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Swimming Upstream: A Lifesaving Guide to Short Film Distribution Paperback – December 18, 2007


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Focal Press; 1 edition (December 18, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0240809556
  • ISBN-13: 978-0240809557
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,303,380 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Sharon Badal's information gathering uniquely appreciates the difficult balance between the art and business of filmmaking. Cinema without audience might as well be a great painting locked in a trunk in someone's basement. This book both helps locate the art and gives insight into how to set it free." - Jeffrey Abramson, Vice President of Film, Gen Art

"If you are a filmmaker with an interest in making short films you need to read Swimming Upstream. With refreshing candor, Sharon Badal has written a unique book that is a wealth of information and true-life inspiration."
-Jane Rosenthal, Co-Founder, Tribeca Film Festival

Forget everything you thought you knew about short films--this book is the real deal!

Brimming over with the collective wit, wisdom, and insights of the most important players in the world of short films, Sharon Badal's Swimming Upstream tells you everything you need to know about the making and marketing of short films, from original concept to international sales. In equal measures entertaining and essential, It should be required reading for anyone engaged in the art and business of short films.
--Darryl Macdonald, Executive Director, Palm Springs International Festival of Short Films

About the Author

Sharon Badal is a Short Film Programmer for the Tribeca Film Festival, screening over 1,500 submissions annually without losing her mind. She has been with the festival since its inception, and has produced special projects for various Tribeca entities since 1999, including the 2005 Sloan Film Summit for the Tribeca Film Institute. Sharon is a faculty member at New York University's renowned Tisch School of the Arts in the Kanbar Institute of Film and Television, teaching undergraduate courses in what she refers to as "the beginning and the end” of the filmmaking process - Producing Essentials and Film Distribution & Marketing. In addition, Sharon team-teaches The Business of Producing for NYU's prestigious Stern School of Business. As the self-proclaimed "empress of short film,” Sharon has served on the regional jury for the 2005 Student Academy Awards, and on the juries for the 2006 Palm Springs International Festival of Short Films and the 2007 Worldwide Short Film Festival in Toronto. For the past four years, Sharon has dedicated much of her free time to working for The Leary Firefighters Foundation, founded by actor Denis Leary. In 2007, she worked primarily on the Foundation's New Orleans Firehouse Restoration Project as well as on its annual fundraiser, The Bash for New York's Bravest. From her humble beginnings at age fourteen as an usher in her father's movie theatre, Sharon went on to hold executive positions in distribution for United Artists/MGM, Warner Brothers and Orion Pictures, and has worked on many live events, including projects for Walt Disney Feature Animation, ShowEast, Cinema Expo International, and the Independent Feature Film Market. She received her B.F.A. in film and television production and her M.A. in cinema studies and business, both from New York University. She loves Coney Island, searching for alien life, and chocolate in any form. Sharon lives in New York City, and there's no place else she'd rather be.

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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It truly covers all the angles and is a fast but QUALITY read.
AlexJaye
Ms. Badal provides great insight for short filmmakers, with tremendous candor and wit that keeps you from putting down the book.
L. B. Shepher
This book is an essential read for students, filmmakers, anyone interested in (short) film distribution.
Big X

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Kate Greer on December 3, 2010
Format: Paperback
How great is this book!
My copy has blue post-it notes on practically every chapter.
I have been referring to it, as I finally begin to navigate the waters of getting my own short film out there and seen. There are so many gold nuggets in each chapter, specifically the section on marketing, tag-lines & festival strategies. Sharon Badal keeps it personal by adding her own practical "helpful hints" in each category.

She also sheds a bright light into what is sometimes considered the hazy labyrinth of the film festival circuit, by including essays & conversations with the filmmakers, programmers and distributors themselves. These essays & interviews are incredibly insightful, and often very funny--and so make for a terrific read.

I can't wait to use the tools I found in this guide to start my festival strategies. Thank you, Sharon Badal for taking what is often presented as a dry topic, and making it fun and definitely user friendly. An incredible resource.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By notoriousfilms on December 5, 2010
Format: Paperback
It has taken me almost two years on the film festival circuit with my first short film to learn half of the things discussed in this very informative and inspiring book! I wish I had found this book when I first started sending out my short to film festivals and dealing with distribution companies. There are funny anecdotes, stories, and wise nuggets from filmmakers and industry professionals that are really speaking from years of experience.

Sharon Badal has compiled an amazing group of people who are responsible for programming, discovering, and creating some of the best and most original shorts in the world. As a filmmaker, it is also very inspiring to read about the humble, passionate beginnings of filmmakers like Peter Sollett and Ryan Fleck/Anna Boden, and how their short films opened the doors for their feature films.

This book is a must-read for anyone trying to break in with their short film!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By ayeball on November 17, 2008
Format: Paperback
Worth pointing out to short filmmakers across the globe who're in search of distribution advice that this book is very US-oriented - although Europe is briefly covered.

Whilst there are plenty of interesting interviews, anecdotes and sound advice, the book is not laid out in a manner that makes it easy to return to as a reference guide by those about to embark on the short film distribution journey.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Melissa Reis on April 4, 2009
Format: Paperback
This book is a must for anyone in the entertainment industry, or anyone just looking to find their way. The book gives a fresh perspective of the industry, and is filled with so much wisdom and heart, not to mention witty repartee and humor that will have you entertained for hours. I highly recommend this book. I keep reading certain excerpts and parts of the book to remind myself that I have the strength and courage to fulfill my dreams. Thank you Ms. Badal for writing and compiling this inspirational book.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Kimberly Adelman on March 17, 2008
Format: Paperback
I'm so glad I have another book to recommend to short filmmakers who are dying for advice on what to do with their short once they've made it. All 300 pages of this book are packed with great insider information from basically everyone who's anyone in the short film world. Buy this book, mark it up with a highlighter, and you'll be amazed how much better informed you are. And better yet, do all that before you even make your short!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Sky C. Soleil on September 24, 2008
Format: Paperback
I recently had the World Premiere of my short film "How My Dad Killed Dracula" at the Palm Springs International Film Festival back in August and had the pleasure of attending Sharon Badal's "Swimming Upstream" panel discussion at which several of the books contributors spoke. As I am relatively new to the festival world and even newer to the short film distribution market it was a highly informative discussion and a great introduction to the ever expanding world of short film distribution. I say "great introduction" because after the festival and after receiving offers from interested sales reps and distributors, I had an entire new set of questions that were not addressed in the panel discussion. I immediately turned to "Swimming Upstream: A Lifesaving Guide to Short Film Distribution" for help in navigating these new distribution channels and found answers to everything. The book is like having a one-on-one meeting with every "go to" person in the world of short films today. It's also a great tool for marketing, festival strategy building, and etiquette in today's market. I recommend getting this book before you make your short film, even before you ever write your first short film. It poses all the questions one should ask themselves before embarking on this competitive journey and provides a wealth of information on how to succeed from the people who want you to succeed.
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Format: Paperback
For less than the price of a single festival entry fee, you can buy "Swimming Upstream: A Lifesaving Guide to Short Film Distribution." The book in itself is like getting invited to a top-tier film festival: watching Q&As with established filmmakers, hearing panel presentation of leading distributors, and, perhaps best all, like sitting down at a breakfast buffet in the hotel where the festival has all the VIPs staying, and you turn to the person next to you a strike up a conversation. And maybe that person is Trevor Groth of Sundance or George Eldred of Aspen Short Fest or the author herself, Sharon Badal, NYU professor and programmer for Tribeca. It doesn't get any more A-List than this.

Even though technology and the world of media seems to be in perpetual flux, Swimming Upstream remains relevant. The book's tone is informative, but informal. Supportive and encouraging, but pragmatic. Short filmmaking has only increased in the years since this book's publication, and the insights from the leaders of the industry are still spot on. This is hard-earned wisdom from the very people who shape the world of short films, people who have devoted their careers to short films, who have been the programmers and distributors of short films for the past several years and, no doubt, will be the decision makers watching your film. Before you apply to any festival, read this book first.
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