The Bitter Man Reams the Festival Circuit
This has circulated among several sites lately (Film Threat, Indiewire, and Microcinema Scene to name a few), but it is so freaking hilarious that I just couldn't pass it up. Anyone who has ever submitted anything to a film festival can relate to this, and it just reinforces my feeling that your money is better spent on your movie--not someone else's festival.
An instant classic.
First of all, the author takes the time to produce a film, but he is freaked out because he has to fill out a form, write a small check and then [gasp] MAKE A COPY of his movie?
He is offended that the rejection letter is via email? What does he want? A personal phone call? Would that honestly be better? Why? The person who would be making that kind of call is going to be a minimum wage college student (or more likely, a volunteer who will also be an usher at the festival). This person will not have seen your movie... they will have received a list of names and phone numbers and a script to read which would be a word-for-word copy of the email rejection (or the snail mail if you were making films 10+ years ago).
Whoever wrote this rant better grow some thicker skin, because the reviews and feedback they're going to get on YouTube/Revver/Blip/Whatever are going to be far less polite than those from a festival. If the filmmaker is lucky enough to get the thousands of viewers they seem to fell like they deserve, the chances are that no one of any consequence is going to see the film that way. You submit to festivals to win awards and official recognition, have the right kind of people see your work, and hopefully to garner interest (and funding) for future projects. In other words, the $50 you spend to submit to a festival is an investment in your career.
If you're just in the business to have people giggle at your skits, then certainly entering festivals is a waste of everyone's time and money (yours AND the festivals'). However, if you are serious about a career, festivals (both traditional and online) are still the best stepping stone.
I guess what I'm saying is, as a filmmaker, if you think festivals are a waste of your money (and the precious 2 hours it takes to fill out the form, make a copy of your flick, and mail it), then you are absolutely right to stop that behavior. You'll be improving the odds for all serious filmmakers.