For every Courtney Cox discovered at a Bruce Springsteen concert, there are a million people auditioning for their big break. For every Martin Scorsese there are a million film students verbally dissecting Taxi Driver scene by agonizing scene to figure out exactly how he did it. For every Blair Witch Project there are a million small budget movies and short films that will never see the bright xenon lights of a movie house projector.
Whether your ambition is to be the star, the script writer, the director or the soundman, its hard to get your foot in the door sometimes. Being discovered for your talents is as much a matter of random chance as it is of hard work and persistence.
However, there are a few things you can do to improve your odds. The Internet is offering a number of aspiring Hollywood-wannabes the opportunity to showcase their work to a large audience of people, including some of the people who have the power to add your dream to the factory. You can post short films and animation on several popular high-bandwith sites where they can be accessed by anyone at anytime. Some of the best work has turned into series with their own cult following. The best of the best typically go on to bigger things.
Why would you want to display your work? The first reason is for the experience of putting something together and posting it on the Web. If you do it well, its something to put on the resume.
The second reason to post is feedback. People are free to input their reviews and views on anything anonymously, so if you can stand a little constructive criticism this is a valuable tool to help you advance your craft.
The third reason is exposure. You dont get paid, but the more people who watch your short and give it a favourable review, the more prominently your work will be displayed on the site. The more people who see your work, the better.
And if you could care less about making it to Hollywood, these sites are a great way to entertain yourself, and kill a little time.
You will need a fast Internet connection and all of the multimedia toys Windows Media Player, RealPlayer, QuickTime, Shockwave and Flash. Go to http://browserwatch.internet.com/plug-in.html to find everything you need.
iFilm, the Internet Movie Guide is one of the most comprehensive movie sites on the Web with tons of categories to choose from. The front page is frequently updated to direct you to all the new and popular shorts in the library that fall into a wide range of categories, from animation to comedy to science fiction. Most of the material is original, some of its spoofed, but all of the productions passes the mustard in terms of the entertainment factor and quality.
You can also find television clips, commercials, music videos, movie previews, and other tidbits.
I have no idea how many shorts in total can be found on iFilm, but it appears to be endless. You might want to check with your Internet provider to find what your download limitations are for a given month because once you get into this site you could easily find yourself over the limit.
Atom Films hosts a lot of the same content as iFilm, but with more of an emphasis on animation and comedy, typically of the dark variety. There is also an emphasis on Macromedia software, including Flash and Shockwave platforms.
Many of the features are regular and have huge cult followings and are well into their second, or third season.
This site is almost entirely dedicated to animation, although you can find the odd footage of two soccer players colliding or something of that nature. A lot of the material is edgy, and by edgy I mean incredibly offensive The "Booty Call" choose your own adventure series has more than 30 episodes.