Adding internet shorts as Made for Video not clear

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Per IMDb rules, stand-alone web videos should be submitted as Made for Video. When creating a title page for a film (usually a short film) released online, this means ticking "Made for Video" rather than the first option, "Film", which says it includes feature films and short films. This is not clear, and the vast majority of web films I've seen on IMDb have been submitted wrong. I've just had to go through all the short films I've submitted and do a title correction.

The rules state that only theatrically released films should be marked as a film, so perhaps the format option for a new title should be changed from "Film" to "Theatrical Film", which would remove any ambiguity.

On a related note, if a short film can be classed as a film, but only if it's been theatrically released, how many short films are theatrically released? Modern short films are almost always released either online, on DVD or only shown at festival screenings (which don't count as a theatrical release on IMDb). Even professional shorts - the kind that win Oscars - are they theatrically released?
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Matt

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Posted 3 years ago

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gromit82, Champion

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Matt:
On a related note, if a short film can be classed as a film, but only if it's been theatrically released, how many short films are theatrically released? Modern short films are almost always released either online, on DVD or only shown at festival screenings (which don't count as a theatrical release on IMDb). Even professional shorts - the kind that win Oscars - are they theatrically released?
I'm not sure why you say that festival screenings don't count as theatrical releases on IMDb. They have counted as theatrical releases for years, long before direct-to-Internet videos were eligible for IMDb listing.

Also, all the Oscar-nominated shorts get a proper theatrical release nowadays after the nominations come out anyway, thanks to Shorts International. (See http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=2016oscarnominatedshortfilms.htm, for example.) 
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Matt

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Re: Festival screenings: This seems to suggest the opposite: http://www.imdb.com/help/search?domain=helpdesk_faq&index=1&file=titletypes&ref_=hlp_sr_...
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gromit82, Champion

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Matt: I am familiar with that page, but I tend not to place a lot of faith in it. If we stuck with the idea that a TV miniseries could only be 2 to 4 episodes, we wouldn't be able to classify some of the most famous miniseries of all time in the miniseries category, such as "Roots" or "The Winds of War".

I will try to call the IMDb staff's attention to this thread so we can get a definitive statement that a film festival showing does count as a theatrical release, at least for a made-for-theaters film.

(I am not ruling out the possibility that a made-for-television production could debut in a film festival as a special presentation while still being classified as a made-for-television production for IMDb purposes. But I think that would be the exception.)
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Matt

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To take this further, "Made for TV" and "Made for Video" are somewhat misleading, as it's not important what they were made for (the original intention for the release); it's only important how they were actually released. As your guidelines say, a film could have been made to be released in cinemas but ended up going straight to DVD. In that case, it wasn't technically made for video.

The options are currently...

Type:
  • Film (feature/short/documentary/etc)
  • Made for TV (series/mini-series/web-series/special/TV movie) 
  • Made for Video
  • Video Game
It would be clearer to change it to something like this...

Release: (or "Original Main Release" if you want to be clearer)

  • Cinema
  • Television / Web-series
  • Home Video / Internet Video
  • Video Game / App
It's kind of weird though that you have to select TV for web series. I understand that web series are formatted on IMDb the same as TV series; however, you currently have TV series and TV films, which are different formats, both under TV, so perhaps you could have Internet videos and web series both under Home Video / Internet. You could even split that category. Even if some of the options end up doing the same thing, it would be very helpful to users, especially less informed users, to have the choices very clear. At the moment, new users either put the information in wrong or are forced to read a whole lot of rules because the form may be too difficult to figure out immediately (which will put a lot of potential contributors off).

Some options, such as documentary, short and TV mini series, automatically add certain genres and keywords. Having a separate option for web series could automatically add web-series as a keyword, which is something many users will never know to do.
(Edited)