Q. I just watched a trailer for a movie that is similar to a short film I'm about to start. Should I still make it? I'm actually encouraged by the fact that I had an idea that someone else had, and that it was good enough for a feature. So I want to press on, but I'm wondering if it would be worth it, especially if people can look at it and say "that's just like so and so." I had no real plans for this becoming a feature, but the response I got from my readings were so positive I pushed it to the front of my project list. What do you think? Shelve it and work on something else, or say "to hell with it, I'm going with my idea!"
A short film depends much more than a feature film on the central concept. If your central conceit isn't fresh, then you're not going to get a lot of attention out of your short film.
To some degree it depends on how similar the two ideas are. But if you can pull the plug on the short at this point, I would probably shoot something else right now.
On the other hand, yes, be happy that you're in the zeitgeist. I've been scooped by a few movies and a few TV shows. It is disappointing to write off a screenplay you've worked hard on, but good to know I wasn't out in left field.
Wow! Thanks for the response. Can I throw another variable into the equation... The feature is being released in the UK, and might not have a US release. Does that change things? We were holding our first casting call this weekend, and I'm afraid I'll lose momentum if I cancel abruptly.
Sure, it changes things. But if the movie eventually gets a US release, or has visibility in US showbiz, you're back to square one.
You can, of course, do the casting call and then decide whether to make the film. Not very nice to the actors, though.
Look, it's your call, but if you can pull the plug now, you're better off than if you shoot the thing and then the picture gets a US release date.
Thanks a million!
So, we moved forward with the short film, finished it, and premiered it this week. Everyone loved it! It was amazing to have such a great reaction to our hard work. Thank you for the help. I know you're busy, but here is a link to the short's web site where you can watch a teaser. Thanks again!
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