The platform is free to use for those who just want to watch shorts, but there is a paid tier as well ($9/month) for filmmakers looking to set up Shortverse profiles and for industry professionals who would like to take advantage of the tools offered by the site.
Features available to all users include:
- Access to watch short films and learn details about upcoming shorts
- User profiles that allow viewers to follow filmmakers
- Review sections in which the community can leave their thoughts and rate films
Features available to paying members include:
- Hosted and customizable film pages
- Free submission to Short of the Week
- Film release options, including setting up a page ahead of time to build buzz
- A profile page which the user can update with a full filmography and contact information
- Direct messaging between members
- A detailed search function to find films by rating, location, language, festival appearances, and more
- Extensive credits sections which link to the profiles of the professionals who worked on the films
It’s worth noting that Shortverse does not actually host the films, but instead offers a customizable landing page where filmmakers link to their films on streaming platforms like Youtube and Vimeo. The filmmakers need not lose view counts, monetization possibilities, or archived content from their other profiles by migrating their films to a new platform.
What users can do with that landing page, and the functionality of its features, is where the Shortverse team believes they’ve created something new and essential.
Ahead of the platform’s launch, Cartoon Brew spoke with Short of the Week co-founders Andy Allen and Jason Sondhi about launching their new endeavor, and what they are hoping to provide to the filmmaking and fan communities.
Cartoon Brew: How do artists stand to benefit from being a part of Shortverse?
Jason Sondhi: We think that artists working in short film should be able to gather on a digital platform that is designed for them. Rather than exclusively fight for attention on social and video platforms that want to be everything for everyone, short film artists deserve a space—and tools—that are thoughtfully designed for their needs. If we succeed at this, we will grow a community around Shortverse and it will be a place where filmmakers at varying stages of their development can release their work, receive real and thoughtful feedback, attract the attention of collaborators, and, in turn, get inspired by the work of their peers.
As the creators, what excites you most about this new platform?
Andy Allen: The current industry is so broken and insular, hiring the same types of people to make the same types of movies. We’re excited to see Shortverse open the playing field to the outsiders, those from non-traditional backgrounds with new voices and ideas we’ve never seen before. Watching a filmmaker like that put themselves out there and then be given bigger opportunities to shape culture at large is what we live for.
What problems that creators face today are you planning to solve with Shortverse?
Sondhi: The first big problem is that there does not exist a “home” for short film on the web. Vimeo was the closest to achieving this, but they have shifted their corporate strategy in recent years. A home for short film means a thoughtful place to present yourself and your work, where the attention is from people, both from within the industry and without, who are purposely seeking out quality, rather than having it shoved towards them by an algorithm.
Secondly, as we wrote about in 2018, there is a tendency to treat the various aspects of being a modern creative as separate from one another. Production is separate from exhibition, online is divorced from a festival, pitching is something that comes only after the current project is done. Shortverse is designed to be a resource that is useful across the entire lifetime of your project, and ultimately, career.
What tools will artists have access to that they didn’t before, or don’t elsewhere?
Allen: Shortverse combines many different tools that are spread across many platforms filmmakers use today. Filmmakers can now host a film page, control privacy, reach fans, and connect with industry professionals—all in one place. It’s a bit like a never-ending festival that’s open to the world.
What’s the most practical way that an artist can use this platform to promote their work before or long after it’s been released?
Allen: Filmmakers can spin up a film page on Shortverse as soon as their film is completed—just as you might push out a film website. If you do a festival run, you have a url that has all your film info, images, and contact info where you can direct any contacts you make at festivals and even set up private screeners. When you’re ready to release your film online, you can instantly notify all your fans and get it in front of industry members who can reach you directly.