Film Festival Submission Tips: Are Your Contact Details Accurate?

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Contact Information For Your Film Festival Submission Must Be Accurate

When it comes to the relationship between the Film Festival Submitter and the Film Festival Event Team, communication is important. As a Film Festival Director since 2008, you’d be surprised at how many Film Festival submissions are missing key information. The next time you submit to a Film Festival, I recommend that you include the following information.

  • Who is the primary contact for this Film or Screenplay submission?
  • Is the email address listed correct?
  • Does anyone actually check the email address that you've listed?
  • Did you include your phone number?
  • What state, city or country are you in?

1) Who is the primary contact for your Film Festival submission?

For a Film Festival, it can be frustrating when the primary contact is a company and not a human. We get multiple submissions each year, with a business name like "Honeymoon" is listed as the first name and "Films” is the last name.  This makes it appear as if the notifications, questions and communications with your submission are being answered by a group or committee.

2) Is the email address listed for your submission correct?

A working email address that actually gets checked frequently is valuable. I was just going over the submissions from the Atlanta Comedy Film Festival Winter 2018 event. Do you know that out of 300 submissions, 20 of them had email addresses that bounced? Perhaps you’re a student with an .edu address that may be deactivated, once you graduate. You may want to use an email address that is more permanent. Of the 20 email addresses that bounced, I was able to text 9 of them and ask them to update their info. The other 11 did not list a phone number at all.


3) Does anyone actually check the email address that you've listed?

Time and time again, we have emailed submitters that have a generic email address that they never respond to. Whenever I see an email address that is similar to "blackrockfilmfestivalsubmissions@ymail.com" I'm thinking to myself, "here we go." I get it, you want to avoid getting your email inbox filled with marketing junk. Which is fine. I simply recommend that you check this 'dedicated email' periodically. I have had films that were announced as official selections 6 weeks before the event, not answer a single email until a month after the screening. We couldn't download their film for our program and it never screened. Sad, but true. If only we had a phone number for them ...

 

4) Did you include your phone number in your Film Festival Submission?

Phone numbers are useful. We understand that robot calls and strange people that we do not know, having our phone number, opens us up for unwanted marketing. I get it and it’s annoying. But I’ve never talked to a Film Festival Submissions team that has called a filmmaker, unless they needed something important. What if there is a glitch in your digital file? What if your submission is in another language and you sent the version without English subtitles? What if tickets are selling out quickly for the event and we want to know, if we should save a couple for you? A Film Festival must be able to reach a submitter in a timely fashion. If you do not have a point of contact that can return an email or phone call in 72 hours, then make sure the rest of your submission details are accurate and organized, in order to minimize the need for contact.

 

5) What state, city or country are you in?

Filmmakers and screenwriters omit this information 25% of the time. True story, at the Austin Comedy Short Film Festival a couple of years ago, we nominated 3 different films that were shot on location in Texas, for the "Best Texas Film Award." We typically nominate 5 films per category, but we assumed that only 3 were selected that year, so we nominated those. I even emailed every filmmaker and asked them where their film was shot on location. Most responded, but some did not. We went on, to have a wonderful two-day screening and one of the films got so many laughs, it was unbelievable. It was one of the most "talked about" films we've ever had. I realized that the filmmakers didn't attend the screening and never responded to any of our emails either. They later emailed me and told me that they didn't attend the festival, because they didn't get nominated for the "Best Texas Film Award." They felt that the other films were of lower quality than theirs. I was shocked to learn that the film was shot on location in Texas. There was no bio, no director's statement, no phone number, no address, nothing that indicated where the film was made. They would have easily won the Best Texas Film Award, hands down, if we knew. A little communication goes a long way. Simple problems with a Film Festival submission like this, may affect the success of your film or screenplay. Good luck on the Film Festival Circuit.

 

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More Tips That Can Strengthen Your Film Festival Submission
  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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