Festival Frustration

Animation is a lot of work. My friend Cory thinks I must have OCD to be able to sit there and draw the same picture over and over. For some reason animation works for me. I’ll sit there for hours on end drawing, tracking frame numbers, filling out exposure sheets, tweaking animatics a frame at a time, etc. etc. blah blah blah. I don’t get bored with it. I think I even find it relaxing in a way. Or maybe it’s like meditation.

Still, that doesn’t mean I automatically sit down and do it all the time. Like any work, sometimes I have trouble motivating myself to actually sit down and start. I guess that’s been happening some lately. I was way busy in the week or two leading up to Christmas, so I genuinely had too little time to work on DFtS, but since getting back in town yesterday I could have worked on it a number of times. Deep down in the sub-cockle area of my heart I’m a procrastinator.

It’s the same way, only a million times more, once the film is completed. You’ve created your magnum opus; now what? The answer, for most independent filmmakers, is to submit it to festivals. Today I registered on withoutabox.com, a web site where you can enter the information for your film once and then submit it electronically to lots of different festivals. Real easy, right? Yeah, it is, but there’s more to it. I still have to pay the submission fee for each festival (which ranges from about $15 to $60 for each film submitted to each festival) and send them the actual film on physical media (most accept DVD, which is good because it’s really easy and cheap for me to make one of those). So I have to make a financial and time commitment for each festival I want to submit each to, not to mention decide which festivals I want to try for. If I had money unbound I’d just go through and submit to as many festivals I could. It might even be easier that way, since then I could send out my DVDs in huge batches.

So I was sitting there in front of my computer, having entered the information for I Must Destroy You, one of my recent films, but I just couldn’t make the commitment. I looked at a few festival listings but I just felt overwhelmed. I don’t really know anything about any of them, so it’s kind of hard to click to button to give them $30 so that they’ll look at and probably reject my film.

See, that’s another problem. I don’t have a lot of confidence in this process. I submitted my first film, Pink & Ain’t, to a two or three festivals but I didn’t even hear back from any of them. I thought it was a pretty good film but I guess it wasn’t good enough for those festivals. Really I should have submitted it to more, but I couldn’t get the motivation up.

Looking at it rationally, though, I think I can get into and even win some festivals — I just have to try. I have to make myself believe it’s worth the time and money to get my name out there.

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