Some filmmakers use short films in order to craft a story that is most effective when told in a matter of minutes. Some filmmakers use short films as a way to pique interest into a concept that they could later expand into a feature length film. Whatever your motivations, a short film is a doorway for filmmakers and aspiring filmmakers alike to show off their story telling talents and perhaps gain some powerful fans who may one day invest in you talents.
Some of your favorite films could have started as a much smaller idea, only to grow into what you now cherish. The following 10 films were once the small ideas of a filmmaker with large ambitions. Some were created by filmmakers just getting their start and trying to break in somehow. Others were created by more established filmmakers who used their story to convince others to trust their vision.
These films have gone on to capture numerous awards and recognition from their piers. They have catapulted once unknowns into the hierarchy of the filmmaking society. But no matter how big their Features have become, it is always an enthralling adventure to go back and witness a filmmaker’s original vision at its most stripped down.
When Saw was released in 2004, no one could have imagined it to become the success that it ultimately became. Spawning countless sequels, comic books, and video games. However, this enourmous franchise was not always the monster it is now. At one point it was a mere nine and a half minute short film made in the desperate hope to attract a single studio.
In 2003, director James Wan and Colleague Leigh Whannell began to write a horror script that would later go on to become the first Saw film. Knowing that they would not have enough money on their own to produce the film, they decided to take an excerpt from the script and make it into a short and use it to pitch the feature film script to a movie studio.
The nine and a half minute short that followed would essentially become an alternate version of the Reverse Bear Trap scene that most people would recognize from the feature film. The short was shot in eight days with relatively no budget as Leigh Whannell himself would star in it, along side a few friends. The feature version would star Shawnee Smith as Amanda Young in a version that is clearly done with a bigger budget.
The short was well received by Lionsgate and they promptly greenlit the feature script with a budget of $1.2 million for a direct to DVD release, though positive reaction from a Sundance screening changed the fortunes of Saw and it was eventually released in theaters worldwide.
This article was first posted on March 6, 2013