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8 Tips to Get Your Short Movie to Go Viral

November 17th, 2016 |

8 Tips to Get Your Short Movie to Go ViralSo, you’re ready to get your short film to go viral, right? Here are our 8 best tips for making that happen, no matter what kind of film it is or what your other goals might be. It’s no small feat to get a short movie to go viral, but if you play your cards right you might achieve viral video success.

Be visually unique with great music and sound

Going viral means stimulating people enough to prompt them to share your work. Your short movie has to be visually unique, and have a level of visual impact and powerful sound that motivates that sharing behavior. If your film can rescue people from their daily grind for a few minutes and catch them off-guard, they are more likely to pass that experience on. It has to have its own unique style and a very good track can boost the engagement as well.

Tell a story and trigger the right emotional response

People crave stories; they are the basis of books, television, movies, much of the visual arts, and they are central to how we all entertain and educate ourselves every day. The best stories trigger emotional responses, and those that trigger powerful emotions like amusement, anger, awe, anxiety, and excitement create viral lift.

Keep it short

Keep your movie short if you want people to watch it, because length is the first thing people look at when they decide whether or not to watch something. Two minutes or less is safest for viral spreading.

Don’t neglect your marketing plan

We know what you’re thinking: if you spend time on marketing your short movie and it goes nowhere, it’s embarrassing and demoralizing. However, if you don’t market and study how to maximize your reach, you all but guarantee that your creation won’t go viral. If you want a real shot and getting those shares, research which channels will be right for your movie. Check Reddit and Stumbleupon for where your movie fits in, and A/B test titles if you can as you start moving your film through your channels.

Timing is everything

A 3:00am Saturday release is probably not the best time for your viral attempt—but do your homework about when your audience is online and find out. Generally, people watch YouTube and read news at work, so release your short movie on a Monday or Tuesday morning to give it a chance to get seen and shared throughout the work week. Avoid a busy news day and holidays, too.8 Tips to Get Your Short Movie to Go Viral

Know your potential stakeholders

Think of this as product placement; anything you use in your short film should be linked in your YouTube description. That way if the movie starts taking off, those stakeholders can help with the sharing and get in on the action, too (and give you another viral lift).

Piggyback where you can

Although you want to create an original product, piggyback on existing successes where it’s appropriate. If your short movie relates to another successful work, target that audience. You should also look for cultural events that you can use as “tent-poles”; for example, if you’ve got a spooky thriller, use Halloween season to boost your release.

Focus on title and description

On YouTube, titles and descriptions are really important to SEO and shareability. Create a title that describes the short movie easily, one that people can easily remember. Use keywords in your description, and if you’re not sure which to use, make use of a keyword tool like the Google AdWords Keyword Planner. Don’t forget your tags and a good thumbnail image.


If you’ve taken the time to create a unique, visually stunning short movie with an amazing soundtrack that tells a story and triggers the right emotional responses, you’re halfway to viral success. By crafting a marketing plan, knowing and targeting your audience and stakeholders, timing your release properly, and titling and describing your film carefully, you can get your short movie the rest of the way there. These 8 tips for getting your short movie to go viral are simple enough for anyone to implement, so don’t miss your chance!

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About the Author:

Social Media Coordinator, Educational Representative and Platt College VFX Alumni. Likes bunnies, video games, cooking and taking frequent trips to Disneyland.

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