Yes, Your Short Film Needs a Poster
If you have any intention of entering your short film into a festival, you can help to cut thru the clutter with a good poster. It won’t make a bad film good, but it will help a good film get noticed. A poster sets expectations, from the tone of the story to the craftsmanship of the filmmakers. And with entries outnumbering selections 10 to 1, you need an edge.
Start with a nicely composed shot of your principal actors (always get on-set photography—its much harder to make screen captures work.) Add a creative logotype (which you may also want to use on screen as well for better branding). Don’t forget a snappy tag line (which is designed to excite the potential viewer, unlike a log line which also describes the plot.) Being able to summarize your film in a compelling way is essential for promotion.
Once you have a poster, you can repurpose it as a Blu-ray cover, create a promotional postcard for festival screenings, or strip the type away and make it a thumbnail for streaming. (Not to mention that it makes a nice souvenir to share with cast and crew.) I’ve designed a poster for every one of my shorts (and dozen others) and I’ve got a few festival laurels in the bargain. They look very nice on the poster as well.