Do you buy short films? How many have you purchased?
The t-shirt, mug... idea is interesting. Do you have any t-shirts or mugs from short films?
Have you ever paid to watch a short film? Where do you go to watch them?
First off, congrats on completing your short film! That’s the major hurdle, and you’ve cleared it.
Rik raises many good questions. Give those some serious thought.
Personally, if you’re just getting yourself established in filmmaking, I’d keep the film off the Internet for now and start pushing it to local and regional film festivals. The reason not to post it is that some festivals have strict submission guidelines that the film must not have been published prior to the festival. Post it on Vimeo, YouTube, or wherever else, and you’ve knocked yourself out of those festivals.
Festivals can be be a great way to get diverse feedback from audiences, should your film be accepted. And if none of the festivals accept it, then you can look at publishing online. Either way, this will give you lots of good information to help you with your next project. And if you end up with a couple of film fest laurels (even “official selection”), more power to you! While those events aren’t career-building/defining by any stretch, they are helpful. You’ll get feedback, you’ll network and meet other folks in the production community, and you’ll get a little experience in self-marketing your films.
Depends on if this is your first film, why you made it, and how good it is.
Usually all of what you said is planned before the film goes into production, but here's an idea:
Upload to VIMEO and password protect it. (This is how you can submit festival screenings too).
I would forward the film privately to others for feedback. You can even send my way for some if you like.
Based on audience feedback, decide if you have something marketable or not. If not, decide if you want to fix those issues and try again or... Work toward the next project with higher release goals already in mind.
The point of a short film is to either convey a distinct message to an audience quickly and effectively, or practice for bigger works. Almost no-one works on short films for money/profit. Unless they already have an audience that demands the film (i.e. Star Wars fan films)
They are concepts for bigger ideas, messages catering to a tight nit crowd, or a showcase of talent. Not financially sustainable in really any way.
The only way you would be able to sustain profit from shorts is based on views and subscribers. It takes usually more time than it would to make a feature film for a channel build that large of an audience on Youtube or the like.
If you are going for it with a serious film you can consider:
Festival submission in your area/genre
Select international festivals
Teaser video (Why for a short? Because it is not online and you need to blast social media with actual content not just words.)
Behind-the-scenes video, production stills, funny stories can add bulk to your sm campaign
A well put together outfit for festival networking (doesn't matter if you wear a suit or dress rock n roll you need to look like you care and not like you are shopping at Walmart)
Set up meetings using FB events/LinkedIn to meet and greet (Ex: If your film plays at 5, announce an afterparty and welcome industry pros to network. Set up special pricing with the venue or do it during happy hour. Create an invitation and bring them to your screening to hand out but don't make it spammy, talk to people first, invite them.)
Thanks for all the responses! -will follow many, if not all of the suggestions...
1. Make DVD copies and give to everyone, not sell.. (make a t-shirt and mug for myself)
2. Submit to festivals and see how that goes..
3. In the future, upload to Vimeo and password protect
4. Always writing and re-writing the next project, that never stops.
Of course, it depends on what your specific goals are: make money, get a career going, make another film, get famous, etc...
+1 for Film Festivals, generally speaking. It's a fantastic way to meet all sorts of people (I met a guy on a bus, who got my number, he then literally won an Academy Award, and moved in down the street from me. No idea.). BUT the absolute best part of a festival is that you get to meet, listen, and interact with a REAL AUDIENCE. None of this YouTube garbage. Real humans. And, maybe it's the romantic in me, it saved my career at one point - just reconnecting with the audience again.
Suggestions, if you're going to do the film festivals racket, it takes at least 6 months of planning. Once there, you will go to lots of parties and meet a bunch of people, so use those 6 months to start working on your next project so you can talk about it at said parties. Make some cool little handouts for the festival and a couple posters.