Monday, August 30, 2010

Life in the Fast Lane

Last week, I drove over 105 miles to go to the big Media Night event for the Temecula Valley International Film Festival -- and it was worth it.

I enjoyed amazing drinks and appetizers at the gorgeous Monte de Oro winery and met some very cool filmmakers and reporters -- all of whom were excited for Another Life. What a great party! I can't wait for the festival!

For example, check out these cool films coming to Temecula:
Then I came home to 2 more rejection letters.

The film festival circuit -- and the career of any filmmaker -- is going to be an emotional roller-coaster ride. To keep my sanity, I have developed the following philosophy:
If they don't like my movie, then we have different tastes in film, so we probably shouldn't work together. If they did like my movie, then let's do lunch.
If you second-guess yourself after every rejection or only validate yourself with every success, you will go crazy. If you poured your blood, sweat, tears, money, and time into your work, and if you know in your heart of hearts that you made a good script/film with professional polish and masterful craft -- then it is good.

And don't let any festival or producer tell you otherwise.

Yes, rewrite your script for that perfect draft. Yes, tweak your press packet to better sell your short film. But never take a rejection personally.

For example, here's an excerpt from one of my rejection letters:
The XXXXXXXXXXXXX Festival is an international program, which premieres fewer than 35 films each fall. Since more than thirteen hundred films are submitted to us every year for consideration, the selection process is necessarily highly competitive, and our decision is in no way an absolute judgment on the quality of your work. We hope we will have the opportunity to see your films in the future.
I did that math on that festival's acceptance rate: less than 3% of films submitted were selected. So from the very beginning, every filmmaker has to know that they are up against the most impossible odds to achieve any kind of success.

How do you conquer these odds? Check out Indiewire's Filmmakers Toolkit, with tips and advice on how to break into the indie film scene from the mouths of film industry veterans.

But stay tuned this week and the next -- as I'll be getting some big news soon, such as Festvial Showtimes for Another Life and published articles on the film. See you soon!


  1. It is an AWESOME project..but like EVERYTHING in life it's not perfect for everyone and every festival..
    Just hang tight and it will will be accepted where and when it is suppossed to be...
    Its just a matter of time!!!
    So thrilled to be part of this amazing film!!!

  2. I think every artist who wants to be successful has to get over taking things personally. It's a difficult prospect--you pour your energy and your time into something and it's literally a part of you--and then you have to send it off to a group of strangers and hope that they recognize how awesome it is. The stress is almost enough to convince an artist to take a regular job... almost.

    Best of luck to you. Have you applied to any Chicago film festivals? I very much want to see this movie.

    By the way, I found you through my uncle's blog (John McCann). He and I have different last names because I'm his secret ninja niece.

  3. Thank you for your encouragement! And yes, I have applied to the Chicago International Film Festival. Cross your fingers and you'll be seeing it soon!

    Thanks for finding this blog -- I am a fan of Mr. McCann, but I think I am a greater fan of secret ninjas :)

  4. You're pro-ninja? I wish you even more success! I will definitely keep my fingers crossed for you.