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The Rise of Vertical Shorts to Prove Extraordinary Talent



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Introduction to Vertical Shorts


Vertical short series have become an increasingly popular medium in the digital content landscape, particularly suited for mobile viewing. These films utilize a vertical (9:16) aspect ratio, aligning perfectly with how users naturally hold their smartphones. Unlike traditional horizontal videos, vertical short films provide an immersive and engaging experience specifically tailored for mobile devices. They offer endless entertainment with a variety of exclusive and diverse content that keeps viewers continuously engaged.


The History of Vertical Short Films


Early Beginnings and Social Media Influence


The journey of vertical short films began with social media platforms that emphasized mobile-first content. Snapchat was among the pioneers, introducing the vertical format to a wide audience. This was soon followed by Instagram Stories and TikTok, which demonstrated the potential of vertical videos in capturing attention and delivering quick, engaging content​ (LBBOnline)​​ (New Atlas)​. Platforms like ReelShort have further capitalized on this trend by offering exclusive vertical TV shows with minute-long episodes, appealing to on-the-go viewers.


Professional Content and Exclusive Vertical TV Shows


The concept gained significant traction with the launch of Quibi in 2020, a platform specifically designed for short, mobile-friendly content. Despite its eventual failure, Quibi showcased the potential for high-quality vertical content and inspired other platforms to explore this format further​. (New Atlas)​. Many of these platforms now offer exclusive vertical TV shows, highlighting the unique nature of their content.


Vertical Film Festivals


The Vertical Film Festival, established in 2014 in Australia, has played a crucial role in legitimizing vertical filmmaking. The festival encourages filmmakers to explore the aesthetic possibilities of the vertical format and features a wide range of entries, from experimental films to documentaries and animations​ (Adam Sébire)​. Additionally, it showcases epic comeback stories, adding to the diverse and engaging content available for viewers.


Evolution and Impact of Vertical Shorts


Innovative Filmmaking with Minute Long Episodes


Notable filmmakers have embraced vertical formats, pushing the boundaries of traditional cinematography. Damien Chazelle’s “The Stunt Double,” for instance, showcased how vertical storytelling could reimagine cinematic techniques for a mobile audience​ (Film School Rejects)​.


Pandemic Popularity in China 


The COVID-19 pandemic saw a significant surge in the popularity of vertical short films in China. As lockdowns confined people to their homes, mobile usage soared, and vertical short videos became a primary source of entertainment and information. Platforms like Douyin (the Chinese version of TikTok) and Kuaishou experienced exponential growth, with users and creators turning to vertical short films for quick, engaging content. This trend not only provided a creative outlet during the isolation but also fostered a community-driven approach to content creation, solidifying vertical short films as a dominant format in the Chinese digital landscape. Additionally, the rise of bite-sized originals offered exclusive and addicting content that could be enjoyed on the go.


US Expansion


Following the success of these series in China, digital content innovators started producing the series in English in order to appeal to audiences in the U.S. and abroad. The series and format proved popular in the US too, with many English-language series receiving millions of views, and making the larger distributors quite successful. Both The New York Times and Rolling Stone have published articles about this innovative format in 2024. This platform allows users to watch movies on the go, offering exclusive and addictive content with a pay-as-you-go option.


Platforms Dedicated to Limitless Addicting Content


Several platforms have emerged, focusing exclusively on vertical short films, catering to a growing audience that prefers mobile viewing. The following are 3 popular platforms, though there are several others:

  1. ReelShort: Known for its vertical short-form dramas and content, ReelShort operates with a model similar to microtransaction games, allowing viewers to unlock episodes through in-app purchases or by engaging with ads​ (MIT Technology Review)​.

  2. DramaBox and FlexTV: These platforms produce localized short vertical dramas with strong plot twists and quick story arcs, designed to meet the preferences of mobile viewers. FlexTV, for instance, produces content in partnership with local industries, enhancing its appeal to diverse audiences​ (MIT Technology Review)​.

These platforms often offer free rewards such as unlimited access, earning coins, and unlocking episodes without paying.


Vertical Shorts and Extraordinary Talent

Showcasing Talent for O-1 Visa Applications

For individuals seeking O-1 Visas, which are granted to those with extraordinary abilities and achievements in film/TV, the arts, sciences, education, business, or athletics, vertical shorts offer a compelling medium to showcase their talents. The concise and visually engaging format of vertical shorts allows applicants to present their achievements effectively, making a strong and immediate impression on reviewers.

Hollywood Quality Success Stories

Exclusive content on vertical shorts has enabled numerous creative professionals to successfully highlight their work and secure their O-1 Visas. Global Talent Immigration has secured O-1’s for Actors, Producers, Editors, Sound Engineers and more, underscoring the potential of vertical shorts to demonstrate extraordinary talent convincingly and efficiently​ (LBBOnline)​​ (New Atlas)​.


Conclusion: The Future of Vertical Shorts

As digital media continues to evolve, the use of vertical shorts is likely to become even more prevalent, particularly in fields requiring the demonstration of extraordinary talent. These films offer a modern and efficient way to present achievements, making them a valuable tools for O-1 Visa applicants. The future of talent recognition will undoubtedly see an increased reliance on innovative formats like vertical shorts, driven by dedicated platforms that cater to mobile-first audiences​ (Film School Rejects)​​ (Adam Sébire)​. Stay tuned for future updates and improvements in this exciting area.

For more information on O-1 Visas and how vertical shorts can be utilized, visit Global Talent Immigration Law Group. To understand the legal guidelines and requirements for the O-1 Visa, check out the USCIS O-1 Visa Information.

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