1st June 2011 The Long Tail and the Scottish Short Films

long tail

Name of speaker and subject: Paul Bruce, Scottish Short Film Distribution

Title of talk: The Long Tail and Scottish Short Films
Bullet points of what you would like to cover:

  • Current State of Scottish Short Film Distribution
  • Opportunities in the digital age
  • Barriers to distribution

The term long tail has gained popularity in recent times as describing the retailing strategy of selling a large number of unique items with relatively small quantities sold of each – usually in addition to selling fewer popular items in large quantities. The long tail was popularized by Chris Anderson in an October 2004 Wired magazine article, in which he mentioned Amazon.com, Apple and Netflix as examples of businesses applying this strategy. Anderson elaborated the concept in his book The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business Is Selling Less of More.

The distribution and inventory costs of businesses successfully applying this strategy allow them to realize significant profit out of selling small volumes of hard-to-find items to many customers instead of only selling large volumes of a reduced number of popular items. The total sales of this large number of “non-hit items” is called “the long tail”.
Given enough choice, a large population of customers, and negligible stocking and distribution costs, the selection and buying pattern of the population results in the demand across products having a power law distribution or Pareto distribution.
The long tail concept has found some ground for application, research, and experimentation. It is a term used in online business, mass media, micro-finance (Grameen Bank, for example), user-driven innovation (Eric von Hippel), and social network mechanisms (e.g. crowdsourcing, crowdcasting, peer-to-peer), economic models, and marketing (viral marketing).
further information may be found:
A few words about you and your passion:

I love film-making and watching films and would like to see more Scottish films out in the big, wide world.  I would like to see a boom period in Scottish film-making both short and feature along with a greater diversity of the type of films being made.

A few lines about the history of your subject:

There is no real history of this subject, short films have been made in Scotland since the early days of cinema. Many of these are available for viewing on the Scottish Screen Archive.

Music by Henry Ibbs Band

Henry Ibbs Band

“The Henry Ibbs Band play ‘Mersey-sippi Gypsy Blues’, an eclectic assortment of music drawing from folk, swing, reggae, country and blues.  T.H.I.B. are Edinburgh based,  acoustic, energetic and fun.  Their set consists of mainly original material with about a third of their set relying on choice cover version and trad folk songs.  With vocal, guitar, violin and cajon, their intention is to at least get your feet tapping…..”


I love www.mudcat.org as a resource.  It’s basically a database of folk songs and it’s massive.  It doesn’t have any recordings as such of the songs, just the lyrics and sometimes a midi file of the melody can be downloaded and played on most media players.  Although there are issues with youtube regarding ownership of intellectual copy-write, I find it another great resource in assisting me in my work.


Forest logo

The Forest is one of Edinburgh’s last remaining open-access multi-arts venues, and has become a multi-award-winning

Fringe venue (The Forest Fringe). The volunteer-run charity operates an art gallery, theatre, performance and rehearsal spaces, a darkroom, a publishing house, a swap shop, a record label, a hairdresser, and a thriving vegetarian cafe. It has inspired like-minded projects and people all over the world, from Switzerland to Korea.

The Forest is not sponsored by the government, city council or the arts council. It has been been running a successful alternative business since it was established in August 2000, thanks to the commitment of a large and enthusiastic team of volunteers. It is a registered charity (SC038234), funded mainly by the Forest Cafe, and by the rental of facilities and the sale of books from Forest Publishing and music from Forest Records. In keeping with their ethos that art should be accessible, all of their events and workshops are free.
‘The Forest Cafe is one of those rare organisations left whose purpose is not personal or financial gain, but benefiting a community and its relationship to the arts. Even when the purse strings are tightest and the possibility for financial gain is greatest, the Forest Cafe prioritises its principles of being a free arts space for artists and the community.’