For all aspiring filmmakers there is always that sense of doubt when looking for the steppingstone that will boost your career, getting your name at the forefront of the minds of every cinematic connoisseur across Britain. For Gareth Edwards, director of 2014’s Godzilla, the London Sci-Fi 48hr Film Competition was an opening avenue, whilst Jules Bishop used the annual Microwave Scheme to get his feature film Borrowed Time off the ground. The competition is fierce, the number of applicants is high, and, in many people’s opinion, there should be more areas to explore. But now, with the return of the Shortcuts To Hell competition, the wanting crowds can rejoice at the potential reward that is on offer to them.
The competition in itself is quite simple in its parameters. Creative teams are to create a three-minute horror film, which acts as a pitching document for a related feature. So, shoot, cut, then deliver an interesting, engaging piece of cinema. Sounds simple enough, what with the mass of 48hr film competitions that people enter. What makes Shortcuts To Hell even sweeter, however, is that there are no time restrictions within the current deadline. If you can hand over your film by 22nd July, regardless of the time if took you to hit completion, you are in with a shout at winning. It is clear that the think tank behind this were far more concerned with quality of movie and development of concepts than they were with getting any old applicants. And good on them for it.
And then, of course, there are the rewards that, if you dare it, you can reap. If your film is up to the right standard, if your three-minute pre-feature film teaser has a concept that will entice people in to wanting more, then you will receive a minimum of £20,000 and collaboration from both Wildseed Studios and Horror Channel to develop your movie. Admittedly, there are higher minimum prize funds out there, but when some of the most successful horror movies of all time were made for below that figure, you can appreciate the ingenuity that the competition funders are expecting.
…you could jumpstart your career…
With so much to be won the entries have already started to flood in on YouTube, and the horror being featured caters for all tastes. So far there are stories of social media stalkers, deals with the devil, and even suffocation. Director David James Holloway has crafted a story focussing on online gambling, suffocation, and how far people will go to be entertained. Still in post-production this short, Breathe, is the perfect example of a great idea that can be turned into a feature. All we can do is wait and see if it truly is as horrifying as it sounds on paper.
Once again, the deadline for the competition is 22nd July. If by then you can create a three-minute piece of scary, yet cinematic beauty, you could jumpstart your career towards insurmountable plains of success. As they say on their website, good luck.