Feeling left behind because you're not going to Park City this week? Here are a few ideas on how to keep yourself occupied -- either by distracting yourself with other business or by taking part vicariously. In no particular order:
- Hold some test screenings for your own film. Chances are you haven't held nearly enough test screenings to really know how an audience will react to your film, so why not have a little festival magic of your own? See chapter one of Film Festival Secrets for more on holding test screenings, but it's pretty simple: Get a bunch of strangers together, show them your movie, and gather some opinions. It feels good and it's good for you.
- Plan your festival strategy for the rest of the year. January is just the first month of the year, and there are plenty of important and prestigious festivals going on in the other eleven months. (OK, maybe not so many in December, but still.) Hit the web sites and really dig deep into each festival's personality. Figure out what their previous lineups really looked like, and whether they are a festival of discovery or if they're just regurgitating the Sundance lineup each year. Submit accordingly.
- Fill in the gaps on your marketing material. Maybe your press kit isn't as strong as it could be, or your postcard needs an overhaul. Go back over all of your marketing material and figure out what you're missing. Chapter 3 of Film Festival Secrets (the book) covers this in depth.
- Stay tuned to the indie film news. Old stand-bys Variety and indieWIRE are good places to start, but you can find a wealth of coverage by meandering over to Google Blogsearch and typing in "Sundance" or "Slamdance." One of my favorites is the local Salt Lake Tribune, which has some really in-depth coverage and a sense humor. Also: tune into the Twitter streams of folks like Basil Tsiokos, Brian Newman, and yours truly for important indie film news.
- Virtually "attend" the second Filmmaker Summit, hosted by Slamdance. Slamdance and its partners will be streaming the day-long Filmmaker Summit from Park City. They want filmmakers in remote locations to get involved, so check out the site today and mark your calendar to attend from the comfort of your easy chair.
- Best tip this year: tune into John Merriman's "I'm not at Sundance" tweets. (Like this one.) John is spot on about people who complain about the Sundance experience when they (or someone else) spent thousands of dollars to get them to one of the world's best film fests. If you're going, enjoy it. It's awesome. I'll see you there, and we'll complain about the snow together.