Is it worthwhile for an aspiring writer with no experience or job prospects to write and direct a short film if he thinks he has the right idea for an entertaining, short, and cheap film, as well as knowing people who can shoot it?
Absolutely. That’s what my very talented former assistant Rawson Thurber recently did. He wrote and directed a funny short film called "Terry Tate: Office Linebacker," which he later sold to Reebok and turned into a series of commercials that debuted in the Superbowl. He now has a movie to direct at Fox with Ben Stiller.
That’s a pretty extreme success story, but even if Rawson had followed a more typical career trajectory, the short film would have served him well. He could have gotten it into film festivals, hopefully attracting enough attention to land him an agent, and possibly the opportunity to direct videos, commercials or other projects. And since Rawson is also a writer, it was a good combination with the comedy script he’d written.
Making a good short film is an incredible amount of work, but it’s absolutely worthwhile if you have directing ambitions.