Saturday, May 12, 2012

My Pet Peeve – Two

I can't stand it when filmmakers don't help us help them.

I just came from a meeting with Leslee and our PR firm. We're putting together our package to go to Variety. You know, that trade magazine that's featured in every movie about movies or Broadway since the dawn of time. The magazine that is so inundated with request for reviews from film festivals all over the world that every year they tell us they aren't doing festival reviews, but, bless their hearts, every year they somehow find time to review a few of our films.

That Variety.

And we don't have screeners from some of our features. If we don't get them by Monday those movies may miss their one-and-only chance for a Variety review.

What can a review do for you if you don't have distribution? Consider: After my film premiered at DWF I was reviewed in Variety. At my day job, I cut and pasted the review and Xeroxed a bunch of copies which started a conversation with a Universal Development executive.

"Copies of my review in Variety," I said before he asked.

"You've got a review in Variety?"

"Yeah. 'Tautly written, briskly directed, this feature film debut from Robert Sidney Mellette shows promise for helmer-scribe.'" I had the pull quote memorized already.

"Really?" I handed him a copy of the review. He read a few lines. "Do you have a copy? Can I see it?"

Because of that review, instead of me begging a Sr. VP Creative Executive at Universal to please watch my movie – he was asking me.

I handed him one of my VHS copies. (Yeah, I'm old). Later, he told me he loved it. He told me so much he had to stop himself saying, "I'm gushing."

It didn't land me a job, but I'll never forget the comments.

Comments I never would have heard if I hadn't gotten my screeners into to Leslee! Come on people!

I'll get in trouble if I don't add – we can't guarantee that we'll get you a review in the trades. We can guarantee that if you don't give us your screeners and press kits that you will not get a review.

While I have you – the deadline for 2-Minute 2-Step script submissions is May 18th. Spread the word to your friends, family, writers groups, people you owe money to, etc. This is another golden opportunity not to be missed.



To be a filmmaker is also to be a marketer and publicist. You can never stop hustling. It's been 2 yrs since Spirit Camp played at DWF, and I'm still promoting, marketing, and selling DVDs. You can't just sit back and wait for things to happen.

Good luck with this year's DWF! Looks like I will be in town for a few screenings!

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Anonymous said...

Thats because you made poor choices, so suck it up, Nancy.

Russell DisOrientation said...

Thanks for the Buzz shoutout for DisOrientation especially my lead roles! The acting was at the forefront when I set out to shoot the movie - that being said we are currently trying to drum up some reviews before the fest ourselves but if we could get Variety or I think Leslee mentioned LA Times that would be awesome! Even if it was a bad review it would be equally awesome - 'There's no such thing as bad publicity!' - My Grandad told me (I am certain he stole the quote, but I believe in it...Cannot wait to screen with you guys next month!

EPC / Transatlantic Coffee said...

You can hire a PR firm, a sales and/or producer's agent and get into any major festival, but you, as the person who never gave up, needs to continue. It's very easy to toss in the towel - especially for us self-starters. There's only one thing from stopping us from saying, "Screw it all. This is just too damn hard." This "thing" is our DNA. We need to tell stories. People not in the circle always ask how we continue to go through what we go through just too make a movie. I usually cut them off when they say "just."

DWF, it's a comfort knowing you're out there doing what you believe in. To know you are pitching our films, putting your name on it, and saying "Listen, you need to see this film", is just another distinctive thing that makes you the festival you are. We couldn't be prouder to be with yo all in 2012. Thank you again for supporting our films.