A Great Film Festival Experience.

I spent some time at the Orlando film Festival this year and I was really impressed at the quality of work being represented by filmmakers from across the country. It was a great time to network, mingle with great people, great ideas, and simply have fun.

This is only the second film festival that I have been to, but this experience was drastically different from my first one. It was far and away a more positive experience than the original than the first, but I did take note of several of the key factors which I believe make for a great overall film festival experience.

Great Filmmakers market their films at film festivals.
A lot of films have great posters on the wall that obvious effort went into with very creative people doing great graphic work. But as I walk through the hallways of the theatre, I am struck at how many posters have no logline or indicator of the film’s content. What’s more, many of the film’s have no one marketing the film while myriad’s of people meander about looking for a good flick to invest a couple hours into.
Compare that to the several filmmaking teams that were busy handing out chocolate tickets, shaking hand’s while handing out postcard’s , greeting passer’s-by with well-thought-out 30 second pitches. These director’s and producer’s were still marketing their film’s and showing people that they were still excited about their product regardless of how well it faired elsewhere or how long it had been on the circuit. When done well, I got excited about a couple film’s that had not previously been on my radar.

Great Filmmakers don’t bandstand on/or at the expense of other filmmakers’ platform’s.
Most individuals that show up for a more highly-profiled film festival are absolutely professional and let their work speak for itself. That being said, there are a handful of filmmakers who find it necessary to talk up their credentials over and against other people’s work. They even push into theatre’s where people are about to watch someone else’s work and do a standup routine to advertise their own film to a seemingly captive audience.
These tactics, while done with an airs of professionalism and experience, are slightly shameless and lack integrity. If your work is great, it can stand alone as great on it’s own merits. If you are an intelligent filmmaker and mentor, your reputation will be built upon the integrity of your work. Theirs is never a need to put others down in order to present yourself in a more advantageous position. For the more mature individuals you encounter, these behaviors do exactly the opposite for your reputation and return on investment. Develop your pitch and platform and do it well during your fifteen minutes, but let other’s have theirs and let the audience make their own decisions about others.

Great Filmmakers celebrate their team.
Most film’s are not one-man/woman-shows. Celebrate those who helped you earn the spotlight. Simple.
Great Filmmakers have fun.
Filmmakers come in every shape and size, from every conceivable background, with tons of represented life experience. But the people who are exciting to meet are the people who are enjoying the filmmaking process, including sharing their work with the world. This industry is full of creative geniuses and beautiful work. There are times when work represents passion, art, dreams, inner demons, or the inner child – but the process has to be enjoyable if it is going to sell. People will put up with heavy, even dark material, but they want to know and see that the film is not just a project but an enjoyable experience. They see that in the manner with which the film is pitched and presented; the manner in which the Q&A time is handled; and the way in which the filmmaker relates to his audience and admirer’s afterwards and throughout.

Be positive. Have fun. Be professional. Have fun. Be approachable. Have fun. Be prepared. Have fun. This is what makes a great film festival experience.

You can check out more of the happenings of the Orlando Film Festival here: orlandofilmfest.com/
Orlando Film Festival

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