Film Festival Skin And Bones
What up Milw?
I had a great conversation with a friend at VITAL about the excitement of starting a film festival. Here’s my take on a jumping off point for all you sinners:
Film Festival Skin and Bones
Aka Marketing and Advertising for those who don’t want to concede to the fact they are selling…..
The nerve center of the festival. Trade out lots of festival costs like the 3 biggies: location, projection/sound, and media partners. Important Note: get your location and projection/sound first because you will not have a festival otherwise. Create package with exclusive and non-exclusive levels. Why are you different, demographic reached, year round reach, event only reach, etc
sell tickets for screening. Very easy with one screen venue, tends to get complicated with multi-day, multi screen. Sell tickets to general public, handles lines / sales for passholders, jury, press, filmmakers, etc.
Manage Rush Line: tickets sold once passholders are in.
If there is an audience award, Box Office distributes, collects and counts ticketed results.
Head of Programming and
CAN NOT BE ON JURY. DO NOT CONFUSE THIS. Your festival will be bullshit if you do because programmers can sway what films get in and what films win. Filmmakers sniff this out, spread the word that your festival is shit and you will not get submissions or attendees. Plain and simple.
Head of Programming heads up organizing of submissions, creating call for entries documents, sets early and late deadline by postmark only – no late submissions. Another bullshit festival move. Determines definition of short or feature / categories for awards ie: animation, 8mm, vision award, best song, best director, best editor, etc. Organizes programmers on schedule of watching and scoring submissions. Sets dates for all programmers to get together to determine the slate of films in competition.
A handful of qualified, high profile film, music, art peeps brought in to view films. Preferably attend festival. Fest must also set up side room for viewing films again to discuss their scoring. No one from the festival should be in room during deliberation. Director of Programming sets time deadline for results to present awards.
Parties, happenings, happy hours, panels, networking events etc surrounding the festival. Works closely with sponsorship coordinator to determine budgets / what events can be sold to what sponsor. Basic checklist: venue, backline sound, flyers, talent, a beer/wine/liquor/energy drink sponsor…..simple math: free drinks=big turnout=good for sponsors/filmmakers/life of festival.
Projection & Projectionists
Most overlooked yet most important department. Do not get a college kid to sit by a corporate dvd projector and shit his pants when the bulb blows. If the projection goes, the fest dies and looks bad, sponsors leave and you are done. Also, having a skilled projection department / equipment opens up what screening formats are offered and opens festival entries to potentially higher level of filmmakers shooting on a range of formats.
Printing – Festival Program
Prints all fest info and ads promised to sponsors. Fest info: maps to locations, all contact info, all filmmaker/film info, all party / event details, index. Must have strict artwork deadline. Must distribute in advance of festival to spread the word. Sell at festival – creates a collectors feel to the book and exclusive feel for the cool kids who scored one early.
Press and Media
The voice of the festival. Handles and organizes all calls and emails related to festival, its staff, jury and filmmakers. Reaches out to invite press members and distribute press / photographer passes. Check in face to face only. Forces people to talk about / come down to festival. Press Office will route messages to proper outlets. Important to have one, unified voice for festival – always includes thanks to sponsors, dates of fest, website. If people forget to include these items on a call or email, your press hit is wasted.