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Old 08-12-04, 10:26 PM
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More Film Festival questions

Well since I got a lot of replies to my last post a little while ago, I thought I'd try here again. Skip to the end if you just wanna see my question, here goes the long story first...

My fledging indie company is working on a short film. We're wrapped about 98% as far as filming goes and editing it now. We expect to have the rough cut done by Sept 1 so we can have till October to finish it, and the deadline for the fest we really want to enter (US Comedy Arts) is November 5th so we have plenty of time to get it done. This is our first time doing a real, serious production and this will be our first film that we plan to send out to film festivals.

The script was 30 pages at first, 39 by the time we we started filming because we kept coming up with cool ideas and then some of the actors had some really great ideas for their characters too. As far as building the rough cut, it's about 60% done and so far it's 37 minutes! We have more to film too, about 5-7 minutes worth of the story. Then there's the other scenes we didn't edit yet. Basically, it has a chance of being over 60 minutes, which for USCAF will make it be a feature instead of a short.

I get the idea that they like features better, since they take all the short films and show em all at once back to back, but give features differen't times of their own. And since they group up all the shorts together, and the shorts they show are, well, short, I get the idea that they don't care for "long" shorts like ours.

So, let's say the film comes out to be like 50 minutes. Would a running time like that hurt our chances of selection usually? Or, what if it ends up being 60-something minutes. That would make it be a feature as far as they're concerend, but then isn't it still kinda short for a feature? Would something less than, say, 80 minutes be considered too short and hurt us as well?

We don't want to go film extra scenes (that may not work well) for the hell of it just to make it longer, but so far it seems like we have a chance of it coming out to be over 60 minutes. Would something like this be a factor at all for the people that pick the films or is it really judged on the film itself? Personally I feel it's shaping up to be a damn good & funny movie (not trying to brag and stuff, just saying...) and I think we'd have a good shot at getting in, so I'm just kind of wondering if running time will really be a factor at all? And overall would we rather it was a short, or a feature? Like if it's a little over would we want to try and trim it down to under 60? Or just keep it as is and how we like it?

Any thoughts?
Old 08-12-04, 10:44 PM
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Add 30 minutes and make it a feature. Seriously.
Old 08-12-04, 10:56 PM
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Originally posted by PopcornTreeCt
Add 30 minutes and make it a feature. Seriously.
Definatley. Since its an independent film just add about 20 minutes of a character sitting in a dark room smoking ciggarettes.
Old 08-12-04, 11:17 PM
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Well, see, the problem is... being an indie micro-budget project the cast and crew (who have been awesome so far) all basically work free and they have lives they gotta go lead, and we don't wanna keep asking em to come do stuff. We had a 4-weekend commitment for all of them and that's about to become 5 weekends for some. Adding 30 minutes to the film would be another 3 weeks at least with all the preparing, scheduling, etc. Then there's the question of what do we fill said 30 minutes with that won't take away from the story. Right now it's all good and tight, filler will just look like filler and we don't want that to make it suck. Also having to film a whole lot of extra stuff would basically make it take a lot longer to finish the project and that would mean we'd have a good chance of missing our November deadline, which we don't want to do.
Old 08-12-04, 11:19 PM
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Well then call it a feature. You can't have it be more than 15 minutes and call it a "short".
Old 08-12-04, 11:54 PM
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That's what I thought, but it's just on their submission page it says anything under 60 minutes us a short, so if it's 59 minutes, they'll consider it a short. I'm just worried it'll be too long to be a good short, but to short to be a good feature. I guess we really won't know the official time till it's done, but still
Old 08-13-04, 12:01 AM
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Originally posted by RyoHazuki
Definatley. Since its an independent film just add about 20 minutes of a character sitting in a dark room smoking ciggarettes.
Old 08-13-04, 12:57 AM
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Originally posted by RyoHazuki
Definatley. Since its an independent film just add about 20 minutes of a character sitting in a dark room smoking ciggarettes.
Or 20 minutes of a gay cowboy eating pudding.
Old 08-13-04, 06:59 AM
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Add some outtakes at the end.... add a real slow and long crawl of credits at the end ... thank everybody you know, and several people you'd like to know. You can even thank me if you'd like.
Old 08-13-04, 10:26 AM
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First, you should make the film that you wanna make and not feel like to have to add things on just to make a specific running time.

The next thing to think about is that most festivals have a hard time with scheduling shorts over 20 minutes b/c they do have to package it with other shorts to make a "Shorts Program"....so for the most part they do favor shorter films.

However, if you film is damn good...then no matter what length, they'll accept it and put it in.

The last thing to note is you gotta know for yourself if you're making a short or feature. There are waaay too many films that fall right in the 60 minute mark and that's death. It's too long for a festival to schedule a 60 minute film into a shorts program, and it's too short to be a "real" feature film. A feature usually has to be at least 90 minutes....that's not a hard rule, but there a very few masterpiece films that are only 60-70 minutes long....those are usually the ones that go straight to video.

Just so you don't think I'm talking out of my ass.....I'm also an indy filmmaker and this is just my opinion. My short film only made it into one minor festival. So in no way am I saying I know everything....but this is what I've learned while experiencing the film festival process. The most important factor again is if people like your film, they'll find a way to program it into your festival.

Hope it helps and good luck!!!!.
Old 08-13-04, 11:03 AM
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thanks for the info.

We're not expecting our film to go to a festival and then suddenly get a nationwide theatrical release like some films to, in fact right after the "world premiere" festival which we hope will be USCAF we plan to release the DVD and we're planning to sell it for maybe $10 since it's not a "real" feature film. We just want to get it in some festivals for the exposure and so people besides folks we know can get to see our film This film is more like a resume for us, so that if the right person at a festival gets to see it and says "Damn, these guys are funny", maybe we can get an investor/producer or 2 to help us with the big projects we have planned.
Old 08-13-04, 01:53 PM
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After a successful run with our recent short (Punching Hitler which was at Cannes, Filmstock UK & VisionFest and won 4 awards so far), my partner and I decided our next project should be a feature. Our script is roughly 75 pages (give or take) and we plan on cutting some stuff from it.

After watching endless indie features at the festivals, we discovered that MOST of them are TOO long...even at 90 minutes. There are a lot of good ideas out there but most of the indies we saw didn't know where to edit. After talking with some of the directors, they thought they HAD to have something over 90 minutes for it to "feel like a film." The more and more I watched, the more I felt that a film just needed to tell it's story - not pad a script out just to make it "feel like" a feature.

If you film ends up being 60 minutes, go with it as long as it's good. Don't feel you need to fluff just to reach a certain length. You're making the film YOU want to make...stretching it beyond what it should be actually limits you and could hurt your chances at festivals.

Just my two cents.

Andrew

BTW - Check out our website (plug plug plug)

Last edited by The Valeyard; 08-13-04 at 01:57 PM.

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