Note: Because this course is an ongoing series, viewers will not receive a certificate of completion.
Skill Level Beginner
- All right, I am totally ready for this film festival. I've got my purse, I've got my promo stuff, my portable battery, and, but wait a minute, I can't find my film. (bright music) You've submitted your film to multiple film festivals, and you finally got that super exciting email letting you know your film has been accepted to one. Congratulations, you did it. But before you buy your plane ticket, there's still a lot to do to prep. So let's go over some tips for going to a film festival. First up, traveling to film festivals can be expensive. So if you're accepted into a film festival where you happen to have friends and family who live there, save yourself some money by crashing on their couches. Believe me, hotel fees can add up quick so it's a great way to save some cash. However, if there's no couches available for crashing, try to book a hotel or Airbnb that's close to the film festival location. Larger festivals can get really jam packed with traffic so being able to quickly move around on foot could save you a lot of time. Also pro tip, bring comfortable walking shoes as you'll probably be walking a lot. Next up, make sure you pack a portable battery you can use to charge your phone. You're most likely going to be out all day and in some cases, all night. So the last thing you want is for your phone to die. I've seen people try to rely on plugs at film festival locations, but often these are few and far between because they're already either in use for the festival or the 20 other people who had the same idea are hogging them. So make sure you keep your phone full of juice so you can connect with other filmmakers on social media. Mhh, juice. Next up, you'll want to pack some snacks. Film festivals can be chaotic and your schedule might be so busy you don't have time to grab lunch. Plus, usually the food offered for purchase at film festivals are well, overpriced. So packing some snacks can be a lifesaver when you're rushing in between panels or screenings. Next up, bring business cards that you can give out to other filmmakers, potential investors, or anyone you might want to stay in contact with. Pro tip, if you can afford it, have a custom business card that has your film's name or logo on it. That way the receiver will know which film you're connected to in the film festival. Also create four by six promo cards that you can pass out to people at the film festival that promote your film. And pro tip, leave a blank spot for the screening info for your film. Then when you know the screening times and locations, print out sticker labels and put those in the blank spots. That way you only have to print up one batch of promo cards that you can use for every film festival. And finally on our packing list, make sure you have an extra digital copy of your film just in case. These can be on a thumb drive, DVD, or Blu-ray. This might seem like overkill in the Dropbox world we live in, but sometimes internet connections can be spotty, equipment can break down, or the film festival might have the wrong version of your film. So make sure you have a backup so you can ensure your film still gets seen. Once you're ready to head to the film festival, make sure you arrive a day early before it starts. This way, you won't miss anything. Plus it will help you get a lay of the land ahead of time. This is especially useful if you're attending a large film festival that might be spread out. Next up, go to as many screenings as you can. There, you'll not only get to see other fantastic films, but you'll usually also get to hear from other filmmakers and Q&As after the screenings. Pro tip, by watching other filmmakers films you have a guaranteed icebreaker when you get a chance to talk to them. Everyone is always flattered to hear that you watched and liked their film. So use this as a way to make an instant personal connection. Plus by seeing their film, they will probably make an effort to see your film as well. Next up, go to all of your own screenings. This might sound obvious but some filmmakers skip their film screenings. However, as filmmakers, you're there to promote your film. So this is key. Plus, as I mentioned before, most film festivals do Q&As after film screenings, even for short films. So missing this is missing an opportunity to connect with the potential audience who wants to be your fan. Also, go to as many networking opportunities as possible. This can be filmmaker mixers, film panels, award shows, or parties. Film festivals are great for getting people to see your film or winning awards, but networking opportunities are priceless. And speaking of networking, if possible, try to connect with the film festival director and even connect with them on social media. Festival directors have seen every film so they will know who you are and obviously like your work because they selected your film. Connecting with them and maintaining a long lasting relationship will help them remember you when you submit your films in the future. Now, I'm not saying that this guarantees your future film will get in, but it definitely helps if they remember who you are, and that you've been a part of the film festival before, and that you're a cool person. And speaking of being cool, finally, be cool to everyone you meet, especially all the people involved with running the film festival. Everyone is there to support film and filmmakers, and organizing a big event like that takes a lot of work. They basically are doing all of this so people can see your film. So make sure you thank them and treat them with respect. If festival organizers are taking a long time to reply to your emails, just be patient with them as they probably have hundreds of other filmmakers emailing them with more questions. Send a polite follow-up email and always respond to their emails as quickly as possible to help them out. All right, now that you know these tips, you'll be sure to rock the film festival circuit like a pro. Can't believe I forgot it, I, oh, there it is. Oh, phew, oh man, do you think they still play these? Urg, I'm sure they do.