Sequin Raze -Blog Task 1

On a short film is said to be no longer than 50 minutes long to qualify at the Sundance festival and film 40 minutes and under is eligible for the short categories for The Academy Awards.

The process to a short film is very similar to a feature film in that they follow the same steps, which include;

  • Pre- Production
    Planning the film
  • Production
  • Post Production
  • Screening/distribution of films.

The short film that I’m going to be using as an example throughout this essay is an American short film Sequin Raze was written and directed by Sarah Gertrude Shapiro, David Cress and Erin Donovan serve as producers respectively they have worked on Restless (2011) and The Adults In The Room (2010) Ava Berkofsky worked the cinematographer worked on the film The Missing Girl (2015) and finally Sequin Raze was edited by Kelly Lyon who has served as an editor for Saturday Night Live and Portlandia (2011-2014).

Like many short films that get made Sarah started a kickstarter to raise funds. Kickstarter is a website where people can post projects/ideas such as such short films and ask for money from people who believe in their idea or who want to invest in it. On Kickstarter you can give people ‘rewards’ for giving/ pledging certain amounts of money. On the short film Sequin Raze she had different support rewards for people who pledge (gave) $5-$2000. The different rewards varied from a mention in the film credits to executive producer credit on the website, IMDb and in the film. Her initial starting price was $5,000 and she succeeded this and raised about $15,931. Looking at how Sarah funded her short film I think using something like Kickstarter is a great way for her to get funding for her film. In total 92 people backed the film and it beat the original target that was set. If I were to make my own short film I would definitely look into something like Kickstarter, and give different rewards/gifts to people who donate, doing something like this makes the people who are giving money towards your project ownership and a sense of happiness because they are helping your reach your dream.

Casting and looking for locations started on June 15 2012 and by July 2012 Sequin Raze was wrapped. What was good about the Kickstarter page which I would also take from is how she kept the backers updates about what was happening with the film and where it was at.

Originally made in 2013 the film was only released to the public in 2016 after film school shorts won the rights to exclusively premiere the show online just before the TV show based off the short film was released which I will talk about later on.

The film is based off her own experiences of working on the reality TV show The Bachelor. She wrote and directed Sequin Raze for The American Film Institute (AFI): Conservatory Directing Workshop for Women.

The short film follows Rebecca (Ashley Williams- How I Met Your Mother) as attempts to elicit a satisfying close on a reality dating show. ‘Rebecca will go to any lengths to get her interview — even exploiting sensitive information from the show’s psychologist.’ Determined to maintain composure on a national stage, the heartbroken and rejected contestant Jessica (Anna Camp- True Blood) wants a different ending. Frances Conroy (American Horror Story) also star as the shows psychologist.

When talking about the casting for the short film Sarah said that she had been very lucky in getting the cast she got. When casting Anna Camp she sent her in her own words ‘a crazy stalker email’ asking her to be in Sequin Raze- and she got the reply she was hoping for a she said she loved to be in it. With casting Ashley Williams Shapiro was a bit hesitant because she didn’t want to cast the Hollywood version of herself (someone who is skinner, prettier) because it was a character based off herself, but after a talk with her Mentor and two other people they showed her the benefits of having Ashley and how good of an actress she is. I think casting for a short film is something that can be interesting and fun; from watching lots of short films I noticed that a lot of ‘big’ actors do a lot of shorts, and I think this is an example for me to use in the future that I should be scared to get into contact with ‘big time’ actors because they might say yes.

When making short films many of the directors will enter them into film festivals such as;

  • The BFI London Film Festival
  • Sundance Film Festival
  • Raindance Film Festival

After Sarah Shapiro finished the short film Sequin Raze she entered it into film festivals such as SXSW (South by Southwest) in 2013. The year that she entered she was nominated for two awards, one being the competition award for narrative short film and the second nomination that she won was SXSW Grand Jury Award for Narrative Short. After the success of her short film Sarah was connected with the writer Marti Noxon. On July 30th 2013 Lifetime (a television channel in America) ordered a pilot for a show called UnREAL staring Shiri Appleby. The TV show is based off Sequin Raze. In early 2014 the show was ordered for a first season of 10 episodes and even today is still successful going into its third season.

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Andreeva, N. (2017). Lifetime Orders Marti Noxon Drama Pilot Based On Indie Short ‘Sequin Raze’. [online] Deadline. Available at: [Accessed 18th Jan 2017].

Carter, L. (2017). SXSW Interview: ‘Sequin Raze’ Director Sarah Gertrude Shapiro on How She Got Her Great Cast: “Psychotic luck” – Daily Actor. [online] Daily Actor. Available at: [Accessed 18th Jan 2017].

Carter, L., McKittrick, C., McKittrick, C., Post, G. and Post, G. (2017). SXSW Interview: ‘Sequin Raze’ Director Sarah Gertrude Shapiro on How She Got Her Great Cast: “Psychotic luck” – Daily Actor. [online] Daily Actor. Available at: [Accessed 18th Jan 2017].

Film School Shorts. (2017). Sequin Raze. [online] Available at: [Accessed 18th Jan 2017].

IMDb. (2017). Portlandia (TV Series 2011– ). [online] Available at: [Accessed 18th Jan 2017].

IMDb. (2017). Restless (2011). [online] Available at: [Accessed 18th Jan 2017].

IMDb. (2017). Sequin Raze. [online] Available at: [Accessed 18th Jan 2017].

IMDb. (2017). Sequin Raze. [online] Available at: [Accessed 18th Jan 2017].

IMDb. (2017). The Missing Girl (2015). [online] Available at: [Accessed 18th Jan 2017].

Kizu, K. (2017). Lifetime’s ‘UnREAL’: Watch The Short Film That Inspired the Hit Lifetime Series. [online] IndieWire. Available at: [Accessed 18th Jan 2017].

Lynch, J. (2017). A Filmmaker Gets an Opportunity of a Lifetime. [online] Available at: [Accessed 18th Jan 2017]. (2017). How Sarah Gertrude Shapiro went from working in Portland to co-creating ‘UnREAL’ for Lifetime. [online] Available at: [Accessed 18th Jan 2017].

PAPERMAG. (2017). Director Sarah Gertrude Shapiro On Destroying Beautiful Women in Sequin Raze. [online] Available at: [Accessed 18th Jan 2017]. (2017). A “short” is a shorter-than-feature-length movie. | [online] Available at: [Accessed 18th Jan 2017].

SEQUIN RAZE. (2013). America: Sarah Gertrude Shapiro.

Willmore, A. (2017). SXSW Short ‘Sequin Raze’ Becomes Lifetime Pilot ‘Unreal,’ With Marti Noxon to Executive Produce. [online] IndieWire. Available at: [Accessed 18th Jan 2017].


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