A Late Links is a Weak Link
Festival programmers can’t afford to wait until all submissions are in before they begin evaluating projects. You’re putting yourself at an inherent disadvantage by submitting later, so be sure to plan your post-production schedule far enough in advance that you make the initial submissions deadline.
Give your festival submission the same level of care that you would a college or job application. Vimeo is the go-to platform for submissions. That doesn’t mean that a programmer won’t consider a YouTube link, but they’re probably going to be suspicious of your industry know-how if you send one. Always follow the submission instructions closely. You can’t afford to give a screener any reason to feel uneasy about recommending your film up the chain of command.
“Submit early to get in the system for as little money as possible, then continue to update your Vimeo link as you refine the cut and add final color, sound, music, etc. Do not change your Vimeo password or link.” — Senior Producer
“I wouldn’t submit on the latest deadline. It’s expensive and many programs, though not set in stone, have been decided by then.” — Programmer
“Have an extensive press kit on your FilmFreeway page with links, an in-depth synopsis, and a director bio. Show that you are professional and have put time and effort into presenting your film in the best possible light.” — Festival Director
“When I’m in doubt about a film, I read everything that’s sent to me. I like to know more about the filmmakers and the process they went through. I also like to see production shots and posters. Keep descriptions short and succinct, but tell your story.” — Festival Director
“Do your research and read the rules for the festival. Nothing says ‘amateur’ like emailing us questions when the answers are clearly stated in the submission language. Fill out the additional information on the submission platform. It doesn’t hurt to have a log line, a director’s bio and a cover letter. The more personalized your submission, the better. Also, don’t forget to change the name of the festival when you’re mass emailing people and don’t assume the person you’re emailing is a dude. Nothing is worse than reading an email from someone who got your festival name wrong and misgendered you.” — Programmer