Film Festival Submission Tips: Create A Director's Or Writer's Statement

Oregon Documentary Film Festival 2018-1 Event 049 WPMake Your Statement And Connect With The Film Festival Audience and Judges

This is probably the most overlooked and forgotten item that filmmakers and screenwriters leave out of their submission details. Don't miss this opportunity to explain your personal motivation, inspiration, experiences and challenges that lead to the creation of your submission.  Unlike a biography, which talks about the general background of the content creator, the director’s statement or writer’s statement is more personal as it pertains to the specific submission that the judge or festival attendee is about to experience.


More Than Half of Filmmakers And Screenwriters Leave This Section Blank. Why?

I looked at the first 100 Oregon Short Film Festival submissions for 2019 on FilmFreeway and less than 40% of submitters have included a director’s or writer’s statement. A good writer’s statement length is 100-200 words, but I’ve seen some filmmakers go as high as 500 words. Which is fine, if it’s an interesting 500 words. Make sure you have a couple of friends look at your statement before you add it to your submission. Try to be open to suggestions in order to make it informative, without being wordy.


Here Is A Good Example Of A Writer’s Statement.

 “I wrote the screenplay, Three Dimes And A Broken Promise, last year after a friend moved 1000 miles away. Shortly after she moved, I found out about some lies that they said about me and I’ve come to a realization that she was never a good friend in the first place. The main character in this screenplay, Elsa, has a similar experience and plans to confront her friend, Julia, about this situation, years later. Elsa finds out that her friend suffers from depression and is having thoughts of suicide. Elsa's anger turns to sympathy and she helps Julia through a difficult time, without ever revealing what she discovered years ago. This story has a good ending, but my real life experience did not, because I never built up the nerve to talk to my former friend. We lost contact and I haven't been able to find her, but the situation still bothers me to this day.”


Typically, What Is The First Question A Filmmaker Or Screenwriter Gets In A Q&A Session?

"What inspired you to create this film or screenplay?" This is the most popular question at a Q&A because people want to connect with you, once they've seen your film or read your screenplay. All of the "big time" Directors get asked this in their TV interviews all the time. So please, give the Film Festival Judges and Film Festival Attendees what they want. Satisfy their curiosity and answer the question that everyone is asking. Make your statement and don't leave it to someone else, to explain the motivations of why you created this film or screenplay.


Oregon Documentary Film Festival 2018-1 Event 112 WP


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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