Monday, April 15, 2013

As The Time Draws Near

We had our last screening of short films, and the absolute last deadline for feature entries is today, so the freak out time is here - for both you and us. On your end it's the horrible wait, and hourly e-mail checks. On our end it's cramming films into our brains, discussing them, sending out second and third round notification letters - and invitations.

A few invitations have already gone out.

I say that with hesitation, since I know someone is bound to post angry comments about having not heard from us. I've said it before and I'll say it again, we have a lot of slots to fill, and until the final posting is made, and you have a PASS letter from us, you're still in the running.

Of course, don't be stupid, either. From this point forward, every day that goes by without hearing from us is not the best indicator. If you get an offer from another festival, CONTACT US. We might not be able to tell you "yes, you're in" or "no, you're not," and we certainly can't tell you what you should do - that's your decision - but we can give you advice.

Here's a hint about how to read our tea leaves. If we say, "congratulations, that's great news," take the other festival. If we say, "can you give us 24 hours," then do that. After 16 years, I can say without any doubt that there are no other festivals making their decisions this time of year that would be a better place to premiere. Maybe Los Angeles Film Festival, but if you haven't heard from them by now, that's not looking good either.

Some other ways to help your chances.

Don't lie. We have Internet access. If you're telling us you're a world premiere, and you have laurels from another festival on your site, or IMDB information that says other wise, then you will be disqualified with a vengeance. If you've done some small screening somewhere, just let us know. If you've done something like remix your sound, so you're calling this your New World Premiere, fine. Better for us to think you're working an angle than flat out lying.

Another thing we get every year - the Without A Box devotees. I don't even know what they say our notification date is, so please don't post a diatribe about how we're not meeting our deadlines. Our deadlines are fluid. We've plugged in replacement films as late as the week of the festival, and I promise you none of those were from rude filmmakers.

Of course, sometimes the waiting gets to be too much to handle. So what do you do then? Feel free to post something nice on our Facebook page, or here. Tell us what you do to calm your nerves. Ask others what they do. Send us some virtual coffee and cookies. We'll need them.

Oh, and - we saw some fantastic shorts last night, and we have some terrific features, so it's going to be a good year.

Good luck.


Chris Hansen said...

I haven't figured out what to do to calm my nerves, other than going on a media blackout and not reading blogs etc.

Louis McCullagh said...

There are so very few festivals who give feedback about progression through the various rounds of consideration.

One way or another its nice to hear and know that your film is being watched. I don't think it increases the nerves but I guess it might increase the disappointment for some if at the final hurdle you don't make the cut. I guess the solid advice to not take it personally should be listened to.

As a writer/director making a film is a privilege. Consider how many hours/days so many people contributed to help bring an idea to life.
Reflect on the fact that all your cast and crew wanted to make the film. You are a winner already.
Hope that rings true for most people.