Thursday, December 31, 2015

My Indie Film 2015 Wrap Up

What a year it is has been for my jump into the indie film-making pool. Sure, we actually shot the film in 2014, but it was 2015 that I became acquainted with the Film Festival circuit - intimately. As I like to do with most things, I thought I'd share my experience for other filmmakers out there who may be venturing into this world with a few observations and tips.

I started this journey by using both Without a Box and Film Freeway to submit my film to festivals. I don't want to say the amount I submitted to because it was a HUGE  amount. (Thankfully we had raised funds for this on our crowd-funding endeavor.) 

2015, we ended up as part of festivals with MOTHER in Boston, LA, Houston, Portland Oregon, East Lansing Michigan, Indiana, Golden Door at Jersey City, Hoboken Film Festival, Nevada, Maverick Movie Awards and a few others. A little over a dozen places which for a first time filmmaker was AMAZING. But yes, the % versus those we entered...very small.

1) I quickly decided to only enter those that would allow for online submissions. Burning and sending DVDS gets costly & you still may not get in. It's going to be 2016 - places should accept online at this point.

2) Printing postcards,posters,
marketing materials for every festival you attend can be a high cost and very little return (for short films). Yes, feature films attempting to get distribution...it makes sense. For me, it didn't.


3) Some festivals treat short films like the ugly step children of the film/Cinderella world...do your homework on this and just know that many people are there for the feature films. (Don't let it get you down too much.)

4) Some festivals are amazing and treat all filmmakers equally. You almost feel embarrassed by the accolades.

5) Being able to attend all the festivals is a pipe dream unless you are extremely wealthy and do not have a day job.

6) I was advised to only submit to those you intend to attend. They say it's all about the networking. I may have sucked a little at this part.

7) People get to see your work; people outside of your cast/crew/circle of friends. It's wonderful when you hear your film has touched the life of someone in the audience: treasure that moment!

8) Talking about a year old film/project can become daunting because for you - it happened so long ago. Keep in mind it's fresh and new to those seeing it at the festival so try & keep up the enthusiasm for it even though you may have moved on.

9) Speaking of moving on...everyone wants to know what you're working on now/next. It doesn't matter that your film may have won an award at the festival you attend...to many, you're only as good as what's coming up NEXT. (I wanted to say I was busy promoting MOTHER and have several other jobs outside of film...instead, I said I was writing a screenplay: partly true. It's just not finished yet.)

10) No matter what happens, how many accept you, if you win or not - just enjoy the experience! You created a freakin' movie and for that...you should be proud!

I can't thank all of the festivals enough that liked our work and invited us to be a part of their events. I had an amazing cast, crew, support system and though I'm not certain when I'll do this again...I'm looking forward to whatever 2016 has in store!

  

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Best of New York City Theater 2015

It's that time of year where I like to share my thoughts on some of the best shows/moments I saw in New York this year (in no particular order). So here we go!

I'm a huge fan of Manhattan Theater Club and they started the year off with a bang for me with Constellations. It offered two of the best performances of the season by Jake Gyllenhaal and Ruth Wilson

The Fiasco Theater teamed up with The Roundabout Theatre to take us deep into the woods with an amazing production of Sondheim's Into the Woods. What a joy this was to see it stripped down with an incredible ensemble (and the first time I saw Jennifer Mudge on stage)!

Christina Bianco was AMAZING in Application Pending which played off-Broadway and had this very talented woman playing 40+ characters. (I can't WAIT to see her in The Rise and Fall of Little Voice in 16-17.) 

Fun Home found its way up town this season (and right into Tony winning history) and while I had issues with it downtown, it completely captivated me on Broadway.

The critics and Tony voters may have had no love for Finding Neverland, but the show is still running and it got me in the heart!

Speaking of my heart, I saw An American in Paris while visiting Paris last Christmas break and found it completely engaging and beautiful when it moved tot he Palace Theater in NYC. Captivated by the romance! 

Last spring, I was on the 2nd row of the Public Theater to experience Hamilton and bought into all of the hype thrown on this show. I've yet to get back to see it on Broadway, but if you can...GO!

I can honestly say I didn't expect to like Something Rotten as much as I did, but man-  what a fun show this is! If you want a silly yet clever night at the theater, this show is for you!

My favorite onstage couple would probably have to go to Jennifer Mudge and Kelly AuCoin in Of Good Stock presented by Manhattan Theatre Club. The two of them gave us a true marriage on stage with all of the love, angst, and 'dance' that couples must do. 

One of my favorite actors was back off-Broadway in The Qualms at Playwrights Horizons. Jeremy Shamos is wonderful in anything he does: stage, TV, film. The man jumps into a role and makes us belief his journey...completely! 

Sometimes the most amazing works are presented WAY off-Broadway, which was the case with SeaWife presented by Naked Angels at the South Street Seaport. This was more than a musical - it was an experience. 

I missed Spring Awakening the first time it came to Broadway, but lucky for me, I was able to see the incredibly moving production presented by Deaf West Theatre.

My favorite Broadway play of the season was set in the future with a nod to the past: King Charles III. What an intriguing evening of theater!

I can't wait to see what 2016 has in store!