How To Create A Compelling Directors Statement Or Writers Statement

By Mikel Fair

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Why Does Your Director's Statement Matter To Film Festival Judges And Attendees?

This article is from chapter 6 of the book, The Film Festival Submitter's Handbook. Have you ever watched a television show or movie and realized that it didn't quite make sense? Did you google search the film and try to find answers? You see endless opinions about what the storyteller was trying to communicate, but without hearing it from the Director or Writer's mouth, you're just guessing right? If a judge watches your film or reads your screenplay and is slightly confused about what you were trying to accomplish with this piece of art, do you think that you're going to get a 10 out of 10 rating? In some cases, if the content was meant to be mysterious, vague and thought provoking, then yes. But in most cases ... no.


Why Are Filmmaker Statements And Directors Statements Left Blank?

This is probably the most overlooked and forgotten item that filmmakers and screenwriters leave out of their FilmFreeway submission details. It's the the FilmFreeway Directors Statement box. This includes Directors Statements for short films, feature films, web series, music videos or TV Pilots. This also includes Writer Statements for screenplays and teleplays. 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.


I’ve noticed that the box on the film festival submission form for, Director's Statement, is commonly left empty. At most of our festivals, only about 50% of submission forms have a Director’s Statement at all. Some people will even put one sentence in the box that reads “I love Horror Films, Blood and Guts. I hope you like it.” One person even had something like, “If Charlie Chaplin and Charles Manson had a baby, you would truly understand what you just saw.” To this day, I still don’t know what that means. I encourage you to take this seriously. What inspired you? Was this an opportunity to use a specific location, actor or equipment? Did you shoot your film in Black and White? Why? Did you shoot your film in 4:3 aspect ratio, or Anamorphic for a specific reason? Is there a personal experience related to this film? Unlike a director’s biography, the Director’s Statement explains your personal connection to the film. Some (not necessarily all) of these statement ideas may help you create a strong Director’s Statement.

  • I chose to direct this film because …
  • While watching this film, I wanted the viewer to experience …
  • Some of the challenges making this film included …
  • I was inspired by the work of (blank) to create this film …
  • Working with these actors and actresses was special because ...
  • Working with this crew was fun because …
  • We were fortunate to get the equipment for this film because …
  • This film will always be special to me because …
  • The film turned out to be a little different than the script because …
  • We had some delays creating this film because …
  • We were fortunate to raise the funds for this film by ...
  • The experience working on this film will help me with future projects because ...

Here Is An Example Of A Director’s Statement

“I directed this film, Teen Broken Promises, after a friend, Sheila, moved 1000 miles away. Later, I found out she was spreading rumors about me. I came to realize that she was not a good friend at all. The main character in the film, Elsa, has a similar experience and plans to confront her friend, Julia, about her lies years later. Elsa finds out that Julia suffers from depression and is having thoughts of suicide. In my personal experience, volunteering at a women’s shelter, I met several women that struggled with dark thoughts. This inspired me create Elsa's character arc. The character’s anger turns to sympathy. She attempts to help Julia through a difficult time with communication and love, instead of confronting her with anger. We found the lead actress, Connie, through a long casting process. Her table read was amazing her performance in this film is so strong and emotional for me to experience. To this day, I am not sure what ever happened to my friend Sheila. Creating this film helped me deal with the pain I experienced years ago.”


What Is The First Question A Filmmaker Or Screenwriter Gets during Q&A?

"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. The "big time" Directors get asked these questions 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 questions that people commonly ask. Make your statement and don't leave it to someone else, to explain the motivations of why you created this film or screenplay.

What Does A Filmmaker's Statement Have To Do With Social Media Marketing?

Over the years, our eight partner events at Film Festival Circuit have been marketing more and more on social media. Facebook, Instagram and Twitter play a huge role, when it comes to the way we market each event. For the filmmakers and screenwriters that are selected, we create posts to promote their upcoming screening or award nomination to our festivals. If the FilmFreeway submission form has a Synopsis and Directors Statement totals 2000 characters or less, as well as an image associated with the submission, and a social media profile listed, then we will post and tag the filmmaker.  Please keep in mind that Instagram has a character limit of 2200. Don't get carried away with your director's statement and write a novel. At least not on your FilmFreeway Submission form. But if you have a lot to say about your film or screenplay, you should put this info on your website, or web page, that is dedicated to this specific film. Are you wondering where to add the filmfreeway directors statement?


5 Easy Steps To Add Your Director's Statement To FilmFreeway

Step 1: Log onto FilmFreeway and click on "My Projects."


Directors Statement 1 FilmFreeway


Step 2: Under Projects, select "View."


Directors Statement 2 FilmFreeway


Step 3: Now You Are On The "View Project" Screen


Directors Statement 3 FilmFreeway


Step 4: Scroll To The Bottom And Click on " Add Director Biography"


Directors Statement 4 FilmFreeway

Step 5: Enter Your Director's Biography and / or Director's Statement


Directors Statement 5 FilmFreeway




Mikel Fair

Mikel Fair

From 1999-2015 I worked on location in the television and film industry as a location sound mixer, production manager and field producer. I have also worked in post production as an editor, post sound mixer and composer. Today, I am the Director of Film Festival Circuit LLC, a US based company that manages international film festival events in Texas and Oregon. Our team is passionate about showcasing new independent films, videos, series episodes, screenplays and teleplays of all genres.

Are you new to the Film Festival submission process?

Film Festival Circuit events have reviewed over 5,000+ submissions since 2008. Our judges see issues repeated daily that weaken the presentation of films, videos and screenplays during the evaluation process. The Film Festival Submitter’s Handbook was written to help filmmakers and screenwriters build a successful strategy and avoid common costly mistakes when submitting to Film Festivals.

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