The Film Festival is the perfect place to be for an inspiring filmmaker or actor. Not only do you get to go watch great movies, party, connect with professionals, but there are a numerous other opportunities in the film market too. However, if you go unprepared you will not have the enjoyable experience you anticipated, and opportunities can be lost. So now that you’ve decided to go let’s wave some magic fairy dust, and learn the secrets to surviving one of the biggest events of the year.
1. PLANNING. Get the festival guide. It will include your movie schedule, tickets. You will also want to buy a zip-close folder for your planning schedule. Include your party invitations as well, and your list of movies you would like to see that may not be part of your package. Your guide should also include the locations of the events, and the locations of the local Hotels. This will also have the weather notes. Pack accordingly. You will regret it if you don’t.
2. RESERVATIONS. Make reservations for your airline tickets in advance. The tickets to these locations fill up quickly and you want to insure that you have your ticket booked round trip to avoid being stuck at home while your friends are all celebrating with top producers. Book your Hotel in advance. Also map out your location for Hotel to Festival. Mapsquest online is a great guide to find out how many miles you would need to travel from each Hotel. That will help you with the planning. In many festivals you wont need to rent a car because everything is in a general area, but book your car in advance if you plan on having one. You must pre-plan on parking as well. Find out the rules on parking at the Hotel you book.
3. THE “WHO” BOOK. This is my printed out mini-book of who is who. Now this may sound a bit pretentious, but when I go to festivals there are people I specifically would like to meet. I put their names in my “Who” Book, with other information on their film work. This is a great tool for conversation starters, and building a rapport is what you want to do at these events. “I really like the story of how you found the one-eyed cat, and included him in your movie.” Write down little in your “Who” Book including their film work. Always note what their first movie was. Everyone has a story about their first film, and that’s great for conversations. Look up the international movie data base online, and type in the name of the celebrity you’re researching. It’s a great way to know the work done by producers, actors, and everyone else working as a professional in the film industry.
4. BAG. You have to carry a bag with you at a festival. Even if you leave the Hotel with nothing, there will be t-shirts, hats, promotional products, DVD’s etc. given to you during your celebrations. Also, carry a bag to include your reservation folder, the “who” book, bottled water, prescription medicine, vitamins, aspirin, nuts or granola bar, camera, cell phone, mini-computer, business cards, mini flashlight, batteries, sunglasses, baby wipes, condoms, sun block, sunscreen, Ab’ovo Originals solid perfume, Ab’ovo Originals bathroom spray sanitizer, and ponytail holders. Backpacks work well.
5. PROMOTIONAL PR STUFF. Even if you are just there to promote yourself as a newcomer, or as an aspiring actor, you need PR material. This does not mean you need to carry a press-kit put together by your grandmother. What this does mean is to put a piece of candy, feather, bead, or button on your card., or add packaged aspirin to your card with website information. Just something that is original and not too gimmicky. It can be simple, but make it stand out. This way you can be remembered. Thousands of business cards are passed out during festivals. Put your photo on yours if you feel like it, but make sure you’re remembered by taking PR stuff with you. Put it in your bag. Also, check your information on the cards and make sure it’s up to date.
6. CLOTHING. Clothing is another thing that is not as simple as you think. You need to keep in mind that you want the people to remember you, not the giant fox you slaughtered to wear on your head. Before you are known, do not wear controversial clothing such as fur, bones, or X-rated slangs on t-shirts. The clothing represents you, the person, a filmmaker, actress, or director. Create your own future. Dress appropriately. This isn’t your family reunion, and impressions last a lifetime. Clothing can stand out of course, that’s okay. Wear bright colors, or your own designs, just don’t be controversial.
7. HUGS NOT DRUGS. Drugs are so un-cool. Especially if you want to make a life for yourself in the industry and be respected. Drugs suck. Especially at film festivals. This is the place where the wild side can be shown on the screen, but not at the party. Don’t do drugs. You never know who is there and can see you, or your behavior, and they will never work with you again. This is true even if they are doing drugs, they may quit the day after festival and still forever think of you as a druggy loser. Don’t get wasted on alcohol either. There is so much booze at festivals, and it’s easy to lose control. Don’t. This is not a real keg party, it is a party to get contacts and connections for your future, for your career. Keep your cool, stay sober, or keep the boozing light spirited. Also, keep your cigars, joints, or cigarettes away from the crowds if you smoke. So annoying for the non-smokers. You don’t make a good impression that way.