Film festivals are amazing career opportunities for first-time filmmakers and video production editors. So how do you get the most out of these huge film industry events? The following 7 tip guide will take you through every aspect of film festivals, from prep before the event to what to do when it’s all said and done:
1. Research The Festival
Film festivals are a beehive of film industry activity. Make sure you know what everyone is going to be talking about, what and who is going to be there and what the festival wants to achieve. Solidifying this knowledge will pay you dividends in the long run. By knowing what films have done well, what audiences have enjoyed and what other filmmakers thought of the event, you can plan your approach to the festival effectively.
2. Get Your Application In Ahead of Time
Film festivals are huge opportunities for filmmakers. Many filmmakers use every hour before the application deadline to perfect their pieces. Leaving your application until the deadline means your film will get lumped in with everyone else who has more than likely done the same thing. Remember judges start looking at entries as soon as they get entered, and by deadline day they are already exhausted from watching film after film. To make sure your submission stands out, don’t just get it in early, but make sure it has a real focus to that particular festival.
3. Make Your Promo Material Memorable
A film festival is full of filmmakers, crew and promotional teams doing everything they can to get attendees to their screenings. Not only do you need to do the same, but you need to do one better. Get graphic designers, creatives and advertisers to help craft some really innovative promotional materials for your film. The more memorable you can make your promotion the better chance people will stop by your screening.
4. Get An Enthusiastic Team Together
Just like every other filmmaker you’ll need a team to help promote your film to the festival masses. Do what you can to get some energetic promoters on your side. Rope in enthusiastic crew members from your film, grab dependable friends and even your family. The bigger your team, the more people there are to help dish out your promo material and get the word about your film out there.
5. Be Pro-Active & Assertive
When it comes to getting your film out there and making an impression you can’t afford to be quiet about it. Meet and greet as many festival goers and filmmakers as possible. Make sure everybody knows who you are and that they should be seeing ‘your’ film. If you can generate a real buzz about your screening then word of mouth will certainly spread.
6. Be As Social As Possible
There are so many opportunities to get hold of at film events and you need to be grabbing them. Go to social events like Q & A’s, meet and greets and festival parties. These social events are a flood of film based networking. Every conversation is an opportunity. Talk to as many people as possible and try and make a connection with everyone you meet. It’s worth remembering a lot of attendees may not have seen your film so your film reputation rests solely on their interaction with you.
7. When The Festival Is Over, It’s Only Just Begun
Once the festival has come to a close your involvement with it has only just begun. Be sure to follow up every connection you’ve made after the festival. Try and secure real meetings with people you met, whether it’s for a quick coffee or slap-up lunch. Make the effort to email and phone everyone you exchanged details with, even if they don’t seem like a real lead. By going the extra mile to thank and talk to the relationships you made at the festival you can ensure you and your work is not forgotten.