Thursday, April 9, 2015

A Film Festival Orange

Malcolm McDowell in A Clockwork Orange
We have more movies to watch than ever!

Thanks to all of your submissions, we've added one day to our screening schedule, and will probably have to add another – and that's just for the shorts. We're also cramming feature films into our collective brains as fast as we can - so keep that in mind when whatever date Without A Box has for our announcement comes and goes in silence. 

Though, it's not all silence. We are sending first, second, and third round letters for films we're interested in, so obsessively checking your e-mails is a good idea for the next 3-4 weeks.

What do these e-mails mean?

The answer to that question changes with time. If the only e-mail you've gotten from us is a confirmation that we got your submission, you're fine for now. There is a good chance we haven't seen your movie yet. No worries. Three weeks from now, if that's the only e-mail you've gotten from us, then things aren't looking good for your submission. I say that to help you make decisions about other festivals.

If you have not gotten a confirmation that we received your film, then please check your spam filters. If you don't have an e-mail from us there, then please send us an e-mail to confirm we have the correct address. Typos happen. Every year we have at least one film that doesn't respond to e-mails, phone calls, or owls from Hogwarts. This is extremely frustrating, especially if we want to program the movie.

If we send you an e-mail asking for more information (2nd or 3rd round letters), then prompt, professional answers will help your cause. There is a reason why DWF has such a strong alumni. Given two good films and only one screening time left, whose film do you think we're going to go with? The filmmaker who is hard to work with, or the one that is pleasant and eager to be a part of the festival?

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.

Last night was one of our added screening sessions. We watched a lot of good movies – three FSU films in a row that were all fantastic. One proved the old adage, that when one door closes, another one opens… and it's really scary when it's the same door! (Nice work!)

We also saw five or six movies that had the same bad piano score. One in particular was a bit of a melodramatic – almost a kids' – movie, which is fine but the music was so 1970's after school special, sappy, piano, that the combination was terrible. If you have a sweet movie, don't be afraid to add a little salt. For those of you still submitting, I would suggest that if your score is nothing but a piano, stop submitting. Re-score your movie with an entirely new musical concept. Otherwise, you won't stand out from the hundreds of others the screeners are watching.

And, of course, keep in mind that a fantastic movie with a bad piano score is still a pretty damned good movie, so don't think you're out of consideration just because you have a piano score. It worked fine for Stanley Kubrick in Eyes Wide Shut.

That's it for now. I have to find the guy with the eye drops and watch more movies. 

Thanks for reading.


Anonymous said...

OH GAWD...pins and needles! Thanks for such great info on your process DWF!!!

Anonymous said...

Quick Question. I submitted my film to the Late Deadline on March 24th and so far the only thing i've gotten back from Dances With Films was the Submissions Received E-mail March 31st but no 2nd or 3rd round email. Is that a sign that my film wasn't what you were looking for or you just haven't gotten to it yet and reviewed it. Hope to hear back from you soon.

RSMellette said...

There's nothing you can read into that, really, especially when you submit on the late deadline. Your film will be considered just like every other submission, but we might not have the time to do 2nd round, 3rd round, etc. e-mails.

So, sit tight. You know from the confirmation that we have your e-mail address correct and it's not going to your spam filter. Check your e-mail often and standby your work.

Good luck.