Thursday, May 21, 2015
I don't do that sort of thing. It's not that I'm too busy. I could probably squeeze in an article a day, but I don't want to. I am busy... having fun! If you want a blow-by-blow of what's happening, our Social Media guru, Kim, keeps our Facebook page up-to-date. Like us and follow along.
If you're in the LA area, come join us. Buy a copy of Billy Bobble Makes A Magic Wand from the Alumni Store - or, you know, any of the dozens of films from past years we'll have for sale. I'll sign my book for you. The filmmakers will sign your DVD.
If you're not in the LA area, you can get my book, or their films, on Amazon. I'll post links of what we have available once it's solidified.
Okay, back to work!
Tuesday, May 12, 2015
What is this new feature?
The Dances With Films Alumni Store.
Why will this become a mainstay on the festival circuit?
Honestly, it might not, but it should.
People see the digital revolution hit an industry and they thinks it's one & done, but in fact it comes in waves. A first wave will radically change everything, then a second wave rides in on those changes. Then a third, forth, etc.
Right now, the indie film industry is probably on it's 3rd or 4th wave when it comes to distribution. Remember video stores? Remember when watching something on Netflix meant a DVD was delivered to your house? Remember when scripted TV shows were actually on TV?
Okay, I'm maybe a year or two ahead on that last one - but the point is, things have changed. For the uber-indie filmmaker those changes mean they are not only the filmmaker, but also the film seller. Distribution now means having a film thrown up on iTunes, Amazon, Hulu, Netflix, etc. with no PR or marketing support. Like novelists have had to do in the last few years, filmmakers now have to do their own shilling.
Well, Dances With Films is here to help.
At the Dances With Films Alumni Store, alumni can sell their DVDs directly to this year's DWF audience. If customers don't watch movies on DVD anymore, they can get information on how to download the films. These instructions will probably come with a request to post a review on Amazon. Reviews are a huge help to anyone selling anything online, so if you like a movie, book, song, etc. make sure to give it a review.
What does a filmmaker get out of selling a few DVDs at what amounts to a trade show booth at a festival? Well, for one thing, cash. Not a lot, but face-to-face sales are what work best in this business and building a fan base starts with one person at a time.
They also get a promotional opportunity. Pictures of them with their DVDs at the Festival to post on MySpace (sorry), Facebook (sorry), Instagram and Pinterest (with an auto-link to Twitter)! So for each face-to-face sale at the festival, they might get one or two more online sales from the promotion.
And remember those Amazon review requests? Online promotions are often based on software algorithms. Once an item gets a certain number of reviews, they begin to be recommended to customers who buy similar stuff. "Because you watched..." etc.
So, if you are an alumni, contact me about adding your films to the store.
If you're an audience member or current-year filmmaker, buy a movie (or... you know, a book like Billy Bobble Makes A Magic Wand) from an alumni. Get it autographed.
And next year, someone will do the same for you!
See you at the store.
Sunday, May 3, 2015
Monday, April 27, 2015
I just want to drop a quick note to filmmakers who are not in easy road trip distance to LA. As famous as Dances With Films is for being the only film festival (we know of ) to have an orientation meeting - it's not worth a plane ticket and a hotel stay. We have had filmmakers fly in for the meeting, and they said it was worth it - but, personally, I'd save your money.
If you are in the LA area, it's definitely worth a 1/2 day off from work ... unless, you know, you're a brain surgeon or something. I highly recommend getting to know your fellow filmmakers. You're going to see each other again in the festival circuit and you'll want to trade stories about which are good, bad, and indifferent.
If you're smart, you'll use your festival passes to come to all 11 days of the festival. Soon, you'll be hanging out every night with your fellow filmmakers and when it's all done, you'll have made friends like you haven't since summer camp.
For those who don't get into the festival, you do get two free tickets to a movie. Use them. Better yet, buy a festival pass and learn from an 11 day intensive on uber-indie filmmaking. You won't regret it.
Okay... sorry to have interrupted your obsessive waiting rituals. Go back to pacing, biting of nails, gnashing of teeth, checking your e-mail every five seconds, and trying to read Billy Bobble Makes a Magic Wand.
Sunday, April 26, 2015
Just a reminder, as with anything in life, what is said publicly and what happens in reality are not always 100% the same thing. We have deadlines to get out a press release about our slate - and that press release is always 100% true - but, it doesn't mean that it represents every film in the festival.
There are always one or two slots still open.
And yet, every year one or two filmmakers go on public tirades about how they had to hear that their movie didn't get into the festival via Indiewire. Here's a news flash for them, if their film was still being considered for those one or two slots, they just made a difficult decision very easy for us.
When the slate is finally complete, it's always a bitter-sweet time at DWF. We're ecstatic about the films that are in, but sad for our favorite movies - often by alumni, who have become friends - that are not. I also feel bad for the films that we have sent so many e-mails to, grilling them about their plans for the film, getting them excited about how well their movie is doing in the selection process, only to end up passing.
I've been there so many times with my film, my scripts, and my books. The near miss is more painful than the miss by a mile. When you're not even close, you get to think, "Maybe I'm not very good at this," and move on to something better. When you're good, but don't get what you're looking for, you have to keep going. You have to keep banging your head against the wall because you know you've found a soft spot.
Let's just hope the soft spot is in the wall, not your head.
Good luck to everyone who submitted. To those who do not get in, remember that one festival is not going to make or break a career. It's just one step on one path - and there are as many paths as there are steps.
Wednesday, April 22, 2015
Monday, April 20, 2015
Thursday, April 16, 2015
That's a good description of what life is like at Dances With Films right now. On the outside, we are as cool as a cucumber, but readers of this blog know we are working like mad to get the festival programmed.
If you've submitted, you're probably that way too.
"How's your film going?" your non-industry friends and family ask, thinking they are making polite conversation.
Inside, you want to explode from the stress and tear their head off for reminding you that you're waiting to hear from Dances With Films. Instead, you smile and say, "It's going fine. Just waiting to hear from the festivals."
My suggestion? Relax. Read a book. Something lite. Maybe even one of those kid's books that adults like to read, too. I know of a really good one about a kid who uses quantum physics to make a real magic wand. It's sure to take your mind off the festival jitters.
Oh, and... the AFI comedy challenge has been won. We watched a good one last night. Some didn't like the ending, but they're crazy. Blood can be very funny. Most of us laughed our behinds off. Thanks for that!
And thanks for your patience.
Monday, April 13, 2015
Thursday, April 9, 2015
|Malcolm McDowell in A Clockwork Orange|
If you've only gotten a second round letter and nothing else, no worries - for now. This isn't a boxing match. We don't have models in bikinis walk around the screening room holding up signs that say "Round 2." Plenty of films that played the festival never got a round letter at all. Having said that, the clock is ticking. If you don't hear from us in three to four weeks, and another festival expresses an interest... let this hint help you make your decision.
On the other hand, if another festival does express an interest now, let us know. In most cases, we can't say for sure that you're in DWF. We also won't say anything derogatory about other festivals. You'll have to do your own research. We stand by our 18 years of experience and encourage you to track down our alumnae for advice as to which festival to choose. We can and will drop big hints about how you're doing in our selection process, so read between the lines. If we have strongly encouraged you to wait for our decision, and you do, then the pressure is on us to make sure we find a slot for your film. It's not a promise, but I have seen it be a huge influence on the final choices.
Onto to the screening room.