Posts Tagged‘short film’

Director's board of The Departure production

Short Film in Theatre

The recent confluence of short film and theatre heralds an exciting step in digital storytelling for theatre. Long before the advent of YouTube theatre companies were experimenting with video production to advertise their work. Now, in 2015, almost every new stage production has a trailer.

But a more recent and interesting development is the use of the short film format as an extension of the stage play; a fresh interpretation of the themes. As a form of digital content marketing it’s what marketing moguls call digital storytelling; extending the conversation beyond the live performance for existing audiences and involving new audiences.

It’s no coincidence that this trend mirrors the the rapid ascension of the short film format as a mainstream art form. Online, audiences are more accessible than ever and the amount of online video they consume grows astronomically each year. Branded or otherwise, the amount of video hours watched by people on YouTube  is increasing by 50% every year*.

In response to this trend, the BBC launched iPlayer Shorts last year, a series of six short films to be produced over two years by new filmmaking talent. Head of TV content at iPlayer said the venture “Explores storytelling outside of a scheduled TV slot or duration. Audiences will be able to discover, share and enjoy these dramas whenever and wherever they choose.” Three of the films have been made and are available on the iPlayer now.

bbc i player

Theatre makers who have worked for a while with video production have cottoned on to the broad appeal and accessibility of the short film format. In 2014 The Royal Court Theatre collaborated with The Guardian to produce six short films responding to six current British issues. ‘Off The Page’ short films are all viewable here on the guardian website.

The Guardian describes them as ‘microplays’ conceived as a meeting of minds between journalists and theatre makers and it’s encouraging to see how theatre makers are using the medium to generate interest around their craft and in new writing.

Young Vic Shorts is another high visibility stage to screen program – again in collaboration with The Guardian – but it differs slightly in that it uses the short film format to directly extend the narrative or reinterpret a stage play that’s currently on stage. Since 2012 the Young Vic has created six short films to accompany their main house productions. Find the full set here.

Their most recent short was The Departure, inspired by Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire, in which Gillian Anderson directs and stars, and for which we were commissioned to make a behind the scenes video (below).

There’s no doubt these high profile collaborations are bringing new audiences to the theatre as well as spotlighting new playwrights. The exciting part for existing theatre audiences is that by embracing the visual language of filmmaking, creators are reinterpreting and refreshing, instead of simply repeating. Audiences’ have a huge appetite for digital storytelling across platforms, and short film is an ultra-accessible medium ripe for experimentation.

At Impact Video we are interested in producing film content that responds to theatre using cinematic language. Get in touch with  marliese@impactvideoproduction.co.uk to talk about theatre trailers, short film, or other collaborations.

Juliet Stevenson through camera monitor

Behind the Scenes of Mayday

We were commissioned to make a behind the scenes promotional video for the Young Vic short film Mayday, a response to the stage play ‘Happy Days’. The production was a two day shoot, one day on the set of the short film and the second at the Young Vic theatre filming the interviews.

The first day on set was by far the most challenging, staying out of the way while capturing quality footage for the promo video is tricky. The short film was shot entirely in a small bedroom so space was minimal for our videographer. These restrictions bare comparison to filming an event video reactively, where you’re always the least important person in the room (read our blog post on event videos here). There’s a fascinating article on Making-Of films at mentorless.com, about Niko Tavernise, who has made multiple such films for Darren Aronofsky.

The second production day for the promo video took place months later and was more pre planned. We watched a screening of the finished short film with the Director Natalie Abrahami and star Juliet Stevenson, then they chatted on camera about the genesis of the project and the filmmaking process.

Mayday is part of Young Vic Shorts, a program of short film created with the Guardian in response to each Young Vic main house stage production. Read our blog post on the use of short film in digital storytelling for theatre.

Get in touch with marliese@impactvideoproduction.co.uk to talk about your a behind the scenes video production.

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