If you’re an independent filmmaker or just created your first short film, getting it seen can be a challenge. One great platform for showcasing short films to thousands of potential fans is Letterboxd.
This popular social networking site for cinephiles allows users to log, review, and discuss both feature-length and short-form films. With over 3 million members and growing, Letterboxd provides the perfect audience to showcase your work.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about getting your short film included in Letterboxd’s database and promoted to its vibrant community of movie lovers.
What is Letterboxd?
For those unfamiliar, Letterboxd is a social media site focused entirely on film. Often described as the IMDB meets Instagram for movies, it was launched in 2011 by Matthew Buchanan and Karl von Randow.
Some key things to know about the platform:
- Users can log, rate, and review films as well as create watchlists and interact in discussions.
- Both short and feature-length films are included. The site contains info on over 1 million different titles.
- In addition to classic movies, it has extensive coverage of film festival favorites and obscure art-house releases.
- Over 3 million registered users, many of whom are hardcore cinephiles. 60% of traffic comes from outside the US.
- Very filmmaker-friendly. Accounts are free and it provides detailed stats on views and reviews.
- iOS and Android apps make it easy to log and discuss films on the go.
- Selected films qualify for Letterboxd’s year-end short film awards.
If you want your short watched and talked about by film lovers around the world, Letterboxd is certainly a platform you want to be on. Next, let’s look at why you should submit your film.
Benefits of Having Your Short on Letterboxd
Being accepted to screen at prestigious film festivals like Sundance or Cannes certainly provides a big boost for a short film. But for most independent filmmakers, getting their work seen and appreciated by a broader audience can be a challenge.
Letterboxd helps remedy this by providing the following benefits:
The site’s community of millions of film fans provides the perfect audience to showcase your work. Tagging it with relevant genres or themes will get it visibility. Being on Letterboxd also increases the chances of it being found via search engines.
Build an Audience
By claiming your film’s page and interacting with viewers who log in or review it, you can directly engage your target audience. Building a following on Letterboxd can lead to opportunities down the road.
Positive ratings and reviews provide social proof and validate the quality of your film. Letterboxd’s stats can be used to showcase its popularity. Reviews may also give insight into how your work resonates with viewers.
Letterboxd provides view counts so you can quantify how many people have actually watched your short. You can also see demographic data on who’s viewing and what countries the traffic is coming from.
Selected shorts qualify for consideration in Letterboxd’s annual year-end awards. Having your film highlighted and potentially winning provides great exposure.
By engaging with reviewers or tagging relevant filmmakers/actors, you may find new collaborative opportunities or industry connections.
The platform’s community-centric focus makes it especially well-suited for independent filmmakers. So what does it take to actually get your short film included?
Criteria for Inclusion on Letterboxd
Letterboxd aims to be comprehensive but also has some standards for films to meet before being included in the database. Here are the key criteria:
Runtime of 40 Minutes or Less
Films must have a runtime of 40 minutes or less to qualify as a short on Letterboxd. This matches guidelines from the Academy Awards and festivals like Sundance. Go over and it’s considered a feature.
Public Screening Requirement
Your film must have had at least one public, commercial screening to be considered. This can be a festival showcase, theatrical release, or screening at an indie theater or venue.
In most cases, Letterboxd requires your short to be available to view online, whether via YouTube, Vimeo, an OTT platform like Amazon, or your own website. This ensures moderators can view and evaluate it.
Future Release Plan
If your film is not yet available to view online, you’ll need to provide details on its upcoming festival run, theatrical release, or streaming launch date. Essentially it needs to have a release plan.
General Quality Standards
Letterboxd does have certain standards when it comes to production quality, acting, pacing, and other attributes. Meeting film festival selection criteria is a good benchmark to aim for.
The site tends to be more flexible with experimental films and student work. But in general, shorts containing excessive nudity, violence, or other obscene content may have a harder time getting approved.
Ready to submit? Here are the steps to get your short included in Letterboxd’s database.
How to Get Your Short Film on Letterboxd
The process of submitting your short film to Letterboxd is relatively straightforward. Here is an overview of what’s involved:
Step 1 – Create a Letterboxd Account
First, you’ll need to sign up for a free personal account on Letterboxd if you don’t already have one. This will allow you to manage your film’s page once approved.
Step 2 – Find the Submission Form
In the site’s “More” menu is an option to “Submit a Short Film”. This will open a submission form where you can provide details on your film.
Step 3 – Enter Your Film’s Details
The form asks for basic info like the film’s title, logline, runtime, director(s), and release year. Any screening details, premiere date, online links, and other relevant info can also be included.
Step 4 – Provide a Link to View the Film
One of the most important parts is providing Letterboxd moderators a way to actually view your film. This is typically via a password-protected Vimeo or YouTube link.
Some other ways you can provide access:
- Screeners service like Festivve or FilmFreeway
- Password-protected link on your website
- FTP download
- Physical DVD/Blu-ray
Step 5 – Wait for it to be Reviewed
Letterboxd’s team will review your submission and decide whether to include it on the site. This process can take anywhere from two days to a few weeks depending on volume.
Step 6 – Provide any Additional Info if Needed
Sometimes, Letterboxd’s mods may request more details like cuts to meet runtime limits or to verify screening credentials. Be responsive to any follow up requests.
And that’s the basic submission process! Now let’s look at promoting your short once it’s accepted.
Promoting Your Short Film After Letterboxd Acceptance
Getting added to Letterboxd’s database is a great first step. But to maximize visibility, you’ll want to help promote your short film’s page once it’s accepted. Here are some tips:
- Claim Your Film’s Page – Once approved, you should claim your short film’s page to become its official admin. This lets you edit key details, add info, and interact with reviewers.
- Announce it on Social Media – Post on your social channels when your short goes live on Letterboxd. Share the news with wider film communities on Twitter (Now X), Reddit, Facebook groups, etc.
- Cross-Promote on Other Pages – If you have director, studio, or collective accounts on Letterboxd, promote its addition via those pages too. Have creatives involved and share it.
- Interact with Member Reviews – Reply to user reviews, thank those who rate it highly, and politely clear up any misconceptions. This builds rapport with your core audience.
- Add Tags and Details – Include relevant tags like genres, themes, tone, etc. to make it easily discoverable. Fill out cast, crew, filming locations, and other metadata.
- Log Your Own Diary Reviews – Add periodic diary entries with your thoughts on the film. This lets you highlight aspects you feel are important.
- Monitor Stats and Data – Check Letterboxd’s stats on views, likes, reviews, demographics, etc. This provides great insights into how viewers respond.
By taking the time to actively promote and monitor your film’s page, you can maximize the value of having it on Letterboxd. The more it gets engaged with, the more visibility it receives.
Key Takeaways on Getting Your Short on Letterboxd
Having your short film included on Letterboxd provides a huge opportunity to get it seen and talked about by thousands of passionate cinephiles. Here are some key takeaways:
- Letterboxd’s audience of film buffs makes it a great platform for independent shorts.
- Meeting their criteria around runtime, screening requirements, and quality will help with approval.
- Submit via their online form and provide a link for moderators to view it.
- Once added, actively promote and monitor your film’s page to drive visibility.
- Reviews, ratings, views, and awards provide validation and credibility.
- Engage Letterboxd’s community to connect with your target audience.
Getting your short film accepted to top festivals or securing a distribution deal remain top goals. But getting it seen and appreciated by general audiences is just as important. Letterboxd provides a way to do this that is free, filmmaker-friendly, and offers great exposure.
By following this guide, you can increase the visibility of your short film and utilize Letterboxd’s passionate community to drive engagement. So polish that logline, prep a link, and submit your film today to get it in front of thousands of potential new fans.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you get a film on Letterboxd?
To get a film on Letterboxd, you need to submit it through their official website. Provide details like the title, logline, runtime, screening info, and a link for moderators to view. Films must meet criteria like having public screenings and being under 40 min.
How do I get my short film seen?
Some ways to get your short film seen include applying to film festivals, distributing on platforms like YouTube/Vimeo, holding local screenings, submitting to review sites like Letterboxd, entering contests, and promoting on social media. Maximizing visibility helps attract an audience.
How do you get a short film published?
To get a short film published, you can pitch it to online indie film platforms like Short of the Week, ShortsTV, Omeleto, or Dust. Alternatively, submit it to festivals that may showcase it online if accepted. Self-publishing directly via your website or YouTube/Vimeo is another option.
Where can I sell my short film?
You can sell short films on digital marketplaces like BitPixie, Revry, and Filmhub. Additional options include DVD sales platforms like Kunaki and CreateSpace, licensing to streaming services or broadcasters, signing with a short film distributor, or using PPV platforms.
Can you get paid on Letterboxd?
Letterboxd doesn’t directly pay users. However, filmmakers can potentially monetize their short films indirectly via Letterboxd exposure leading to sales or distribution opportunities. The site also highlights qualifying shorts for annual awards.
Do any celebrities use Letterboxd?
Yes, many celebrities like actors, directors, and critics use Letterboxd to log and discuss films. This includes Edgar Wright, Taika Waititi, Aubrey Plaza, Barry Jenkins, James Gunn, and Roger Ebert among others.
Can I get paid to watch movies from home?
Some ways to potentially get paid to watch movies from home include joining focus groups, trying user testing sites like Userlytics or UserTesting, participating in academic studies, entering video review contests, or starting a monetized review channel on YouTube.
How much does it cost to be a Letterboxd Patron?
Letterboxd has three tiers for Patron status: Supporter ($3/month), Champion ($8/month), and Super Fan ($25/month). Each level provides perks like badge icons, profile backgrounds, and discount codes. The higher tiers offer additional benefits.