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filmmaking guide


There are lots of short film DVD compilations coming out at the moment. DVD can be a great way of getting your film seen by a wider audience.

Short Film Compilations

A number of labels, organisations and magazines are releasing compilations of short films. For a list of short film DVD labels, see our Related Links: Recommended Watching - DVD. Most compilations fall into one of the following categories:

Shorts by Known Talent: collections of early shorts by famous directors and music video makers such Cinema 16 and the Directors Label.

Award-winning Shorts: collections of shorts that have won at prestigious festivals or Oscar/Bafta winners such as Shooting People's Best V Best and Shorts!.

Best of the Fest: some festivals produce DVDs with their favourite shorts of the festival - such as Resfest(no longer running), Raindance and onedotzero.

Giveaway DVDs in Magazines: collections of shorts (generally animations, VFX, music videos, commercials, virals etc) compiled by DVD magazines such as Stash, Shots and Specialten.

Although the compilations in the first three categories are a great way of watching some of the best shorts around (and of giving money back to the filmmakers) they are compiled through selection rather than open submissions so they are not really a viable distribution model for most filmmakers.

The giveaway shorts DVD collections in magazines are mostly compiled through a submission process so you could send your film off to them. Most of them don't offer any payment though, it's more about exposure. We have listed some of the leading DVD magazines in our Related Links: Recommended Watching - DVD.

DVD Rights

If you do get the opportunity to sell your film as a DVD, you will need to obtain clearances from any rights holders of underlying rights in your film before distributing the DVD to the public. It may be that you get the opportunity to have your film distributed for free with a magazine or newspaper. If your DVD is distributed for free, it is less likely that a copyright action would be pursued against you because there has been no exchange of money. The rights holder would be unable to sue you for profits made although he or she might still be able to claim damages from you. It is always wise to ask for clearance as a matter of courtesy and to protect your position.

Making your own DVD

You may also want to make your own short available on DVD - either for the purpose of sending out as a screener (to festivals, the industry etc) or to sell. We've included some tips on compiling a DVD screener in our Filmmaking Guide: Press & Publicity Materials - Tapes/DVDs.

It can be difficult to market or make profit from individual short film DVDs unless the film has already won big awards or got a famous name attached (such as Chris Morris' My Wrongs). You might want to consider making a compilation with other filmmakers that you know or making a showreel of all of your work.

Useful links

The Raindance website has a useful list of contacts for European DVD distributors here.

Related Guides

For more information on what rights and clearances you'll need to show your film on DVD, see our Legal Guide: Rights & Clearances Checklist

For more information on how to market your short, see our Filmmaking Guide: Marketing Your Short

For information about getting a distributor who may help you get DVD sales of your film, see our Filmmaking Guide: Distribution

To find out more about other means of exhibiting your short, see our filmmaking guides on screenings, festivals & awards, television and online

For recommended short film DVD collections, see our filmmaking guide: shorts on dvd. For a list of short film DVD labels see our, Recommended Watching - DVD

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