With the MASSIVE announcement of Optus‘ Connect5 competition launching this week, your mind is probably already reeling with film ideas and one underlying message: just 5 minutes of footage for the chance to win up to USD $30k!
This crazy awesome experience is open to everyone – even those who can only film on a phone. But it’s important to remember that short films are very different to regular films. You may have some pretty grand ideas (centred around the competition theme of ‘connecting lives’, of course) but squishing your own version of the Lord of the Rings trilogy into just five minutes may need rethinking.
So, in order to be the best, let’s get some inspiration from the best! Here are five amazing short films to get the ideas rolling and the creativity flowing.
There’s nothing quite like a good love story, especially one that beats all odds and is animated by Walt Disney Animation Studios (the emotional puppeteers of my heart). Airing before the full length feature Wreck it Ralph, the short film is just over five minutes but still packs a powerful punch right to the feels. The film follows a lonely young man on his way to work who runs into a beautiful young woman at the train station. Fate brings the two together again when the young man spots the woman from a skyscraper and he constructs countless paper planes to catch her attention. This is such a simple and sweet story, you’d have to be made of stone not to love it. With a perfect combination of beautiful animation, true love and comedy, it’s no surprise this short took home an Oscar.
This old school two minute short proves that you don’t need tech to create a classic. Made in 1986 (aka the dark ages) the short gives the audience a bit more insight into the classic Pixar mascot. Although in the two minutes the short really only shows a lamp watch a tinier lamp play with a ball, it’s so goddamn cute! Never have I wanted to cuddle a lamp more. Even though the animation is so old, this short has stood the test of time because it doesn’t rely on flash effects, it’s all original and engaging content.
If this short film wasn’t the epitome of your childhood then what the hell were you doing at age five? Playing before Bug’s Life, this short is as clever as it is funny. Centered around the game of chess, elderly man Geri versus his greatest opponent: himself. This one absolutely blew my mind as a child, and it’s still as cheeky today.
Breaking away from the more lighthearted shorts on this list is undoubtedly one of the creepiest things I have ever seen, crammed into an intense 14 minutes: The iMom. The film explores what happens
when technology exceeds humanity and what price we’re willing to pay for convenience. The story centres around the newest household helper, a robotic parent and leads us to question what we prioritise over time with each other and the shortcomings of technology. This is an easily loveable film as it explores themes close to all of us: what it means to be human. It is, however, at it’s core a film made using a lot of tech criticising tech, so go figure.
The last film on our list is another cheesy love story, because I’m a love story kinda person. Embodying the teenage angst that followed you around your high school halls for six years, The Most Beautiful Thing is a simple love story with easily relatable characters and an amazing soundtrack. Following the life of a high school boy who feels invisible, the story explores how suddenly individuals become connected, even when a disability threatens to stand in the way. This concept is definitely good inspiration for Optus’ Connect5 theme of ‘Connecting Lives’. Overcoming the communication barriers between them, the two lovebirds use simple techniques to talk and their relationship blossoms. This short shows how people connect in a beautiful way. What’s also refreshing is that the young actors aren’t airbrushed models but everyday students. Yes, it’s cheesy, yes it’s angsty, but damn, it hits the right note.
This article has been sponsored by Optus.