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Creator and Artist Stories

Four tips on making shareable short films

By Jeremy Kaye and Devin McNulty

Programming Strategy

How do you make a short film so amazing that you immediately need to share it with your friends? Here’s four tips from some of the best in the game on YouTube.

Be remarkable

Casey Neistat’s film “The Dark Side of the iPhone 5S Lines” provides a glimpse into an often unseen side of our cultural obsession with technology. Its documentary style tells a complete story in six minutes, and its surprising climax leaves viewers with a powerful image that makes them want to click the share button.

Find your niche

The film “Portal: Survive! (Live-Action Short)” is a film based on the popular video game Portal, and it taps into the game’s sizeable fanbase for viewers. In the comments section fans of Portal quote their favorite lines, engage in passionate debate about the game, and ask for more Portal based films. Given that over 4 million copies of this game have been sold to date, this niche audience is quite large.

Relate to your audience
The short film “I Forgot My Phone” identifies a phenomenon in our society and handles it in a way that resonates with many viewers. When a film encapsulates something viewers feel from their own life experience, they want to share it and say something about it. What do you think people would write when posting this video to social media?

Be topical

For their film “3D Printed Guns (Documentary)”, Vice took the controversial topic of gun control and paired it with the trending new technology, 3D printing. The information contained in this film called into question the meaning of gun control, and they released their film right as this issue was at the zenith of our cultural conversation.