Tuesday, February 28, 2012


I've never been a huge fan of Without A Box, but man do I miss their net forum. I know, I know... it's moved to Facebook, but that's just not the same. Facebook is where good forums go to die.

I'm particularly missing it right now because we're coming up on our regular deadline – which is basically mid-way through the screening process and I'd like to get word out to the people who have not yet submitted, which means people who probably aren't reading this blog. So please, help out our filmmaking community. Link, post, comment, shout it from the mountains on high – filmmakers around the world, check out this blog!

Why? Because I have a feeling about this year. Something tells me that – while we have seen some fantastic submissions – we have more open slots than great movies. Of course, we're not done, so that'll change, and I don't have any hard facts to back up my feeling – just 12 years of experience and a bigger gut than I'd like. I know submissions are down, but they have been for everyone since the crash of 2008.

What does my big gut feeling mean to filmmakers who have yet to submit? Opportunity!

What does that opportunity mean to filmmakers who have already submitted? Nothing much. Your chances of getting in are directly related to the quality of your movie. Sure, if we had one hundred screening slots and only ten submissions, quality wouldn't mean anything, so you wouldn't want more people submitting – but that's never the case. Even with the economy lowering the number of submissions, we have tons of quantity. Our job is to dig through that and find the ones worth showing to the public. So, if you've already submitted and you know filmmakers who haven't, give them a shout. Maybe you can share your DWF experience this June, or at least split a hotel room.

On a different topic: I know we have a press release coming soon with exciting news about our Industry Choice Awards. I'll post it here as soon as it clears the censors.

Movies this week: We saw a couple of incitement films that were cruising along nicely but didn't end well. Keep in mind, folks, that it's fine to shoot the first few pages of your feature – better by far than trying to condense the whole thing into a short – but the end of your incitement has to be satisfying enough on its own. Yes, leave us wanting more, but not so much more that we're pissed off or confused.

We had a couple of dramas that were too dramatic and way too slow. Think back to a time in your life when something dramatic happened. How many of the people involved talked slower, lower, or with a sense of self-importance? Want to know? I'd bet none of them. The more dramatic the situation, the more we all try to lighten the air. If you've got a script that screams DRAMA, then your actors need to work hard to defuse it. If it's heavy, make it light. If it's light, drop in some shadows. Keep us on our toes as we watch your story unfold.

We had a very nice essay film. The narrator was more in the primitive style, but the essay itself was great. When that's the case, this format can work well in a short.

Looking at my notes, I'm seeing "not a great voice" written a few times. By that I mean the filmmaker's voice. The narrative feels like it's coming from a disinterested party, which makes the audience disinterested as well. And voice is not synonymous with style. A film can be packed with style, but not have a great voice. It's like, the difference between a Quentin Tarantino movie and someone making a film in the style of Tarantino. The former will have voice, the latter probably won't.

We had a fantastic action film, that will look great on everyone's reel, but with horrible character logic. Action moviemakers can be like musical theatre directors sometimes. In the case of musicals, they often think that if the music is good, the story doesn't matter. WRONG. Same for action. If the logic, or psycho-logic of your characters is flawed the whole thing falls apart, no matter how much cool stuff happens on screen.

That's it for now. Remember, to save money, get your films in before the next deadline. Then look to see if I drop a hint about it here.

Thanks for reading.


Martin Binder said...

I know what you mean Robert, I miss the WAB boards immensely. I do occasionally monitor the Facebook forum but I agree, it's not nearly as useful. Maybe we can start a campaign to get WAB to open them up again. How much could they have cost to run? It didn't seem like anyone was even moderating them after Noah stopped doing it.

RSMellette said...

WAB is now owned by IMDB, which is owned by Amazon. I don't think they care.

In the meantime, feel free to pop over to my QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS section and turn the comments into a mini-forum. This is as good of a place for filmmakers to hang out as any.