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Liam

I'm almost done with two films... Advice?

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If going the festival route, should I pretend I made them a year apart? That would be kind of relieving, like I'm already accomplished into the future a little. But it kinda killed me waiting for a year last time, especially since I mostly got rejections, and this is obviously.. twice that.

Is it weird or ill advised to go around with two films at the same time?

I like the Vimeo only route more than I expected, but I still have a feeling maybe really good luck at a festival - networking etc - is better than really good luck online.

Just kind of a weird problem, wanted some opinions.

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1 hour ago, Liam said:

If going the festival route, should I pretend I made them a year apart? That would be kind of relieving, like I'm already accomplished into the future a little. But it kinda killed me waiting for a year last time, especially since I mostly got rejections, and this is obviously.. twice that.

Is it weird or ill advised to go around with two films at the same time?

I like the Vimeo only route more than I expected, but I still have a feeling maybe really good luck at a festival - networking etc - is better than really good luck online.

Just kind of a weird problem, wanted some opinions.

Less is more. I would push them out at separate times, probably the better one first. 

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I see both sides. I think you should have a festival strategy. Not all films are right for all festivals, so I wouldn't submit both to every one you can find, or afford. But don't limit yourself either.

The problem with Vimeo only is that you will need to market your films. Staff picks don't happen by accident and unless you are getting thousands of views, what good is a Vimeo only strategy? 

I also think having two completed films can show that you are prolific, with multiple ideas and someone passionate about their work.

But in the end I think you need to sit down and think what you're trying to accomplish with your films? Are you trying to get a ton of views? Are you trying to get funding for a bigger film? Or do you just want your work viewed and critiqued by as many people as possible... or the right people?

The problem with all of this, is there is no right or wrong answer and you can only market yourself so much before a little luck comes into play. In the end, it all comes down to the work and finding the right audience for it.

I have heard that some people will reach out to movie review/critic sites... there are tons around for no budget/micro budget filmmaking. And a lot of these sites offer a paid review option. If your films fall within a niche you could get a lot of attention from the specific fans that like your types of films.

Idk, interesting topic, good luck and keep us posted with your films. 

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I help run a festival.  If a film is good and fits what we're looking for, no problem.  The thing is, you really got to be honest about your film.  Or, allow others to be honest about it.  

You better have a thick skin about that.

A filmmaker needs to know the level his/her work is at and also if it fits the vibe of the festival they're submitting to.

We shuffle through lots of crap that is obviously a ridiculous vanity project and/or has no business being sent to us because of what kind of fest we offer.

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I agree with Ben that you should push them out at separate times, one this year and the other early 2018 if the first one is not going well, and the festival route is an excellent opportunity to see how well you did it, and an opportunity to learn from your mistakes, my advise for you is to apply to each festival you can, many are free, others could be very expensive, you will have to decide if your wallet can afford it or not, also add subtitles in Spanish and Italian, there are lot of festivals in those two languages out there which are free or very cheap…..good luck!!!

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Vimeo and YouTube have grown in visibility in the industry from what I’ve seen, even beyond festivals. But festivals let you pick and choose to whom you’re showing your content. YouTube doesn't.

I've recognized that I don't have the talent (or maybe just the desire) to succeed at either. But I think what works well in the long run is submitting your work to venues that exhibit work you love. I have friends who've won big at Sundance but done nothing since, because they broke through with something really innovative and great. So great that it got into a festival despite being better and more groundbreaking than that festivals boring, staid, limited "brand." (Heck, I almost did this myself.) But then when they were signed to CAA, WME, UTA, etc. they had to abide by the confines of that agency's demands. 

They couldn't. They were artists.

It's why they got into Sundance in the first place. It's also why they struggled so much after.

So fuck 'em. If your work is great it's great. Show it to your friends. If your friends love video game commentators and you're a video game commentator, awesome, now your friends are most of YouTube. If they're quirky but still kinda safe, awesome, Sundance and Slamdance. If neither, cool, you're an innovator. That's way cooler than I can claim to be.

But here's the big question: where do you consume most of the media you consume? Okay. Now submit there. In the short run it might be harder. Long run, more rewarding and a better fit. You think venues you don't like are better fits, because you see the flaws in their content and know that duh you can do way better than that. But what you fail to see are the merits that those venues' viewers see. (Granted, those merits could be stupid. But no one wants to know that they're stupid, either.)

If you want to thrive on YouTube or Vimeo or any given festival, study its output and emulate it. If you want to just be you, just be you. I've been through it all. I'm old lol. I finally see that everyone is as insecure and unsure as you are. Festival programmers are the most insecure. Their only output is what films they choose from other people's work. They aren't even making their own work and yet they are the gatekeepers and kingmakers. They're insecure in their opinion. The audience is insecure in its opinion. The social aspects far outweigh the merit. It's like someone posting on Facebook that they like the Smashing Pumpkins vs. Billy Corgan. Billy Corgan seems way more insecure... but why? He's the innovator? 

The artist is in a difficult situation. Cooler when they're cool. But open to way more criticism. And generally more sensitive to it, too.

So what can you do? You can choose to ignore it. 

Not let it get to you.

And do your own thing.

You're an artist.

You're above YouTube.

You're above festival programmers 

Their brand is what they like. They cannot create it.

Your brand is what you make. You create it constantly.

They're the slaves. You're the god.

Stay the course. Stay confident. Fuck the rest. Michael Bay cowers before critics even if he gets great BO. Lars von Trier cowers before financiers even if his critics love him. You are only asking for bigger problems with more success. Know that. And know you're an artist. You're above them. You're the creator. You're the god. Forget it and you're toast.

Act accordingly. Success just means your audience owns you. ("Your possessions possess you" - Fight Club. "If you owe the bank $10 million dollars, they own you. If you owe the bank $10 trillion dollars, you own them" - Someone way smarter than me.)

Own you.

Own your audience.

Never let your audience own you.

You don't need their approval. If they showed you their short films you'd just laugh at the pathetic attempts.

Stay confident. Stay the course. You are their god. And so what if they get cranky, crucial, and indignant? They can always watch Pewdiepie instead. :)  (And fwiw, I think he's pretty talented, other than the horrific antisemitism.)

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Make a great trailer, and I mean exceptional and compelling.

I'm not talking about technical expertise, I'm talking storytelling.  Make people interested in the things they see in that preview.

If you feel you can't accomplish this on your own, get someone that can. 

When submissions come into our fest, it's super easy to see if a film has something to say, or not, based on the filmmaker's ability to present a worthwhile trailer. 

The preview is the first hurdle in a submission, so make sure you clear it. 

Also, I will say, based on what we do at our festival, if you acknowledge in your film synopsis that you are a film maker that will 100% attend festivals you're accepted to, that can help tip the scale a little.

Thats for our festival anyway...others not so much. But again, know who you're submitting to and that will get you a long way. 

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@HockeyFan12 love it. Right now I'm mostly trying to meet collaborators I think, so for that I think I still need to do the whole crossing my fingers thing, but I'll tell em to eat my dust in a couple years B)

 

@fuzzynormal I kinda thought most festivals wanted a variety, except maybe in production quality. I'll have to check their websites more.. so many websites.

I was just thinking trailers. Thing is, one of them is going to be 3 minutes, and half of it is a spoiler, haha. I'll have to get creative

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Meeting collaborators is a great first step and the most important thing to do. It's advice I should have taken (when I was your age or thereabouts). I think I probably would have done better skipping college and just jumping right into the industry. But I have friends who went that route and it worked great at first, they were on studio sets around 19 or 20 in key roles, but socially they weren't ready for the pressure and shittiness of the industry. So.... yeah.

If you see something you love, reach out to whomever made it. Show interest. That kind of networking is as important on the festival scene as the film itself is in terms of long-term prospects. Maybe you can work on that person's crew some day and when their film gets into Sundance, it will be a leg up for you (though this has not turned out to be the case for me, probably because I'm not the biggest fan of Sundance films in the first place).

I know lots of people who jumped at the opportunity for "success" only to burn out from working on the wrong content and not following their passion in their day job. They were successful, but at the wrong thing, so it's a step forward but also a step back. Nothing wrong with day jobs, but compartmentalize and be true to yourself. You'll do better working with those whose work inspires you and their opinions of it will be far more meaningful than the unwashed masses'.

I'm told the best thing a festival director can do is attend festivals. Or a Vimeo director's best bet is to watch a lot of Vimeo. I'm not a fan of either, really. :/ But I'm taking my own advice and making a video (calling it a short would be generous) to show a couple Sundace directors who actually did make a feature I liked and who are conveniently friends of a number of my friends since I would like to work on their crew. Hoping my own advice works lol. Luckily I'm working with a lot of people whose work I like currently, but more thorough serendipity than through making a big effort in the first place, which I should have done! It can also be great professionally to network with people whose work you like. Even if you "only" end up on the crew of the next big director and even if it takes five years for that to all play out, that's still gonna be a professional and financial windfall by the time it matters and you're ready for that level of success.

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On 6/13/2017 at 5:43 AM, Liam said:

If going the festival route, should I pretend I made them a year apart? That would be kind of relieving, like I'm already accomplished into the future a little. But it kinda killed me waiting for a year last time, especially since I mostly got rejections, and this is obviously.. twice that.

Is it weird or ill advised to go around with two films at the same time?

I like the Vimeo only route more than I expected, but I still have a feeling maybe really good luck at a festival - networking etc - is better than really good luck online.

Just kind of a weird problem, wanted some opinions.

I would love to give you some advice on this, as you have given me plenty in the past. But im a churn and burn corporate guy, so wish I you luck!

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@HockeyFan12 yeah, that's the plan! I only have one festival experience, and basically none of the filmmakers watched anyone else's work or wanted anything from it other than being told they were great, I guess.. I search in vimeo like all the time, though almost completely unsure if anyone else uses it that way. I'm beyond blessed to have several ideas I can make without any help, but it might not be sustainable..

Thanks, @HelsinkiZim. But I didn't give you good advice anyway, so we're square ;)

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