By Chris Shaddock
This article was originally published in Issue 11, Fiftieth Year of The Minstrel (March 24, 2016). Click here to view the entire issue.
YouTube allows people to express themselves by uploading videos, but it can be hard for college students interested in film to get their work noticed since the website is saturated with many videos and more being added each day. These were the thoughts on Professor Susan Lehman’s mind when she came up with the idea of ShortsU.com.
This site is a place where student filmmakers can upload their video content on a site completely dedicated to them. Shorts U gives students an opportunity to show their work without having to worry about being overshadowed by the billions of other videos uploaded to YouTube.
“YouTube is an ocean that takes in every fish and minnow and shark and everything else,” said Lehman. “So you can post your grandmother’s birthday party, or a cat video, or some shenanigans that somebody’s going to regret seeing in 20 years. Or you can post serious filmmaking. ShortsU.com is for students; anyone can view it, but it’s a pond of student storytellers.”
Lehman also mentioned that all kinds of video content is welcome on Shorts U, whether it be a comedy or a drama. The only qualification is filmmaking of some sort.
Any student interested in filmmaking can upload videos through ShortsU.com by using their .edu email. An estimated 3,100 colleges and universities, including DeSales, will be involved with ShortsU.com, which is completely free for uploading and viewing videos.
“As a student going on there, posting your own work is a chance to communicate and collaborate with other filmmakers from not just your university, but from other people at NYU, Stanford, the list just goes on and on and on,” said Monica Lickona, a senior TV/film major who is the production coordinator for Shorts U. “But as a student that’s a really big perk, and filmmaking is all about communication and networking and finding people that you want to work with and connect with.”
Shorts U also helps students interested in filmmaking as a career because it is easier for them to get noticed by professional filmmakers, production companies and Hollywood agencies who are looking for young talent. Lickona mentioned that student filmmakers can even use their Shorts U page as a portfolio for future employers. As of now, ShortsU.com is not up, but will feature a student page where all the videos a student uploaded will be in one place, a college page where students can view the works of other students in different colleges and a video page where people can watch a student’s video and comment on them. Currently, they are trying to raise money on the crowdfunding website Indiegogo.com to make the website the best it can be. Their goal is to raise $35,000 by April 6 and as of April 1 have made $5,355.
According to Lehman, regardless of whether or not ShortsU.com reaches their crowdfunding goal, the site will go up. This is mainly because Lehman is intending to personally fund the rest of the site herself. ShortsU.com is supposed to be up three months after the crowdfunding ends, but Lehman said that the site will most likely be up sooner than that, aiming for the beginning of May. Anyone interested in funding or finding out more information on Shorts U can go to their Facebook page at facebook.com/shortsUcom, which has a link to their Indiegogo page as well.