The YouTube Screening Room

YouTube announced last month that they are creating a online resource for filmmakers called The Screening Room.

Check out this promo video:

The idea is that it will be a new platform that will enable independent filmmakers to a wider global audience.

Although the video sharing site already contains a lot of user generated content, this is a new dedicated section that also makes more authored short films to stand out.

Filmmakers can opt for their films to have a ‘Buy Now’ option next to their work for DVD or digital sales and they can then share in the majority of ad revenue generated from views.

To submit you just send and an email with information about your film to [email protected] (although you have to make sure that you own all the digital rights to the work you are submitting).

Each week, four new films will be selected by an editorial panel and then uploaded and highlighted in the Screening Room section.

According to the Associated Press there is already proof that YouTube can help a young filmmaker gain valuable exposure:

“Hopefully as they see thousands of people watching their films, it’s going to be a very eye-opening experience,” said Sara Pollack, YouTube’s film and animation manager.

Among the first eight titles to be showcased are “Love and War,” a stop-motion puppet movie by a Swedish director; the Oscar-nominated short “I Met The Walrus,” about an interview with John Lennon; and “Are You the Favorite Person of Anybody?” by performance artist Miranda July.

YouTube said people whose clips regularly attract a million viewers can make several thousand dollars a month. The bigger prize can be exposure.

When YouTube featured the nine-minute short “Spider” by Nash Edgerton in February, it became the fifth-best selling short on iTunes, Pollack said.

The creators of the full-length feature “Four Eyed Monsters,” Susan Buice and Arin Crumley, got their break when more than a million YouTube views helped land them a TV and DVD distribution deal, she said.

“They ended up doing really, really well, ironically by putting their film online for free,” Pollack said.

Although it is early days for this venture, I think it is a great idea. Last year when I was at the Cannes Film Festival, I met several people at the Short Film Corner (a section dedicated to directors of shorts) and what struck me was that it was hard to actually get to see their films online or on a DVD.

Although, directors can already upload to sites like MySpace and YouTube, this new section appears to be more filmmaker friendly and makes it easier for quality shorts to get exposure outside the usual avenue of festivals and late night TV slots.

Some of the most recent examples to be showcased are:

For more information check out the submission page of The Screening Room.

> The Screening Room at YouTube
> Interview with Sara Pollack on the FilmCouch podcast
> Filmmaking.net – Resource for filmmakers
> Short Film Corner at Cannes
> Download the first chapter of Shooting People’s book about Short Films (PDF)

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