Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Do You Remember the Film Short

I still remember the days when movie houses ran films continuously. You came whenever and watched till you got back to the point you came in. Sometimes there were double features and almost always there were shorts between the feature films. The popularity of these shorts have not gone unnoticed; Pixar likes to put a short in front of each of its animated films. And Turner Classic Movies uses them like those good old days as filler to get the feature to start at the top of the hour.

I bring this up, not just to reminisce, but to recognize that history does in fact repeat itself. These shorts were loaded with B talent; actors not always popular enough to make the big movie. And yet some of these actors become famous because of these shorts. Movie shorts included newsreels, featurettes, documentaries, comedies... Today, these shorts still exist; no longer popular on the big screen, but able to find a home on the small one. Not the TV, but the computer.

I speak of professionally produced scripted shorts found on a number of websites including Crackle, My Damn Channel, and others. Two of my new favorites are Star-ving with David Faustino and Corin Nemec and Wainy Days with David Wain.

While not fronting a big film, they are today's version of what the early short once was, B actors finding a way to showcase their talent. And this short form entertainment remains amusing and fun to watch. The biggest difference between then and now is that today's shorts include advertising while no advertising tended to appear with shorts in the theatre.

Still, the art of the short is not new to the web; it has been around for a long, long time. It is simply appearing on a different screen. I still like the old black and white shorts on TCM and I like discovering new shorts on the PC. They all bring an entertainment value to be enjoyed for quite a while.