I watched a feature film submission a couple of days ago that was so good I sent out my first real Tweet – other than the ones I send to promote this blog. Right after that, I saw a movie so bad I felt the urge to Tweet again.
What's up with that?
I have 22 movies to watch before 1:00 tomorrow, so for all of you sitting on pins & needles who would like to make the wait even more torturous, follow me on Twitter. I'll see if I can't drop a few hints from there. I am @RSMellette.
Having Adobe on as a sponsor has gotten me to thinking about how the digital revolution has become the video revolution, and changed all of our lives – not just filmmakers, but everyone. A kid growing up today who doesn't learn the basics of movie-making will be as far behind the curve as someone who couldn't do math or use computers in our generation. My novelist friends over at From The Write Angle have been talking among ourselves about the latest trend in literary marketing, the book trailer. Different from a TV commercial, these are little short films – often made by the author – meant to entice you to buy their books. They range from full productions, to the author sitting in their backyard droning on in a monotone snore. The point being, when the literati start discussing rendering speeds and FLASH formats, a seismic shift in communication has occurred. The wise filmmaker will find a way to take advantage of their skills to stand out in this, the video revolution.
Speaking of which, we watched a cute movie last night that deals with the personal communication revolution in a charming way. That was followed by yet another "is it a doc or a moc?" film. Five of us watched the entire movie with no consensus as to whether it was a documentary or a spoof. That's not a good thing. If it was real, then it was hilarious. The people (not characters, if it's real) were ridiculous and needed to be laughed at. If it was a spoof, it was boring. The characters (if it's a spoof) were asking to be laughed with, but did nothing to let us know they were trying to be funny. I've talked about this before. We, the audience, need permission to laugh. Nothing big. Just a wink and a nod to let us know you've got that at/with thing figured out, and we won't be rude by laughing.
We need a couple more film convention moratoria. First, it's time to put on the shelf the bit where a character kills someone, or does some other outlandish thing, just before we jump cut back into reality and we all say, "Oh, that was a fantasy.. ... how clever." It's no longer clever. It's been done to death. Also done to death, the security camera / organic video source movie. "Oh, how ... clever ... an entire feature film taken from security cameras, or webcams, or cameras that the characters actually have." Blair Witch was so 1900's. Get with the 21st Century and just tell us a great story.
Last night was our last short screening get together for the season. With the exception of the inevitable stragglers, bad DVD's that need replacing, and possibly one that fell behind the filing cabinet, all of the short films have been seen. NOT all of the second round notices have gone out, so don't ask about that. It is possible to be accepted into the festival without ever getting an official second round notice – rare, but possible.
For the next week or so the programmers – myself included – will watch the shorts and features we haven't seen, but others liked. This is the fun part for me, since I know when I put in a DVD that it's probably not going to suck. I hate it when they suck.
This will be followed by the worst part, where we have more good movies than screening times. Worse still, what one programmer thinks is a brilliant film, might not be another's cup of tea. So the tea cup is thrown across the room, furniture is thrashed, and bedlam breaks out as we all fight for our favorite films. Once we do finally settle on a movie and notify them, they get back to us that they are saving their world premiere for Sundance, which they are absolutely positive they will get into. More than once, we've seen films re-submit a year later with their world premiere still unsullied – but their drop-out your opportunity. It ain't over 'til the "thank for your submission, but..." letter is in your e-mail.
So sit tight, and while I watch all of your movies, it's only fair that you get to watch one of mine. This was a little bobble I made with friends a few years back that I never finished to a level suitable for theatres, but seems okay on line. I'm sure I've made all the mistakes I point out in DWF submissions, so feel free to call me out on them.
Enjoy. Thanks for reading, and watching.