Dan Trachtenberg's unoffficial short film Portal: No Escape, based on Valve Software's videogame series Portal, brings to mind a few talking points. One of them: if you want eyeballs on your short, picking an existing franchise is a great way to ensure you'll get them (of course, Hollywood uses this same logic to make remakes and adaptations ad naseum). You could do worse than a franchise like Portal, though, which is a terrifically clever series (Portal 2 is one of two videogames I've found time to play in the past year). Shot on a RED with anamorphic lenses, the short is extremely well-made:
One interesting departure from Valve's storyline is that Portal, very notably, (minor spoiler alert, although any trailer will reveal the same thing) does not feature any people in the game other than yourself.
A behind-the-scenes video is apparently on the way.
Video is no longer available: twitter.com/#!/DannyTRS/status/106156716978208768
Video is no longer available: twitter.com/#!/DannyTRS/status/106150664639479808
Finally, here is another short from Dan, this one for BlackboxTV, which appears to be between seasons (or over?):
No matter how you feel about short films, they're most often calling cards made in hopes of garnering the filmmaker more work or enabling a next project to get made. With that in mind, making a fan film can certainly help one achieve that goal, despite being unauthorized. Are there any existing movies/video games/comic books that you would consider adapting into a short film in order to showcase your filmmaking abilities?