Monday, March 5, 2007

submitting your short

site help

submitting your short

how to make a submission
the submission process
our submission criteria
why we need your contact details
crediting your cast and crew
what rights am I giving the BBC?
getting clearances

how to make a submission
If you’ve made a short film that you’d like us to showcase, you can submit your film to Film Network by clicking submit your short on the left-hand navigation or on one of the 'submit your short' boxes or links around the site.

Before making a submission, please make sure that you have read the submission rules and clearance procedures, as any films that we showcase on the site need to have all the relevant rights and clearances before we can put them up.

the submission process
The submission process is as follows:

email confirmation - when you submit your short, you will receive an automated email confirming your submission and contact details.
submissions section on your profile page - a submissions section will appear on your profile page, with a link to your submission. Any submissions that you make to Film Network will appear in this section. The status of your film (‘new submission’) will also appear beneath your submission title. The submissions section is only viewable on your own profile page and other members cannot see what submissions you have made or their status.
send us your film and signed contract - you then need to send a hard copy of your film (on either VHS, MiniDV or DVD) as well as a signed contract to the address that appears at the end of the submission process. (We only ask for a VHS or DVD as part of the initial submission because Digibetas are expensive and we can’t return unsuccessful submission tapes.)
Film Network will contact you – we aim to watch all submissions and make a decision within eight weeks of receiving your film. However we do receive a high level of submissions, so the process can take longer. We will then contact you to let you know whether or not your submission was successful.
successful submissions - if your submission is accepted we will contact you to let you know and to acquire the relevant assets. In order to put your film up, we need a broadcast copy of your film which should be highest quality format available, ideally Digibeta. We also need production stills, details of any music you have used and to check that you own all the relevant rights and clearances. Your submission will then be turned into a film page. We guarantee to return Digibetas by registered delivery.
unsuccessful submissions - if your submission is unsuccessful you’ll receive an email from the Film Network team letting you know and the status will change from ‘new submission’ to ‘declined’ on the submissions section of your profile page. If your submission is declined, you can convert it into a credit by clicking on the link ‘convert into credit’ or delete your submission entirely by clicking on ‘remove’. We regret that due to the high level of submissions that we receive, we’re unable to provide detailed individual feedback on the films that we decline.

If you have any problems accessing the Film Network address, the address to send your signed contract and tape to is (nb - please do not send tapes without having filled in a contract first):

Film Network Submissions
MC1 D6
Media Centre
BBC Media Village
201 Wood Lane
W12 7TQ

If you encounter any other technical problems with the submission process, please send us an email. Please note – we cannot answer any questions on the status of your submission or provide feedback from this address.

our submission criteria
Film Network receives a large number of submissions and we can only screen a small number of these. However, every film we receive is watched by the in-house team who make a decision on whether to include it. Broadly, we look for films that meet a certain standard both in terms of ideas and technically and that are innovative, have a strong coherent narrative and use the cinematic medium effectively.

Film Network is designed to encourage more people to watch shorts and so we have to keep the quality high. This also ensures that your work is seen in the best possible environment. There are also other things we look for which is worth bearing in mind before you submit:

Films must be made in the UK – the purpose of Film Network is to showcase new British filmmakers, so we regret we cannot accept foreign submissions.
Films should be made in the last 5 years – our focus is to showcase new filmmaking talent. For this reason, it is very rare that we accept a film that is more than five years old.
The shorter the better – although we have no limit on length, the longer a film is the better it has to be to hold viewers’ attention. In our experience, users very rarely watch films streamed online for longer than 10 minutes so we tend to select shorter films. We only occasionally stream films over more than 20 minutes if they are of a very high standard.
Suitable for online streaming - we look for films that are most appropriate for online screening. Shorts with dark lighting, split screens, subtitles or constant rapid movement generally do not work well online.
Films that are rights cleared - see our section on rights.
Films that have all the relevant clearances - see our section on clearances.
Films that have done the festival circuit - some festivals and competitions specify that your film must not have been screened in the UK before. As we wouldn't want to jeopardize your film's chances of being premiered elsewhere, we recommend that you enter the big festivals before submitting it to Film Network.

why we need your contact details
As part of the submission process we ask you for contact details (address, email address and a phone number), so that we can contact you to let you know whether or not your submission was successful.

If your submission is successful, we will use your details in order to contact you to acquire the relevant assets and if there is ever a problem with your film (such as a rights query). We will let you know if the BBC, or a third party, is interested in broadcasting, screening or distributing your film. We will not contact you for any other reason, spam you, or pass your details on to anyone outside the BBC.

crediting your cast and crew
When making a submission, feel free to credit as many of your cast and crew as you like – we provide an extra box on the submission form to include anyone who doesn’t fit in to the most common specialisms.

what rights am I giving the BBC?
We ask for non-exclusive rights to use your film free-of-charge online for five years from the date of publication. This allows us to show your film on, but doesn’t stop you from giving others the right to show it too. If after your film is published on Film Network you're offered a deal which requires exclusivity, then you can ask to have your film removed from Film Network, which we'll do within seven days. For full details of the rights you are giving the BBC, please see the submission rules and for an explanation of terms, please see our guide on rights.

getting clearances
When submitting your film to Film Network, you need to make sure you have secured all the relevant clearances to allow us to show your film in public. These include music and script clearances, and location and participant release forms. To find out more about what clearances are required, and how to get them, see our clearances guide.


house rules

Welcome to Film Network’s house rules. The house rules exist so that everyone can get the most out of contributing to the site.

about your posts
Please keep your contributions civil, tasteful and relevant. We're committed to providing an atmosphere in which constructive and mature dialogue takes place. Therefore:

No flaming. Unlawful, harassing, defamatory, abusive, threatening, harmful, obscene, profane, sexually oriented, racially offensive, or otherwise objectionable comments are not acceptable.

No swearing. If you use a banned word, it will appear as ***s. If you are quoting it may be acceptable.

No spamming or flooding. Don't post the same comment to more than one conversation or more than once.

No advertising. We can only accept posts that are your own opinion. We will remove posts where we suspect a vested interest.

Spoilers must be clearly marked. Spoilers are comments that unnecessarily give away the ending of a narrative eg a film. Any posts that are not clearly marked will be edited to include the words 'Contains spoiler' at the top of the comment.

No foreign languages. Posts containing languages other than English may be removed. Other users should be able to understand your comments and therefore posts with suspected hidden meanings might also be removed.

Please use your real name. We ask our members to use their real names as we feel this encourages people to stand by what they post. Please don't impersonate other people.

Be careful with including email addresses and instant messaging numbers, you may receive a lot of unwanted messages. Please do not include anyone else's personal details. We recommend you set up a new email account specifically and post the address in the form “name at” rather than “” to avoid automated spamming. We will remove any postal addresses or telephone numbers unless they are publicly available eg a ticket line number or event venue.

Only include suitable URLs. Links to websites we consider unsuitable will be removed. If you are considering including a URL, please make sure that it adds value and interest to the subject of your recommendation. Unsuitable sites would include: those with racist material, pornographic or sexually explicit material, potentially defamatory material, anything which encourages illegal activities, material which infringes copyright, sites which purely plug or promote commercial products or services without containing material which enhances the subject matter, or sites which may offend our users.

Please don’t abuse the Film Network complaints system. The system exists so that users can alert us to content that breaks the house rules ie offensive material, not typos and spelling mistakes. If a user repeatedly abuses the complaints button we may suspend their account.

Please don’t post for suspended users. Anyone who posts on behalf of a suspended user may also have his or her account suspended. If we suspect that an account has been opened or is used by a banned user, the holder of the account may be asked to prove their identity. Failure to do so may result in the account being suspended.

about copyright
Only make written contributions that are your own work or to which you have the copyright or other permission to distribute electronically. You may not violate, plagiarise, or infringe on the rights of third parties including copyright, trademark, trade secret, privacy, personal, publicity, or proprietary rights.

By making written contributions to Film Network you grant us non-exclusive rights to publish your words in any medium.

about the law
You may not contribute any defamatory or illegal material of any nature. Contributing a message with the intention of committing an illegal act is strictly prohibited.

under 16s
If you are under 16 please get your parent or guardian's permission before contributing to Film Network.

Never reveal any personal information about yourself (for example, your telephone number, home address or email address).

antisocial behaviour
Film Network members are expected to act in a community-spirited way. It is unacceptable to behave in an antisocial manner. Examples of antisocial behaviour include deliberately dragging conversations off-topic or holding personal conversations in general discussions.

If you feel that someone is behaving in an antisocial manner, you should use the complaints button.

if a member breaks the rules
If a member fails to abide by these House Rules and/or the BBC Terms and Conditions, they will be formally warned by email. Not having a current email address registered with Film Network is not an adequate excuse for not knowing that they've been breaking the house rules.

For the first offence they will receive an official warning from the Film Network Editors.
A second offence will result in their account being put in to pre-moderation. This means every contribution will be checked before appearing on Film Network.
A third offence will mean that their account is suspended for seven days.
A fourth offence will result in their account being closed permanently.

The BBC reserves the right to delete any contributions or account, at any time, for any reason. Film Network reserves the right to change the house rules from time to time by publishing any amendments on site. You are responsible for regularly reviewing the house rules. By submitting a post you confirm your acceptance of any changes. Don't forget to read the Terms of Use.



If you would like the chance to showcase your short film on Film Network, then this is what you need to do.

We cannot guarantee to publish every film, but we do guarantee that your film will be watched. We expect a certain level of production standards to ensure that your film is seen in the best possible environment. See our submission criteria for more information.

what you get from us
If your submission is successful you'll get:

your film showcased on
a dedicated film page, with links to you and your cast and crew's profile pages, allowing people who see your film to find out more about you and your work
feedback on your film from other Film Network members
your film seen by our Industry Panel.

what we need from you
To submit your film, you need to be registered with Film Network. It'll take less than 5 minutes to create your membership.

Once you're a member, you need to fill in the online submission form. Please read and check you're happy with the submission rules before you do so.

The information that you need to give is:

your contact details
your film's details - including length, funding details, production company, distribution information and weblinks
a synopsis (of less than 100 words) and log line or short description (20 words)
festival screenings and award details
crew and cast names
a short fact about the making of your film

You'll need to supply us with a hard copy of your film on either VHS or DVD (not DVD-ROM) - we'll give you address details at the end of the submission process. If we decide to show your film, we'll then need a broadcast quality copy and copies of any stills you have associated with the film, preferably supplied as high-resolution JPEGs on CD-Rom.

Please note: We regret that we cannot return submission tapes and we do not guarantee to publish your film. If we do publish your film though, we will return any Digibetas by registered delivery.

We ask for non-exclusive rights to use your film free-of-charge online for five years from the date of publication. This allows us to show your film on but doesn't stop you from giving others the right to show it too. We will remove films from the site within seven days at the filmmaker's request. For full details of the rights you are giving the BBC, please see the submission rules and for an explanation of terms, please see our filmmaking guide on rights.

You must own the distribution rights in order to let us show your film. If you have a distributor or sales agent eg Dazzle Films, Short Circuit, Shorts International (formally Brit Shorts), then we need their permission to show your film.

Some film festivals and competitions specify that your film must not have been screened in the UK before. It is your responsibility to find out if screening your film on BBC Film Network will affect your chances of getting it screened elsewhere. We strongly suggest that you find this out before submitting your film to us.

When submitting your film to Film Network you need to make sure you have made all the relevant clearances to allow us to show your film in public. These include music and script clearances,location and participant release forms. To find out more about what clearances are required and how to get them see our clearance procedures section.

after you have submitted
We aim to watch all submissions and make a decision within eight weeks of receiving them. However we do receive a high level of submissions, so the process can take longer. We will contact you to let you know whether or not we intend to show your film on Film Network. Unfortunately due to the high level of submissions that we receive, we are unable to provide individual feedback on the films that we decline. See our site help for more information on the submission process.

filmmaking guide index

Film Network

filmmaking guide index
Welcome to our filmmaking guide. Here you can find out more about the filmmaking process from pre- to post-production. To add a comment to any of the pages, click on the link at the bottom.

why make a short film?

writing a script
writing a script
getting a professional response

watching shorts
film festivals

shorts on DVD

training & development
film training courses
online courses
bursaries and funding opportunities

recommended reading

funding sources
what to include in your application

protecting your work
funder's rights

location agreements
actors' contributions
product clearances

what to shoot on
shooting on film
shooting on digital

budget & schedule

equipment & insurance

cast & crew
heads of department
additional crew members

post-production & editing
sound post-production
the end product

getting your film seen
organising a screening
getting an agent


why make a short film?

why make a short film?

There are many reasons why you might make a short film and these will impact upon how you go about it.

Making a film – be it a short or a feature – is largely a labour of love, so it’s always worth clarifying why you are embarking on such madness and adventure. You could be making it for:

experience - you might want to experiment with pulling a team together to make a story on film.
a showreel - you might be pursuing a career in filmmaking and want to demonstrate your skills.
partnerships - you'd like to try working with certain people to see if you can go on to collaborate on projects in the future.
kudos - you may have found a high profile director/writer/actor, who'll help you raise your filmmaking profile.
testing an idea out - you’ve always thought a certain story would work well on screen or you’ve got a feature film idea that you want to try out on a small scale first.
money - you may have been asked to work on a production with a budget to pay its crew. (This is very rare as short films don’t generally pay any financial dividends.)

Your reasons for making the film should also relate to where the film is going to be shown. You could be making it for:

your front room - many filmmakers start out by testing their ideas on family and friends.
a showreel – maybe you're building a body of work to prove to others that you have filmmaking skills and/or to persuade them to give you some funding to make another film.
the Internet – a great means of getting your work out there and getting feedback from a wide range of people.
television – if your film is of a high quality, a television channel may screen it, especially if it fits into a slot with other short films.
the cinema – one of the hardest places to get a short film screened, but some very successful shorts have been shown before feature films on general release. Some cinemas also run short film events.
festivals – a great opportunity to get your film on the big screen, watched by an audience of industry people and by filmmaking peers.

The answers to ‘why’ and ‘where’ determine the standard you need to work to - there is a minimum standard of technical quality required for broadcast on television and a very different quality for transfer from tape to film.

Why you are making a short film, and where you want it to go, will determine what you shoot on, which equipment you use, budgets, crew numbers and potential markets. You and your team’s objectives set the parameters of what you are going to create. Be clear about these objectives and then crack on with the project.

There are small pots of money available to help create short films – especially those on digital formats. The industry is also full of people who are willing to do favours because they like an idea, they like someone involved with the project or they simply remember what it was like to start out in filmmaking.

writing a script

writing a script

A good idea and a strong script are the basis of a great short.

Short films, like short stories, are an art form of their own, and certain subjects and approaches work better than others. Having acknowledged your objectives (see our guide, why make a short film), you're on your way to knowing what type of short film you want to create. Look at other short films to establish what works best. Many shorts are adapted from short stories or poems but if you go down this route, make sure you get the proper permissions (see our section on rights).

writing a script
Maybe it’s a funny incident that happened to you, maybe there's a political statement that you'd like to make or a painting that has inspired you…whatever the spark, you need to start by getting it down in writing.

Where to start? Before you become too caught up in the ‘correct’ way to do it, jot down a brief description of the story you want to write. Once you've captured your idea onto paper, then you can visit the innumerable sites created to help writers turn raw ideas into workable scripts (see right-hand links).

Once you have received tons of encouragement and suggestions, you need to turn the description you have into an outline or a more technical treatment. The terminology can, at this stage, get confusing, as different approaches to early development are referred to in different ways (such as outlines, synopses, treatments). These are discussed on the websites listed in the right-hand column. Don’t get too hung up on which way to go at this stage, as the essential thing is to develop the idea into a structured story that will work as a screenplay.

At this stage, you can start showing your work to other people and getting feedback (ideally from people working in film or television, but you can always use your friends and family). Rework the idea and think about what makes it cinematic. Who are the characters? What is the plot, the premise, the theme? When these components have come together in your mind it's time to put your story down in script format.

Formatting a script is not an 'exact science' but, as you will find, there are industry standards (see right-hand links). Production companies and directors are used to scripts that look a certain way, so it is worth getting to grip with industry conventions early on.

It is always worth reading your favourite film scripts for examples of how it is done. There are many sites that can help you track down a free copy of a screenplay online (see right-hand links).

Sticking to industry standard formatting makes your work look more professional and it will also help to give you a rough idea of the length of the film. Standard formatting roughly equates to a page per minute.

The script format is really only the start and you will need to continue developing your project, responding to criticism and absorbing new ideas into your script. If you are working with film and/or TV professionals, it’s very likely that you will go through a number of drafts. Visit the numerous websites for writers and scriptwriters, if only because writing is often a lonely task and it is healthy to connect into a network to share tips and suggestions that may assist you in the creative process. You can also get feedback on your story via some sites.

getting a professional response
If you feel that you would like a cold, hard industry response to your script from somewhere in the UK then you might want to pay for a script report from a script reader (see right-hand links).

watching shorts

watching shorts

One of the best ways to learn how to make short films is by watching them and learning from other people’s successes and mistakes.

film festivals
There are film festivals that take place all over the UK and around the world. Most festivals have a section for shorts and there are some festivals that are solely dedicated to short films. A full and comprehensive Directory of International Film & Video Festivals can be found at:

This directory lists over 600 international film festivals, including television and video festivals, and provides details on how and when to enter these events. There is a search feature that enables you to look up film festivals by country, town, festival title, category or month of the year.

There are a number of organsitions across the UK that run short film screenings, often in combination with other events. Many local filmmaker's groups also run short film screenings in their area. Look out for information on filmmaking websites (such as Shooting People's Filmmakers Bulletin and Talent Circle's noticeboard) and in filmmaking magazines.

Past short film competition winners and other successful shorts have been compiled into video and DVD collections that are widely available. See our guide shorts on DVD for a selection of recommended short film DVDs.

The Internet
As technology is improving the Internet is becoming a far more reliable place to see short films. Short films have been available online for a couple of years, but only now, with broadband and improved software, is watching short films on the Internet becoming a viable viewing option.

See right-hand column for a list of some of the best places to watch shorts online.

shorts on DVD

shorts on DVD

Some recommended short film collections on DVD.

Past short film competition winners and other successful shorts have been compiled into video and DVD collections that are widely available. Collections of note include:

75th Annual Academy Awards Short Films
100 minutes of Oscar-nominated short films from 2003.

Best V Best
Seven award-winning shorts from festivals around the world in 2004/5, including The Banker, Little Terrorist, Who Killed Brown Owl and Milk.

Big Stories Small Flashes
A collection of nine digital shorts, funded by the UK Film Council’s New Cinema Fund.

Cinema 16
A selection of classic and award-winning short films. There are two Cinema 16 collections on offer: European Shorts and British Shorts.

Directors Series
Compiled by Palm pictures, there are three DVDs focussing on directors Michel Gondry, Spike Jonze and Chris Cunningham. There are short films, music videos and interviews on each collection.

A series of DVDs featuring a selection of cutting-edge digital shorts from the onedotzero festival.

Best of 12th Raindance Film Festival Shorts
Highlights from the Raindance festival 2004 programme.

The Best of RESFEST
Currently on volume three, this compilation has hand-picked short films from the archives of RESFEST festival.

Short - International Release
These DVDs (3 volumes so far) feature filmmaker's commentary, alternate audio tracks, additional and bonus tracks, production notes, interactive menus, and hyperlinks to filmmaker's websites.

15 award-winning short films that have been showcased at major film festivals all over the globe.

Warp Vision: the Videos 1989 - 2004
A collection of music videos from various artists on the record label Warp.