There’s a lot of advice floating around about film festival strategies, so as we’ve been finishing the film, we’ve been doing our homework. One of the books we bought was Film Festival Secrets: A Handbook For Independent Filmmakers by Christopher Holland. I thought it was great – tons of information delivered in a succinct engaging format. In fact, I’ve become a bit of a fangirl: I’ve practically memorized many of the sections; I quoted Chris in several of the classes we taught the students; and when Brian and I have conversations about our film festival plan, I’m always going, “Well, Chris says we should do so-and-so.” So imagine my excitement when I saw on Chris’s website that he offers his consulting services for a very reasonable price for shorts.
We contacted Chris and sent him the latest version of Saying Goodbye. He then emailed us his thoughts on our film, a list of fifty film festivals where he thought Saying Goodbye would be a good fit, and marketing suggestions targeted to our movie. But today was the most exciting part – we got a one-hour phone consultation with Chris. It took all my willpower to reign in my groupie-like gushing so I’d seem like a professional. Chris had some really nice things to say about the film, especially the acting and production values. He was also impressed by the jump we’d already gotten on marketing. His main concern was the running time of the film, just like our other professionals Jennifer, Roberta, and Ann. Although we’ve done a lot of cutting since the first rough cut, it’s still at a little over seventeen minutes, which makes it too long for most short programs at festivals. Chris reiterated that our chances for acceptance at festivals would be greatly improved if we could get it under fifteen minutes. Looks like it’s time to take out the pruning shears again.