directing not living up to expectation

Hi!

I made this profile to post this.

My major film school film was award winning. It won the industry choice award (judged by industry professionals who have made numerous big budget features with others in development. Who also worked for organisations such as Screen Aus, NSW and Victoria). We lost the audience choice award by 1 vote.

My college also had contact with organisations who would reach out to screen my film (one I remember was having a domestic violence awareness night and wanted to screen it).

Its a 1970s drama film that circles two brothers that live out in country Australia. After their mother leaves them due to their abusive fatherthey decide that if they steal there fathers gun and kill him, she’ll come home. The short circles the brothers as they learn to use the gun and come to grips with the situation.

The budget was 10,000 AUD. Most given to me by my school the rest I put in. We had a crew of 25 and shot over 4 days. I complete art dept, costume and makeup, cinematographer and professional sound mixers. The edit, grade and sound design was done by professionals who work for Australian TV and have done many Australia feature films.

I was told this film would start my career. But it has been rejected by every festival thus far, and is all but basically shelved, without ever having a world premier.

I don’t understand what I have done wrong. I spent 1,000 AUD on festivals submissions and I just keep getting rejected. Am I doing something wrong? Is my film not what they said it was? Why do I feel like I have to abandon this and move on?
 

sfoster

Staff Member
Moderator
If you want us to judge your film then we need to see your film.

I would venture to say that maybe you didnt do anything wrong.
Maybe it simply lacks genius in a very competitive world. Who knows. I haven't seen it.

edit to add - we have some industry professionals here but im not one of them
 
Last edited:
I'm interested in watching it too...

Let me just say this... And I could be completely WRONG but here it goes. I write very dark stuff. In fact? I've had many producers read some of my specs and tell me they were in a quandary. Why? Because on one hand? What I'd written made them FEEL and believe it or not? Most spec screenplays... Most shorts... Most no budget indie fare simply do NOT make people FEEL anything.

Problem was? Some of my stuff was so over the top and so dark that these producers just couldn't see their way to taking a risk on something as dark as what they'd read. LOL. Which is fine... I get it. In fact? I've had producers tell me if I would change this or change that? Maybe they could do something with it because of the other things they liked about it. When I used to hear that? I used to say, "Sure... I can do that." LOL. Then after a day or three of thinking it over? I said to myself... NO. It is what it is. I'll just keep trying to find someone who likes it all the way through. Now don't get me wrong... These producers basically liked what I'd written but they simply weren't up to the risk of making something that dark.

Which I find interesting because come on... In this day and age? Even television I watch is extremely dark. SE7EN was dark and that was made over 25 years ago... LOL. I could sit here and name a dozen or more movies that are easily as dark as specs I've written.

But in REALITY? People have a real problem when it comes to giving any attention to dark material.

I only mention this because your film sounds dark to me... Which is a reason I would LOVE to watch it... LOL. But in my humble experience in America with plenty of both no name and big name producers? They simply aren't willing to take a risk on DARK. I know there are some out there... There has to be but hell... Even when I sent those specs to producers who said they liked them? I didn't just pull their names out of a hat... I did my research. I didn't have those specs sent out to producers of rom-coms.

I also mention this because many moons ago when I was actually making short films? They too were pretty dark and I too sent them to film festivals only to have them rejected. No reason was ever given of course but now as I go back through these experiences in my mind? Dark material is a hard sell most of the time. I don't know if it's the same in Australia or not but it is certainly that way here in the states.
 
Last edited:

directorik

IndieTalk's Resident Guru
I don’t understand what I have done wrong. I spent 1,000 AUD on festivals submissions and I just keep getting rejected. Am I doing something wrong? Is my film not what they said it was? Why do I feel like I have to abandon this and move on?
This only thing you have done wrong is believe this...
I was told this film would start my career.
Who ever told you that is a fool. Do you know the famous (perhaps infamous)
William Goldman quote? It's as true today as it was when he wrote it in 1983.

Sometimes an excellent movie doesn't connect with the people running
film festivals. Even if you get accepted that doesn't mean much in a career.
Sure, you read the success stories. So what?

Are you ready to make another movie?
 
I'm interested in watching it too...

Let me just say this... And I could be completely WRONG but here it goes. I write very dark stuff. In fact? I've had many producers read some of my specs and tell me they were in a quandary. Why? Because on one hand? What I'd written made them FEEL and believe it or not? Most spec screenplays... Most shorts... Most no budget indie fare simply do NOT make people FEEL anything.

Problem was? Some of my stuff was so over the top and so dark that these producers just couldn't see their way to taking a risk on something as dark as what they'd read. LOL. Which is fine... I get it. In fact? I've had producers tell me if I would change this or change that? Maybe they could do something with it because of the other things they liked about it. When I used to hear that? I used to say, "Sure... I can do that." LOL. Then after a day or three of thinking it over? I said to myself... NO. It is what it is. I'll just keep trying to find someone who likes it all the way through. Now don't get me wrong... These producers basically liked what I'd written but they simply weren't up to the risk of making something that dark.

Which I find interesting because come on... In this day and age? Even television I watch is extremely dark. SE7EN was dark and that was made over 25 years ago... LOL. I could sit here and name a dozen or more movies that are easily as dark as specs I've written.

But in REALITY? People have a real problem when it comes to giving any attention to dark material.

I only mention this because your film sounds dark to me... Which is a reason I would LOVE to watch it... LOL. But in my humble experience in America with plenty of both no name and big name producers? They simply aren't willing to take a risk on DARK. I know there are some out there... There has to be but hell... Even when I sent those specs to producers who said they liked them? I didn't just pull their names out of a hat... I did my research. I didn't have those specs sent out to producers of rom-coms.

I also mention this because many moons ago when I was actually making short films? They too were pretty dark and I too sent them to film festivals only to have them rejected. No reason was ever given of course but now as I go back through these experiences in my mind? Dark material is a hard sell most of the time. I don't know if it's the same in Australia or not but it is certainly that way here in the states.
It's dark but I wouldn't call it very dark. I'll send it to you.
 
I agree with the other comments, and would also ask what festivals you've submitted to.

The reality is that the odds on a newbie getting into one of the top film festivals - unless you have a super high profile mentor with connections - are somewhere between slim and none.
I've submitted to both Sydney Film Festival and LA Shorts which it was rejected. Melbourne International, Sydney Underground, Tempere, Atlanta International, Naples, Slamdance, Aesthetica, Encounters, Woodstock, Vancouver International, Calgary International, New Orleans International, Raindance, Toronto to name a few.

That is hard to hear. That it isn't based on merit. I think its quite enough for me to move on and not make another film.
 
This only thing you have done wrong is believe this...

Who ever told you that is a fool. Do you know the famous (perhaps infamous)
William Goldman quote? It's as true today as it was when he wrote it in 1983.

Sometimes an excellent movie doesn't connect with the people running
film festivals. Even if you get accepted that doesn't mean much in a career.
Sure, you read the success stories. So what?

Are you ready to make another movie?

I've never heard the quote but I know what you mean. Expecting something to happen and it doesn't is the worst feeling.

And no, I'm ready to give up. I'm not thin-skinned, I just believe that what we deserve and what we get, is never in balance. I won't live that way.
 
Top