Summertime is upon us and for a lot of us in the community, this means its movie making time! Here are a few things to consider while you’re out making this one productive summer!

Important Tips for Submitting a Film to a Festival

As with any creative endeavor, there are ways you should and should not go about promoting yourself.  If you are in the film industry, creating films, then you are going to want to submit your works to festivals.  It’s the best way to get attention to your hard work, and the doors that open from a good showing at a fest can lead to the career you’ve always wanted.

So you’ve completed a film and now you know you have to submit it to as many festivals as you can.  You are right.  However, don’t mess up your life and career by going crazy on the promoters.  Remember, the judges of the film want you to succeed – if you’re worthy.  Don’t piss them off!  Here are some tips to make sure your film gets submitted with care and is ultimate accepted into film festivals!

 The Programmers by Default Like You

Sometimes it feels like those judging your film are just looking for ways to reject you.  that’s not the case – most programmers genuinely go into each film watching experience with an open mind.  They are quick to let those hopes be vanquished, but that doesn’t mean you weren’t given a fair chance.

 Name Dropping Will Get You Nowhere

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One thing that is extremely insufferable is a calculated and intentionally-placed reference to a more prestigious film festival, as if the fact that you submitted to Sundance is somehow going to impress the programmers from the Nashville Film Festival. If you think your casual dropping of the well-known name will be seen as a casual dropping of a well-known name, think again.  It’s as transparent as a glass of water.

Many Factors To Consider, Not Simply the Best of the Best

What if, objectively, of all the films submitted, the best 20 were all in the thriller category?  A programmer, hoping to make a good festival that will be well received and captivating for as large an audience as possible, couldn’t possible accept all and only those 20 films.  So while your film may be a gem, if it’s too similar to other films, it may get looked over.

 It’s All About the Follow Up

Following up is important, but that is itself an art.  If you think a daily email and phone call is casually keeping your name in their mind and that will help your film rise to the top, you are wrong.  Yes – they will remember your name, but not for the reasons you are wanting them to.  Seven days is a good amount of time for a follow up, perhaps less if deadlines are fast approaching.  However, the move is to respond to the initial email submission with a quick note, i.e., just following up on this, I know you’re busy!  Best, [me].  No need for anything more long-winded.

 Thick Skin Required

Remember, you’re happy to get in at all if you get in.  If you are accepted but offered a bad time slot – bad in your mind – do not be offended and certainly do not contact the programmers and demand reconsideration.  These people have a difficult job and they are doing their best.  If your film is slotted at a less than ideal time, perhaps it deserves to be.  The world is not out to get you.

Humility Goes A Long Way

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Humility wins more friends than does show boating and name dropping.  Be humble, be appreciative, be warm, be open.  If you put on an act to show how great you are, people will easily be able to detect it – accurately – as an act, and treat you deservingly.