Sunday, May 10, 2009
How Do I Deal With Failure?
Before I get into the meat of this post, please allow me to thank my latest two 'Followers' Double Edge Films (Jamin and Kiowa Winans) and Coastal.
Failure fuels me. Rejection sharpens my focus. It would probably be wiser of me to not reveal what I am about to write...and yet I must. For this blog to work, I cannot only share the best of times, I must share all of my setbacks.
After I submitted to the Los Angeles Film Festival a few months ago, I continued my research and realized we were dead in the water. For a festival as big as the LA Film Festival, they hardly take any feature films like Night Before the Wedding. One with a modest budget and no big 'names' attached. But more importantly than all that is that we had no connetions, no direct ties to the gatekeepers at LAFF.
Bottom line was that unless we made connections quick, there was no way we were getting into that festival. We made the attempt, though not enough to make a dent, and of course we received our rejection notice.
But I had a backup plan. Submit to another festival that prides itself on discovering true indie gems. I am not in the mood to name this festival by name in this post. You can scroll down below to previous posts for those details.
Well certainly this indie festival would be one that we would get into. We even had two filmmakers contact the festival and put in a good word on our behalf. Another filmmaker who got his films into a handful of the Top Festivals bluntly said Night Before the Wedding was 'too good' for this indie festival.
As you have already suspected, we did not get into this indie festival either. That makes my film 0 for 3 on the festival path. What do you do when you strike out on Plans A, B, and C? Does it sting? Sure. Does it hurt? Yeah. Does it stop me? Absolutely not.
On one side, I wonder if my film is a 'festival film.' I wonder if it has too much profanity? There is a small part that wonders if my film is good enough.
Then there is the other side of me that probes deeper. Once again I ask myself, did they even watch the film? That doesn't last for too long, then my mind moves onto the politics.
And as I speak to more and more filmmakers, I cannot tell you how many times they tell me, the reason why I got into this festival or that festival is because I knew somebody. The part that pisses me off the most is the $30 to $100 entry fee to submit my film to these festivals. I can handle the rejections. I cannot handle blowing money in addition to essentially someone telling me that my film isn't good enough for their audience. That's money I would rather put into advertising.
For the time being, I am done with Festivals. I know I have a film that people want to see. The question is how many people? Well it is time to find out. In my next post, it is time to unveil the World Premiere of Night Before the Wedding.
We will do it on our own. We will show these Festivals who passed over our film exactly what we can do or maybe what we cannot do. I am tired of being passed over by these festivals. This is the film business and it is time for us to do some business. I do not want to wait around, playing the waiting game for these festivals.
My way to deal with failure? To not dwell on it. To keep my mind focused on what I can do. And to keep taking action.
It is my hope that you want to still see Night Before the Wedding despite these rejections. It is my hope to still have your faith and support.