Friday, March 21, 2008

Winning isn't Everything

Well yeah it is. Whoever said that was obviously a loser.

I am currently suffering a dangerous addiction. It's called Entering Film Festivals. I've entered a lot of them so far. I'm not going to tell you how many, because if I don't get accepted into 21 of them - oops, I mean 10 of them - it will be obvious how many rejection emails I received.

This is not new to me. I used to enter a lot of screenwriting competitions. At one point I was writing out a check to something like 'Dubious Distinction Screenwriting Competition' when suddenly it occurred to me, "Who are these people? How do I know if they know anything about good screenwriting?" At which point I decided to start my own screenwriting competition. I enlisted some judges peripherally connected to the "industry", started a website, and was on my way. Pretty soon those checks were coming to ME.

Note - it was a lot of work, I read a lot of painfully bad scripts, and I did not get rich. So don't try this at home.

So now here I am, nearly 10 years later, in the position of entering contests again. However this time I am smart enough not to think, "Who are these people? How do I know if they know anything about good filmmaking?" Actually I do think that, but only when I am rejected, and I do not follow it with, "I'm going to start my own damn film festival."

Here is where the addictive behavior comes in. 'Defying Gravity' has already been accepted to two of them. (One of them is the Digital Video & High Def Festival in Beverly Hills, screening next Sat. 3/29, and the other is the Fallbrook Film Festival, screening 4/26.) It's like getting high. It is so EXCITING to get accepted, it's such a RUSH, that you want to keep doing it again and again. So kerplink, I keep hitting that 'submit' button on

However, I have become a little more discriminating. I've learned not to submit to any contests which are 3 days length or shorter. This really cuts down your chances of being accepted. I've learned not to submit to competitions which have traditions of favoring movies involving B-list actors whom they want to entice into attending.

This is my new strategy. Apply to festivals with niche interests:

  1. LGBF themes (there are a lot of them!)
  2. containing the word "Women" in the title
  3. listing any kind of mission statement like this:
  • a movie that inspires us, lifts our spirit or transforms our lives. .. makes us feel more hopeful, more thankful, more connected, more passionate and better about life in general. We identify with the Film's characters on a deep, emotional level, and are motivated by their stories to pursue positive change in our own lives ... honors the belief that simple choices can change the world and inspires us to make a difference.
  • films that make a positive contribution to our world
  • The overall festival mission is to prevent violence against women and girls through education and art.
When I realize, in a few months, that my movie addresses none of these issues, and I am resoundingly rejected from all festivals promoting positive deep insights, then I will have to rethink my strategy.

Or start my own festival.

Monday, March 3, 2008

No Such Thing as Normal - The Making of 'Defying Gravity'

Behind the scenes with the cast and crew of 'Defying Gravity'.