This week just a very brief post, mainly updating FROM HELL HE RIDES. The first scene has been completed and the jail set is gone. Painful yes but I don’t have room to keep this stuff so down it came. I’ve started work on the next set which should be up and ready by early January. A lot of people ask me how I’m able to move so quickly through these projects. There’s really no trick to it, you just have to keep chipping away. Sounds simple but it’s a learned skill.
There are networking benefits to film festivals if you are able to travel to them but there are limits to what can be accomplished. There are a lot of factors at play. What city is the festival in, what kind of festival is it (short films, genre, shorts and features) what time of year is it, what day and time does your film screen. You’re not screening alone so what other films are you screening with, are you playing with the work of local film makers, what other film makers are going to be in attendance: these all have a huge impact on the response and the audience you will get. For the most part festivals are counting on you to help fill the seats which is why an on line presence is so important. My best advice is to be strategic. Only enter festivals that share your audience. Stay in your lane. And never submit to a one day festival unless if it’s part of a monthly screening series. The money you save by not over-entering is better invested on creating a web site or buying on-line promotion. And for the love of Satan do not spend 2 years on the festival circuit for a short film. That’s just crazy. Remember, the most important thing is to make a good film and speaking from experience that is way harder than it sounds. Speaking of making films, animation is continuing at a brisk pace on FROM HELL HE RIDES.
Submitting to festivals can be addictive. When you get in you want to enter more. When you don’t get in you want to make up for the losses by entering more. If you’re not careful you can easily find yourself spiraling out of control, spending literally thousands of dollars on entrance fees. Festival screenings provide a certain level of legitimacy for a filmmaker. If my film plays in a festival, on a big screen, then I’m a real filmmaker. Getting your film in front of people is never a bad thing; in fact, it is the main thing. Where most filmmakers get derailed is when they start believing that festival screenings are some kind of magical launching pad to bigger things. I don’t mean to marginalize the festivals, many of which I myself have been a participant but hundreds of films are screened at every event which means it’s that much harder to make a lasting impression. When you think of the thousands of short films being made each year, the chances of your little film breaking through are ridiculously small. But it’s not all doom and gloom. Far from it and I’ll tell you why I think that way next time. As for FROM HELL HE RIDES … after 10 months of pre-production, the year long process of animation has begun. Pictured is the very first captured frame. 15 minutes @ 15 fps means just another 13,500 frames to go.