As repulsed as I am by social media, I think Instagram is a great platform for Area 52 to blossom and be seen (and hopefully appreciated) by as many eyeballs as possible, worldwide.  These are not films exclusively for English-speaking Americans.  Because, let’s face it:  In America we aren’t culturally trained to view short films as meaningful art that has value.  Especially animation.  It’s kid’s stuff.  And that’s pretty much where we draw the line.

In some European countries, short films do sell and become part of state-funded public programming.  But think about the journey you and your film have to take before it gets there.  First, you essentially have to make a brilliant, needle-in-a-haystack film; then you have to spend what seems like a boat load of money to apply to festivals; then the taste police at the festivals have to ordain you as part of their circle; then, if accepted, you have to spend more money and time traveling around your country, or to other countries, to attend these festivals.  All in the hopes of…what exactly?  To potentially break even or make very little profit on your hard work?  To gain notoriety?  Win an award?  Win an Oscar?  Seems like a 'Hail Mary' to me.  Why would you spend that kind of money and time on a short film that you poured your creative genius into just to possibly be put in a position to win an award?  Or to please the few people who came to see it?

Please know that I'm not knocking the film festival circuit in and of itself.  For the most part, hard-working and caring folks put together a great platform for filmmakers to strut their stuff and get well deserved pats on the back.  Making industry friends and connections are a great takeaway from film festivals, no doubt.  And they're certainly better for feature length films since those actually have distribution outlets that can be quite profitable.  But if the main goal is to communicate what the art is saying to as many people as possible and have them appreciate it, the festival route doesn't seem to be the most solid business model for short form animated films.

To me, it makes more sense to spend less time and money on much shorter films and distribute free of charge on a free platform that nearly everyone has access to.  Literally for the cost of film festival submissions alone, you could produce a large group of films and have a much greater audience reach on a regular basis.  Plus, you don't have to beg family, friends, acquaintances and strangers for funds on a crowd sourcing site, like Kickstarter.

That being said, I choose Instagram to display the Area 52 films.  I believe it's the best platform for me to showcase art that says what I want to say to the most people possible - for many reasons:

  • Its interface doesn't come with all of the distractions that Facebook, YouTube and other outlets have.  It's a much more intimate experience.  You see posts one at a time and you can live with that post for as long as you'd like.
  • Also unlike Facebook & YouTube, the comments sections are usually not a cesspool of opinion.  People tend to like and share content that entertains them without getting into a bickering match.
  • There's a time limit of :60 seconds for video content so people are more inclined to watch a film in its entirety.
  • I'm able to aggregate granular information about who exactly is watching and enjoying these films.  This way, if I do submit to a festival or make an attempt to sell some of my work, I'll know where to place my bets.
  • Also, there's some essence of a portfolio there if that's how you want to utilize it.  It's clean.  It's pretty to look at.  And it's free.  Win-win-win.

The big-wigs at Instagram are not paying me to say any of this.  I have no business dealings with them whatsoever and they're doing just fine without my endorsement.  But I do encourage you to FOLLOW + WATCH these films on Instagram.  The account is @area52flix.  HERE is a direct link.