Write, Direct, Repeat: Film Festivals and the Short Film, Part 1
Last week I had the thrilling opportunity to premiere my second short film, Deal Travis In, at the New York International Short Film Festival. This was the second consecutive year I premiered a short at this festival and my mind was flooded with memories of how I felt at this time last year.
I had never made a film before and I remember hoping for a robust festival tour. But no matter how much I’d read about film festivals to prepare, I couldn’t know what to expect until I went through the process myself.
For this second film, I have a year of screening at festivals under my belt. Before jumping back in, I evaluated what worked, and what didn’t, as I crafted a plan for taking my new film out into the world.
In this two-part article, I’ll share what I’ve learned and keep the focus on short films. I found there’s a big difference in how you put out a short than a feature. The opportunities, goals and expectations are for the most part quite different.
The one choice I never considered last year was to bypass film festivals altogether and go directly to online distribution. This time around I felt I had to make a thoughtful decision about this. The investment of time and money warrants this careful choice.
SHOULD YOU GO THE FESTIVAL ROUTE WITH YOUR FILM?
Thanks to the Internet, you can now make a film and share it with an audience the moment you’re done. In addition, an online release and a festival run don’t have to be mutually exclusive. If you decide to go after festival screenings, once you’ve compiled your targeted list of festivals, check to see which of them do NOT allow films to be available online. Short of the Week recently posted “The Essential List of Festivals and Online Eligibility” and it’s a great addition to your research when deciding how to get your film out to an audience.
What do you truly hope to achieve with your short film?
For my first short, my goal was to learn everything I could about making a film from concept through distribution. This is in large part why I wanted to try it all, including marketing my film, attending festivals and exploring distribution strategies.