SHORTED: Call Out for Short Film Ideas for Channel 4

Posted on 16th June 2017
  • 28th July 2017
  • 10.30am - 8.00pm

Cobalt Studios
10 Boyd Street
Newcastle Upon Tyne

Northern Film + Media and Channel 4 present the SHORTED live film experiment.

On Friday 28th July ten filmmaking teams will descend on Cobalt Studios and have just 6 hours to shoot and edit a teaser for a short film idea.

The day will wrap with a screening and presentation event with an audience of fellow filmmakers, overseen by Channel 4 Commissioning Editor Catherine Bray. Each filmmaker will have 6 minutes to screen and talk about their work. Catherine will then choose her favourite idea to make into a short film for broadcast in Channel 4’s innovative Random Act strand. The selected filmmaker will receive £4,000 plus support from a film industry mentor to realise their film.

The SHORTED production day is about being playful, taking risks and having a spontaneous approach to your practice. Random Acts films are a maximum of 3 minutes long and are angled as the boldest and most innovative short films in the world. With this in mind Channel 4 are looking for strong, risk-taking original ideas that will stand out in the television schedule and online.

How will it work?

Up to 10 shortlisted filmmakers and their professional actors (supplied by NFM) will have 6 hours to make a tantalising taster of their short film idea. Selected filmmakers will check in that morning at the production hub, Cobalt Studios in Newcastle, and meet up with the professional actors who will play the central roles in their ‘taster’. Filmmakers can shoot and edit on any format but must provide their own camera and laptop for editing. How you go about making your taster is up to you. You could shoot a pivotal scene or moment, a character study, trailer or the whole darn thing. What matters most is conveying a compelling vision to Channel 4 – one which expresses your unique style, inventiveness, ambition and creativity.


To take part in the SHORTED film challenge you/your team need to complete the idea submission form and monitoring form and return them by email to Roxy Mckenna by noon on 15th July 2017. Both forms are available to download at the bottom of this page.

Please note, you do not need to have a team in place in order to apply and you do not need a finished script. Apply with your idea and we will talk to you about putting a team together if you need help with that. If you would rather work on your own or already have a team in mind that’s fine too.

Important Information:

  •  SHORTED is open to artists and filmmakers based in the North East region only (Northumberland, Tyne & Wear, County Durham and Tees Valley).
  • Applicants must be over 25 years old and not in full-time or undergraduate education. If you are under 25 and interested in making a Random Act you can contact the Random Act Network Centre North
  • Applicants must be available to take part in the SHORTED production day at Cobalt Studios, Newcastle on 28th July 2017, from 10.30am – 8pm. Filmmakers will have 6 hours (from 11am – 5pm) to shoot and edit a short filmed piece in support of their Random Acts idea. This will then be presented to Channel 4 at the live event 6pm – 8pm. Each filmmaker must bring their own equipment to shoot and edit. This does not need to be professional standard equipment. We are looking for rough and ready bold expressions of creativity. In the spirit of the spontaneous nature of the event we ask that no footage is shot in advance of day.
  • Each shortlisted applicant will receive a bursary of £200 to take part in the day which will be awarded on completion of the day via invoice.
  • We are happy to receive collaborative ideas, involving more than one filmmaker. Please note that the bursary will be per idea rather than per filmmaker.
  • Deadline for submission of ideas is noon on 15h July 2017. Filmmakers will be notified by 18th July 2017.
  • Submissions will be selected by Channel 4 and Northern Film + Media. The Random Act commission will be selected by Catherine Bray, Random Acts Commissioning Editor, Channel 4 at the event on the 28th July.
  • If your film idea is commissioned you must be able to deliver your completed 3 minute film to television broadcast standards by 15th October 2017. NFM will support you to do this.

SHORTED is a Northern Film + Media initiative funded by Arts Council England, Channel 4 and European Regional Development Fund. SHORTED 2017 is based on original formats designed by Bev Fox and Ian McLaughlin of Improactive (creators of ‘Shorted’ and ‘4 Hour Film Challenge’)

If you have any further questions about Shorted please contact Roxy Mckenna, Projects Manager, Northern Film + Media.

Read more about the Artist Filmmaker Network programme of events here.

Images. Preview: still from Heather Phillipson, Splashy Phasings (Random Acts, 2013). This page: still from Ben Jeans Houghton, That Thin Place (Artist’s Cut, 2014).


Application and Monitoring Form

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