Saturday, 12 November 2011

Filming - The 2011 Update (1)

First of all some good news on a personal front. Remember, this is the blog of El Director, but for some reason, the talk or blogging about films has been pretty low this year. There are many reasons for that, as I will explain over the next few days.

Right, I have caught up with all my editing. I know it may sound minor but for me this is a major achievement. I have only one project on my slate, Amigos Amigos, the music documentary that feels like a millstone around my neck. Everything else, corporate videos, short films, DVD's for actors etc. have been completed and so I am now on a home run. I want to finish the documentary by the end of the year, and I am on course to do that. Hopefully by January it will be ready for film festival distribution, then I really do have a clean slate as there are no projects from the past left to clutter up my life.

Ah yes, the past, present and future.

Why do I make films, why have I done so for so long and why do I continue down this oh-so- vain path...

Let us start with 2011. his has been a poor year. Worse than 2010 (can it get any worse?) CWP's poor festival run is now finished. Despite approaching some television channels with regards to expanding the concept to a TV series, Caution Wet Paint has hit the dust. Just like another, earlier franchise of mine, An East End Tale, it is time to put it into stasis. This is a bitter body blow for me, but the reality is that no one is interested in the idea and for now, even though I love the movie, its potential and everything surrounding it, I also have to be cut throat. It is not yet time for it to be exposed.

Second, Irfan has flopped. If CWP's festival run was bad, then Irfan has been non-existent. At a total of 83 festival submissions, it has achieved none, other than a special screening this year at Quest Europe. The amount of rejection has reached an intolerable stage, and although a sick part of me wants to see if I can actually score 100 rejections, the common sense part of me says enough is enough. No more fees or postal submission costs, just put a halt to the project.

This is incredibly painful on two levels. First, due to the money spent. £700 is nothing for a film, but f you are self financing it, that is a lot of money, plus submission and festival costs, a lot of money was in fact, wasted.

Secondly, it was the first time I approached the set from a professional point of view. With a real unit, lights, good sound. Technically, it is the best I have created. But it has ot received one look in. Why?

Ah, and there we go into the quagmire of film festivals. The random choices that leave the majority of the 2,500 submissions received this year, left high and dry without a screening, while same, few, select films are shown at festivals all over. And that is the problem. Numbers. There are too many short films out there, and only film festivals are interested in screening them. The real world does not give a hoot about short films. And of course, every wannabe director like myself has the same mentality. Use the short film as a calling card to bigger projects. Well, maybe 15 years ago when film festivals were truly a breeding ground for self financed independent movies, this would have been the case. But time has moved on, festivals have got more picky as the art house scene has actually become another arm of well run studios.

If you are a festival elector, are you going to accept a submission from an unknown, or a well placed film, with (even minor) stars and some proper backing. There is no contest, you got an audience to think about.

And that may be my problem. You see, over the past few years, I have been concentrating on getting into film festivals or doing webisodes when in reality, these are lpousy avenues to work in and get films distributed. And do not talk to me about film distribution - these are the guys I have to appeal to - yeah. They are not the kind of people I am randomly going to bump into.

So what next?

I have just described the (recent) past and a little of what I am dong now. But a future, for me, making films? Why would I even bother. Tune in tomorrow, part 2 of blog rant will be coming up...


magiceye said...

film distribution can be tough!

el director! said...

@magiceye - film distribution is the key, and therefore the final part of the bottleneck!