Making a short film is like creating an MVP.

Thanks to our coworking space and Netflix my love for making and watching films is back to the level where I was at art school. I remember that as a final work I choose to make a feature short film and not a documentary as the docent asked me. He didn’t like me at all, and surely not the fact that kind of disobedience. As a result, he told me very clearly that he would not help me. At all. The short film had to be realised on 16mm film, I think we used an ARI camera or Beaulieu, not sure anymore. A feature film means synopsis, scenario, per scene description, locations, attributes, lights, actors etc. I was too afraid to ask for an actor so I played the main role myself. How could I direct and actor not knowing what means acting was my reasoning. In all my stubbornness I succeeded to make a short film that was even selected at a Short Film Festival in Brussels. The jury in the art school, external professionals, gave me a very high rating and introduced me to a very know film house so I started to work immediately as a free-lancer.

I always was impressed by how complex making a short film is. Let along a full movie. It is like building a temporary full functioning factory. This actually helped me later when I started companies. As the founder/director you have the full responsibility and you work towards a certain result. Everything I started in my life referred to filmmaking for me. Here is a short overview of the similarities:

  1. Create a value proposition

A useless app is like a useless short film, and even worse a bad movie. The audience needs to believe you so the time you take is replaced by emotion or thought. The call to action is an app or any solution is making money. In film, the call the action is before. You need to be attracted before you go to the cinema. Netflix and the like are a combination. You pay before you experience. But it always comes down to value creation.

2. Marketing and communication are key

In both cases, startup project or film project, you start selling and marketing the moment you put something on paper. First, you need to sell to investors or sponsors, next to your audience. So creating the message, the pitch, positioning are all ingredients that create your success. Or not.

3. Short films are like MVPs

I remember when I made short films I actually wanted to be part of full feature movies. This is for most film directors and cineasts. In that sense, your short films become your reel in the hope to make that big one. Just like an MVP or prototype helps you to get the funding in order to make the full fletched solution.

4. Bootstrapping is like the making of a low budget movie

Creating a short film or low budget can easily be compared with bootstrapping. You mainly focus on the FFF or Friends, Family and Friends for the necessary funds to realise that project. Pivoting is a bit harder when you are into film making. In the end, its what it is and if a total failure you hope you can find the funds for a second try. Or start a business as I did as becoming a father means earning money, not only spending.

5. Multifunction is an understatement

Many hats make you the octopus in your project. It goes from finding people, counting money, negotiation, knowledge on IP and author rights… name it. You have a core team that carries out all roles. In the hope to grow that team and do what you are best in.

The results of this knowledge are that I have been making films for the last 35 years, some good, some less good. All in the shape of companies. Now with the cinema (120 comfortable seats) in Urla Coworking, I slowly go back to the cinema and very happy that we organise our first Short Film Festival. More to come in 2020. See below.

David Bowie is without any doubt one the most multitalented artists that have been around. As well the movie as the song, his last big single hit, carry the same title: Absolute Beginners. The lead song did great but the movie was undervalued. I hope to show the movie 1 day in our place:-D. See and watch here.

Kolay Gelsin,

Patrick Bosteels

Stage-Co, Urla Coworking, Now Sprint! Accelerator and Creative Academie co-founder, Facilitator, Accelerator Program Manager and Mentor