Featured Guest | Jenna Cato Bass
Posted December 17, 2009
So more and more festival politics - I never expected to be in this situation. In fact, I'm still don't believe I'm in this situation. But hopefully it'll be sorted out soon and I can go back to stressing in peace about normal things. Like Q&As - actually quite looking forward to that - it'll be my first one since film school. Ha ha....*nervous laugh*...
But what is craziest is the amount of paperwork, documentation, publicity materials and correspondence that have to be kept up with and completed in what seems a drastically diminishing time frame. I now understand why films have publicists et al. Those guys earn their keep. Because as it is I'm doing it all myself. Spent some time with Jacques this afternoon choosing the clips for our clip reel to send to the Sundance publicity dept. Harder than it looks. But it luckily reminded me of the fact that we don't actually have a trailer. It seems Jacques won't have time to do one - he's working on a documentary at the moment - so hello, Final Cut, my old friend, get ready for some trailer makin. So I thought that before I set off on this task, I'd ask Jacques, the editing sensei, for some advice. And I transcribed the pearls of wisdom for the edification of others - see below:
Jacques's Top 8 Suggestions for Cutting a Trailer for The Tunnel:
1. "Work through it systematically."
2. "It's actually a very easy trailer to cut. Because we have so much voice over."
3. "Basically I think, begin with the voice over. Obviously."
4. "Sum up the fact that it's a coming of age story. Because I think the film is quite traditionally structured and you can construct the trailer like that. Because it really does feel like a feature film. I was describing it to an editor and they were like, "wow so this is a short film?" and I was like, 'Ja, it's 25min'."
5. "Emphasize the supernatural element. Ja."
6. "And really, I mean, just find one song, don't use more than one song."
7. "There really are so many good shots. Because our film rocks. And we cover such an emotional spectrum that there's a lot to choose from."
8. "I can't see how you can botch it up, really."
A digression: I got the best birthday presents ever. The reasons I say this is because three of them consist of some amazing film books which I thought I'd share here -
You and Me and Memento and Fargo by JJ Murphy - on the anatomy of American Indie scriptwriting - wow! Who knew such a book existed. (Thanks David!)
Projections - a collection of interviews with European filmmakers. Many awesome European filmmakers. (Thanks Jacques!)
A massive Taschen boxset of 101 amazing films which is probably the most heavy thing I own. Such lush, beautiful and inspiring pictures (Thanks Carla, Mika, Lynn & Kim!)
Tired now - I'm starting to get 'email browser eye' - the symptoms of which are an annoying and constant twitch in one's left eye. bye bye.
Posted December 11, 2009
So, I'm in this strange position now where I have quite a lot to say but I'm not really allowed to say it. It's annoying when this happens if you're in the film industry, because if you can't tell people about your career developments, when they happen, you look like a bum. But I guess it's all worth it and sensible in the long run.
It being Friday and the week winding down time, I'm trying to make sense of it all. On the money side, things look bleak. It looks like I'm back to the 'spending every cent I own as well as much of my parents' money' option. The guys at work have offered to set up 'Help Send Jenna to Sundance Fund'. But really, I can't. I feel like I'm holding out for something, but sooner or later I'm going to have to bite the bullet and accept that when I come back I will be flat broke. Maybe it will be spiritually uplifting. But I doubt it.
But people have so far been very kind. The Sundance accommodation people have definitely eased the horror of how expensive it is to stay in Park City. As well as Jacques, Laura and Katherine for sharing said accommodation and coming half way across the globe to be the support team. Also, Erika, a designer (met her through Daniel - more on all that later when things are less secret) who is helping with the promo material as I decided that the times of doing my own design is over. So ja. It could be worse.
And dang, I'm excited.
So I've been speaking to quite a lot of people about festivals and have come to realize that for those of us early on in our careers, festival protocol and just general awareness is not high. I guess I've been lucky to have had the experience I've had so far, I think it's definitely helped. But so I thought I'd make a little list of helpful resources - if you're in any way a festival veteran, this'll all be very old news, but if you're about to tackle the festival circuit for the first time with your film, I would really recommend checking these out:
BERLINALE TALENT CAMPUS: Not a ticket for your film to screen at the festival, but invaluable experience at a major festival that, if you get in, will really help prepare you in future. There are also campuses (campi.... no.) in South America and South Africa.
FILM FESTIVAL SECRETS: Online book. Awesome - didn't know they made free niche web resources this good.
FILM FESTIVAL SECRETS (BLOG): Brilliant blog (related to above book)
ALL THESE WONDERFUL THINGS: If you're in documentaries, go here.
FESTIVAL DO'S AND DONT'S: Cool article over at Moviemaker.com by Paul Osborne, one of the makers of Official Rejection.
ADVICE ON CREATING A WEBSITE FOR YOUR FILM: An open letter from Jette Kernion
And if you're like me and are worrying about the who/what/where of festival premieres, check out this article, also on the indispensible Film Festival Secrets blog.
Lastly, and if you are going to Sundance, you've probably already this grrrrreat blog post (not sure who it's by). This is all assuming you're like me and whenever you do anything you research it to hell first (except when you don't. And then you wish you had) - so assuming you are, then enjoy. But, having said all this, the most important thing, I'm quickly coming to realise, is just relaxing and not giving a damn. So there.
And finally (which is different to 'lastly' obviously) two directors whom I wish would/could make more films: Tim Blake Nelson (who was the feature in the first article I ever read about Sundance) Todd Field (who I'm trying to forgive for taking Blood Meridian from me. That was MY adaptation!)
Posted December 07, 2009
It's 12.20 and I'm crying in the kitchen. All my plans for getting funding towards attending Sundance have fallen through. As it stands, I can't get a cent.
It never ends.
Trying now to rationally scheme and plan, and hear myself think above the din of my own internal monologue, which right now contains enough cursing to supply a sailor's bachelor party. It's coming down to this: Will I be reduced to borrowing another massive chunk of money from my parents (who at this rate probably feel like the world bank. Except without the money) or do i spend every last penny of the money have accumulated over the last decade. And then still have to take a loan from my parents. Oh hell.
Am trying to focus: There will be Fassbinder prints showing in Berlin (Hannah Schygulla is getting a life time achievement award). Sundance will be Sundance. Really, money is the small thing here. Right? OK... OK... back to work.
What Exactly Is Going On Here?
Posted December 04, 2009