioneer the current golden age of computer-generated animation. Formative shorts such as “Tin Toy” helped spawned the colossal “Toy Story” franchise and the company sold for $7.4 billion to The Walt Disney Co. in 2006.
By Michael P. Orsi
Edward Snowden should declare his patriotism in court
- Citing 'unfair system,' Obama commutes sentences for 8 crack offenders
- Gov't wasted $30 billion on 'pillownauts,' crystal goblets -- buying human urine!
- Homeland Security helps smuggle illegal immigrant children into the U.S.
- Bill Gates: The Secret Santa disguised as a 'friendly fellow' on Reddit
- Obamacare 'pajamas boy' gets roundly mocked
- BOLTON: Nero in the White House
- Armed response, not restrictive gun laws, brought swift end to school shooting
- Duck Dynasty Phil Robertson suspended indefinitely for gay quip
- OBAMASCARE: Huge premium hikes rock employer-insured workers
- UHLER and FERRARA: Obamacare, the end of the progressive era
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Southern Fried Politics from the Lens of a Persian-American Millennial
All of the world’s problems, solved on your back porch
Paul Rondeau exposes the propaganda, media tricks, and government policies that undermine our families, faith, freedom…and even life itself
Implement these actionable tips, how-to’s and best practices in 10 minutes or less to leverage online communications and technology for brand, business and career development.
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.
Extraordinary day at Redskins Park
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow