Following up on a previous essay, “An Experiment In Narrative”, Matt Barry has written a broader survey of the state of Internet cinema, in which he argues that the term “short film”, with all its (increasingly irrelevant) cultural baggage, needs to be abandoned. Distinguishing something as a “short film” implies that regular films are “long”, but today, on the Internet, regular films are short — long films are the exception. In some ways it would make more sense to refer to those things they're showing at the multiplexes as “long films”.
The question, of course, is one of orientation in a time when the mainstream of cinema is shifting. I would guess that for most people under the age of forty, most of the films they watch in any given year, by far, are short Internet movies — feature-length films, seen in theaters or on DVD, would run a distant second. So what do we mean when we talk about “the movies” today? Where is the real center of the form?
Matt also makes a useful distinction between “narrative” and “story”. To my way of thinking, a narrative, a logical exposition of a sequence of events, is not by any means always a story. To me, a story is something that makes you lean forward and say, “Wait a minute, how did this happen — what's going to happen next?” A narrative doesn't automatically do this.
Check out the essay here: