Chaplin biographer David Robinson wrote this passage about English music hall, where Charlie learned his craft. It contains good advice for makers of short animation.
“A music hall act had to seize and hold it’s audience and to make it’s mark within a limited time – between six and sixteen minutes. The audience was not indulgent, and the competition was relentless. The performer in the music hall could not rely on a sympathetic context or build up : Sarah Bernhardt might find herself following Lockhart’s Elephants on the bill. So every performer had to learn the secrets of attack and structure, the need to give the act a crescendo – a beginning, a middle, and smashing exit to grab the applause.”