Making movies is, economically, a matter of scale: time, manpower, money. In the early days of cinema, movies were compressed into tiny lengths, often without cuts. Now, “microfilms” are exploding again. You could look for deeper cultural meaning to short-form production, but for those of us with limited resources, shorter lengths can mean more elegant finished products and more practical production.

The big question, though: can these be any good? Bookshorts has produced a tight, witty adaptation of Douglas Coupland’s novel JPod that makes the miniaturization feel necessary. And it makes the movie feel independent from the book. Of course, I’m fairly certain your office and your coworkers aren’t as attractive to look at / polished / tidy as the ones in this semi-escapist production. (If I’m wrong, congrats!)

(Warning: a couple little spoilers in here if you haven’t read the book. Then again, maybe 4-minute films will prevent you from having to read books ever again.)

Aside from indie moviemakers, I think this format has real promise for visualists wanting to make miniature productions. (It gets my head turning, anyway, in a way “yet another music video” doesn’t necessarily.)

Interestingly, it’s coming to movie theaters, but micro-distribution of micro-films seems even more likely … maybe even on giveaway DVDs. (Speaking of which, notice the encoding problems? Interlacing issues? I have to spend some time uploading to and see if I can sort these.)

Via Todd Jatras at Wired’s Listening Post:
I Want My Book-based Film Shorts