It's the day after Thanksgiving – let the shopping begin! And don't forget the filmmaker in your life while you're at it. Here are some things that are essential to any filmmaker entering the film festival circuit.
5. A good travel bag like the ones made by Crumpler. At a festival a filmmaker needs to carry all sorts of things with her – promotional postcards, screener DVDs, cell phone charger – the list goes on. Crumpler makes some of the best bags I've seen. They're durable, attractive, and well-designed. For a festival day bag I recommend the Western Lawn messenger bag (pictured), but for more room consider The Complete Seed, a mammoth bag that can handle all your laptop/carry-on needs.
4. Submissions fees. Filmmakers spend a lot of money submitting to festivals and they rarely budget for this expense. You can help quite a bit by pledging to cover a submission or two. Fees run anywhere from $20 - $100 depending on the festival and timing (later deadlines are more expensive).
3. Lloyd Kaufman's book, Make Your Own Damn Movie! It's difficult to think of someone more qualified than Lloyd Kaufman to write a book like this – Kaufman held his own studio, Troma, together with his bare hands for decades. The book covers practically every aspect of filmmaking, including a short section on film festivals. If you're already a fan of MYODM, you should know that Kaufman wrote three follow-up books, Direct Your Own Damn Movie, Produce Your Own Damn Movie, and Sell Your Own Damn Movie.
2. The iPad 2 or Kindle Fire tablets. I'm seeing tablet computers like these more and more on the ground at festivals – they're a great way to show off a short film or film trailer to someone who wants to know more about you as a filmmaker. They're also lightweight and offer the ability to check your email and web site on the go. The iPad 2 ($499 and up) is the gold standard of course, but I'm hearing good things about the Kindle Fire ($199) as a portable video player for budget-conscious filmmakers.
1. The print edition of Film Festival Secrets. (Also available in Kindleand iBooks editions.) What kind of author would I be if I didn't include my own book in this list? If there's a better stocking stuffer for your festival-bound filmmaker friend or relative than this book, I don't know of it. Amazon currently offers a 15% discount on the book so you'll save a few bucks in the process.