Short subject

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Early American actor William Garwood starred in many short movies, many of which were only 20 minutes in length.

Short subject is a format description originally coined in the North American movie industry in the early period of cinema. The description is now used almost interchangeably with short film; either term is often abbreviated to short (as a noun, e.g. 'a short'). Although the North American definition generally refers to movies of between 20 and 40 minutes long, the definition refers to much shorter movies in Europe, Latin America and Australasia. In New Zealand, for instance, the description can be used to describe any movie that has a duration longer than 1 minute and shorter than 15 minutes. The North American definition also tends to focus much more on character whereas the European and Australasian forms tend to depend much more on visual drama and plot twists. In this way, the North American form can be understood to be a derivation of the feature movie form, usually acting as a platform for aspirant Hollywood directors. Elsewhere, short movies tend to work as showcases for cinematographers and commercial directors.

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