Film Festival Submission Tips: Overview

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Does Packaging Really Matter?

Have you ever received more than one gift for your birthday, holiday, wedding or special occasion? How did you select which gift to open first? Was it the largest? The shiniest? The heaviest? Did you shake each gift first? Did you smell it? Did the packaging of the gift create an expectation in your mind, as to what it would be? If someone gave you a wrinkled, small, wet paper bag without any writing on it, would you expect anything good inside? If you were presented a smooth, colorful, shiny large box with a pretty bow and a thoughtful card, would you be excited? The way that you package a gift makes a difference. It doesn’t change the content inside, but the perception that the better package has the better content is real. Maybe that yucky, wrinkled up, wet paper bag had a valuable diamond inside. Maybe the shiny box had a dirty worthless rock with a bow on it. Unless someone is playing a joke on you, these two scenarios are unlikely to happen on your special occasion. After 10 years of Film Festival experience and having seen and read more than 5000 submissions, I can tell you this. Way too many filmmakers and screenwriters are submitting their creative work to Film Festivals, with very poor packaging. You only get one chance to make a first impression right?

 

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Why Film Festivals Love Submissions That Are Well Presented And Organized

Every year, thousands of people from around the world attend film festivals. From seasoned filmmakers to curious observers. People are taking time out of their lives to watch independent films, at their earliest release stage. Film Festivals come in all sizes, have various missions and focus on every flavor and genre of film and screenplays that you can imagine. There are thousands of film festival events that are listed on websites like FilmFreeway, Withoutabox and Festhome. The entire process can be a bit overwhelming for the thousands of filmmakers that are submitting their films to the Film Festival Circu

it every year.

 

 For filmmakers, the process of submitting to film festivals can seem inconsistent, confusing, and expensive. For film festival organizers, creating a process to evaluate film submissions and then creating an event to screen them to an attentive audience, is also inconsistent, confusing and expensive. If you’ve read this far, I assume that you want your film or screenplay to get accepted to as many film festivals as possible, right? As a current film festival organizer and former film festival submitter, I have decided to publish a few tips to help give filmmakers a better understanding of how they can strengthen their submission for the Film Festival Circuit.

This collection of tips, is less about the creative content of your film or screenplay and is more about how your submission is packaged. At the end of the day, bad movies don’t screen as frequently as good ones. But, when you have a good film or screenplay that is highly rated by the judges, you are competing with other good films and screenplays that have good ratings as well.

 

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What Are The Top Filmmakers And Screenwriters Doing, That Help Give Them The Edge?

The following notes, are a few things about submissions that filmmakers and screenwriters often overlook, disregard or intentionally leave blank when submitting to festivals. Seasoned film festival submitters have already figured out how to use every single space available on their submission forms, to give them an advantage. Would you like to strengthen your submission for the Film Festival Circuit as well?

  1. Your Submission Contact Details Must Be Accurate. Do you know how many submitter emails bounce and don't have a phone number listed? Read more ...
  2. Choose A Submission Title That Is Memorable. Is your creative work getting lost in the shuffle? Read More ...
  3. Create A Tagline And A Synopsis For Your Submission. Do you know the difference? Read more ...
  4. Create A Director's or Writer's Biography For Your Submission.  Do you think that a Biography and a Job Resume are the same thing? Read more ...
  5. Create A Director’s or Writer’s Statement. This is an opportunity to explain your personal motivation, inspiration, experiences and challenges that lead to the creation of your submission.  Read more ... 
  6. Include A Social Media Link With Your Submission. Social Media is a free marketing tool that Film Festivals use. There are several reasons why you should not ignore this opportunity.

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About the author
Mikel Fair

Mikel Fair

Mikel Fair My name is Mikel Fair. I am the Director of Film Festival Circuit Inc. First of all, we are a company that manages film festival events in Texas and Oregon. Furthermore, we like to have fun and celebrate independent film. I worked for 15 years in the television and film production as a location sound mixer and production manager. I have also worked in post production as an editor, post sound mixer and composer. Above all, watching independent films and reading creative screenplays is my passion.

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