Shorts, past and present - is there a difference?
The best most financially fruitful shorts programs all happened in the 30s and 40s.
Disney's shorts program allowed them to experiment with technique and develop their skills to the point where they could eventually create and make animated feature films and in the process push the whole medium forward.
Warner Bros.' shorts program developed the greatest Directors and created the most and best cartoon characters in history.
When I was a consultant for Fred Seibert at Hanna Barbera, I told him all this stuff and he decided it would be a good idea to start a shorts program of his own - to discover new talent and new characters for HB and the Cartoon Network.
It wasn't done as efficiently or logically as the old shorts programs of the 30s, and none of the modern shorts programs have been as successful as the classic ones that inspired them.
Today every TV studio has its own shorts program. Why? Because every other studio does, and studios copy trends without stopping to try to understand them. I've witnessed a lot of money wasted because of inefficient strategies and vague goals.
Maybe I can shed some light on why shorts programs yielded better results in days of yore by giving some details about not only the goals of a shorts program but how best to achieve them, following the models of classic Disney and Warner Bros.
1)To Discover Talent
Finding star talent is an immediately obvious goal of a shorts program, but it's not so obvious how to go about doing it - or hanging on to it.
There is more to discovering talent than just finding talented people. The people need experience and the ability to make some mistakes and more...I'll get into it in my next shorts post.
I can also relate some of my own experiences and lessons learned from study, practice and trial and error.