Wednesday, November 30, 2011

So You Want to Make a Movie - Festivals - 2

You’ve caught the bug, and you’ve decided to make a movie. But where do you start? The good news is today there are fewer barriers to overcome in order to produce a film. Thanks to digital filmmaking, the costs have dropped dramatically. In reality, practically anybody can become a filmmaker. There is no shortage of books, videos, and online resources to help get you started. No one article can answer all of your questions or take you through the entire process; however, I want to offer you 20 key steps that will at least steer you in the right direction. Think of these steps as the big picture or the 30,000 foot view.

Step 19. -  It’s your job to get an audience out to see your film.

If you have the money, you could hire a producer’s rep that has weight and pull with film festival managers, buyers and distributors. Their job is to get you noticed and get you meetings. They have the relationships. You don’t. They may be able to move you to the front of the line. But the producer’s rep does not come cheap. And remember, there’s no guarantee that the rep can get you a deal.

If you can’t hire a producer’s rep, you will have to do all of the work. One of the major goals at film festivals is to get reviewed by movie critics. Be proactive. Check to see if the local TV station or newspaper has a film critic. Call the critics directly to get them to see your film.

If your movie is not loved by one critic, move on. That’s just one person’s opinion. If you work at it, you will find a critic somewhere who is going to love your movie. Try to get your film into as many festivals as possible to generate positive word of mouth outside and inside the critics circle. It’s always better to approach a distributor with positive press and reviews. It can only help you.

Most filmmakers want to enter into as many film festivals as possible; however, you have to take the cost into consideration. I’m sure your budget is now stretched to the max. Practically every film festival requires an entry fee which is nonrefundable. And remember because you submit to a film festival doesn’t mean you are going to get in. If you enter 50 festivals say at $100 a pop, that means $5,000. If you do get accepted to a film festival, it doesn’t do you any good unless you can personally attend. That requires an airplane ticket, hotel and meals. The costs add up quickly.

You also can’t count on the festival to do your marketing. Being in a film festival does not help your cause unless you have an audience to see your movie. That means you may have to take out local ads to promote your film. You’ll have to pay for posters, promotional materials, and EPKs to help get the word out about your film. Don’t expect the film festivals to necessarily help with your press. You’ll probably have to set up your own interviews with magazines, newspapers, etc. The bottom line is you have to take responsibility for the success of your movie. You can’t count on anybody to help, and that includes the film festival director. It’s your job to get an audience out to see your film.

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