Swimming Upstream: A Lifesaving Guide to Short Film Distribution  book cover
1st Edition

Swimming Upstream: A Lifesaving Guide to Short Film Distribution

ISBN 9780240809557
Published December 18, 2007 by Routledge
320 Pages

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Book Description

Short films have come into their own, not least in part due to the incredible new ways to distribute them, including the Web, cell phones, new festivals devoted to shorts--even television and theatres. This is the ultimate guide for anyone who's made a short film and wonders what to do next. Whether your short film is meant to be a calling card, a segue to a feature film, or you just want to recoup some of the costs, this book describes the potential paths for distribution. Written by the short film programmer of the Tribeca Film Festival and featuring contributions from top film festival directors, as well as studio, marketing, and technology executives, this book shows you what's important to the decision makers and gatekeepers. This is the definitive handbook filled with insider information available nowhere else.

Table of Contents


Swimming Lesson #1 Testing the Waters: The Indie Landscape

Gore, Penguins and the Cultural Zeitgeist of Distribution by Jack Foley
The Producer's Perspective By Jason Kliot
Conversation with Andrew Herwitz
Strategizing Specialized Film by William R. Thompson
Management Matters by Lawrence Mattis

Swimming Lesson #2 Learning to Float: The Buyers

Who is This For, Anyway? by Ian Bricke
Swimming With Dolphins: Shorts Distribution 101 by Anna Darrah
Who's Gonna Rescue Me When I Start to Drown?
by David Russell
Life Starts When? by Jennifer Chen
Taking the Brake Lights Off Your Film
by Linda "O” Olszewski
Make Your Mark by Joe Amodei
So You Want to Sell That Short? Not So Fast.
by Shane Smith

Swimming Lesson #3 The Deep End: Exploring All Options

Plympton's Dogma by Bill Plympton
The Fragile Emotion by Jon Gartenberg
Life In Short by Ryan Werner
Conversation with Tom Quinn and Carter Pilcher
Rudiments of the Short Film by Derek Cianfrance
What's a Short Film Really? by Andrew Lund

Swimming Lesson #4 How I Learned To Swim: Filmmaker Survival Stories

Full Circle by Jens Assur
Trial and Error in Hollywood by Jessica Sharzer
Dare to Create by David Brind
Mother's Journey by Sian Heder
The Long and the Short of It by Ben Odell
Conversation with Peter Sollett
Losing Your Virginity by Seth Grossman
Interdependent by Tiffany Shlain
Group Therapy by Joe Turner Lin
From Nelson to Gowanus and Back by Ryan Fleck

Swimming Lesson #5 Little Fish, Big Pond: Thinking Globally

Shorts Down Under by Katherine Shortland
The International Marketplace for Short Films
Now with a Digital Assist by Ralph Ackerman
Short Films in Japan by Seigo Tono
Magic Little Differences by Margaret von Schiller
How to Make It with a Short Film in the UK and Europe by Elliot Grove

Swimming Lesson #6 No Lifeguard on Duty: Internet and New Technology

Conversation with Megan O'Neill
Demystifying Mobile Video by Robin Chan
Conversation with Jim Bankoff
Brave New Virtual World by Jon Griggs
Conversation with Bahman Naraghi
The Power of Distribution, in the Hands of Filmmakers by David Straus

Swimming Lesson #7 Navigate The Rapids: Film Festivals

A Briefing On Shorts by Kathleen McInnis
Show 'Em Your Shorts by Jamie White
Conversation with George Eldred
Some Serious Funny Business by Kevin Haasarud
Conversation with John Polson
Your Short Film and the LGBT Film Festival
by Kimberly Yutani
Conversation with Trevor Groth

Swimming Lesson #8 Waterlogged: My Story

Swim Test
The Workbook
Author Biography

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Sharon Badal is a Short Film Programmer for the Tribeca Film Festival, screening over 1,500 submissions annually without losing her mind. She has been with the festival since its inception, and has produced special projects for various Tribeca entities since 1999, including the 2005 Sloan Film Summit for the Tribeca Film Institute. Sharon is a faculty member at New York University's renowned Tisch School of the Arts in the Kanbar Institute of Film and Television, teaching undergraduate courses in what she refers to as "the beginning and the end” of the filmmaking process - Producing Essentials and Film Distribution & Marketing. In addition, Sharon team-teaches The Business of Producing for NYU's prestigious Stern School of Business. As the self-proclaimed "empress of short film,” Sharon has served on the regional jury for the 2005 Student Academy Awards, and on the juries for the 2006 Palm Springs International Festival of Short Films and the 2007 Worldwide Short Film Festival in Toronto. For the past four years, Sharon has dedicated much of her free time to working for The Leary Firefighters Foundation, founded by actor Denis Leary. In 2007, she worked primarily on the Foundation's New Orleans Firehouse Restoration Project as well as on its annual fundraiser, The Bash for New York's Bravest. From her humble beginnings at age fourteen as an usher in her father's movie theatre, Sharon went on to hold executive positions in distribution for United Artists/MGM, Warner Brothers and Orion Pictures, and has worked on many live events, including projects for Walt Disney Feature Animation, ShowEast, Cinema Expo International, and the Independent Feature Film Market. She received her B.F.A. in film and television production and her M.A. in cinema studies and business, both from New York University. She loves Coney Island, searching for alien life, and chocolate in any form. Sharon lives in New York City, and there's no place else she'd rather be.


"Sharon Badal's information gathering uniquely appreciates the difficult balance between the art and business of filmmaking. Cinema without audience might as well be a great painting locked in a trunk in someone's basement. This book both helps locate the art and gives insight into how to set it free.” - Jeffrey Abramson, Vice President of Film, Gen Art

"If you are a filmmaker with an interest in making short films you need to read Swimming Upstream. With refreshing candor, Sharon Badal has written a unique book that is a wealth of information and true-life inspiration."
-Jane Rosenthal, Co-Founder, Tribeca Film Festival

Forget everything you thought you knew about short films--this book is the real deal!

Brimming over with the collective wit, wisdom, and insights of the most important players in the world of short films, Sharon Badal's Swimming Upstream tells you everything you need to know about the making and marketing of short films, from original concept to international sales. In equal measures entertaining and essential, It should be required reading for anyone engaged in the art and business of short films.
--Darryl Macdonald, Executive Director, Palm Springs International Festival of Short Films

Books on short film distribution are sadly lacking, especially in the arena of microfilmmaking (where most short films are made), so it is wonderful to see one as informative as Swimming Upstream. The experience and insight contained in this book is invaluable.
--Kari Ann Morgan, MicroFilmmaker Magazine