Wednesday, 9 January 2019

What is Film Freeway?

Film Freeway is a great way for students to enter short films into international competitions.

Rather than enter your film individually into lots of different festivals, film-makers can create one upload to a single portal, and then apply through Film Freeway for as many competitions as you like.

Film Freeway has over recent years come to replace IMDB's Withoutabox, which is being discontinued and will close down in October this year.

What's this all about?
Festivals. Entering your project for film festivals is a time-consuming job - but it is necessary if you are looking to get exposure for your film and get your work noticed.  Film Freeway makes it easier by allowing you a single upload of your project, which is then linked to individual festivals.

Once you have successfully been accepted into a festival, you are now in the "official selection" for that festival. If you win a prize, this brings industry kudos and may also bring financial and other benefits. At the very least, you win bragging rights.

What does it cost to enter film competitions?
The fees vary immensely - from nothing to quite a lot. First of all, enter your project for the free ones, then take a look at your budget. Many festivals charge just $1, $2 or $3 to enter.

Take the "entry fee" slider down to zero.
Free festival entries
To enter the free festivals, take the "entry fee" slider at Filmfreeway down to zero. This way, only the free festivals will show up in your search. In the end, it's up to you as to how many festivals you want to enter.

Apply early and often
Even small festivals get hundreds - or even thousands - of applications. Experienced indie film-makers suggest that a 1 in 4 success rate for entries is not uncommon. So, if you enter 100 festivals, you might expect to get into 25.

Be at Vimeo, but password-protected
Vimeo and YouTube
It used to be the case that most festivals would not accept films that are already available online, and for these festivals (such as the Academy Awards) you will need to password-protect your film if you upload it to Vimeo.  If you do this, you will need to cut a teaser/trailer (see below).

Jerich0 - Festival Success
Cut a teaser/trailer
Award-winning animator and writer (and Escapee) Evgenia Golubeva recommends cutting a teaser/trailer for your film which you can upload to Vimeo and YouTube to help generate interest in the film.

Should You Password-Protect?
Ultimately, the choice as to whether to make your film freely available at Vimeo and YouTube is yours. In our experience, apart from a handful of festivals, it doesn't make much difference either way.

Other useful sites
Film Freeway will allow you to access most, but not all, festivals. Other useful sites for entering festivals include clickforfestivals.com and - to see what festivals are on when - animationfestivals.com.

IMDB

One major advantage of entering your film project into festivals is that this will get your film listed at the The Internet Movie Database. The IMDB, is the principal portal for finding people who work in film and broadcast media. It's where you go to look people up.
Being listed is important.  Anyone in the movie business who isn't listed, needs to be.

Getting Listed at IMDB
The simplest way to create a profile of your own at the IMDB is to attach yourself to a project which is already listed on the IMDB.  This could be a student film, or a short project which is deemed worthy of inclusion.  IMDB don't list every project that gets made - there are simply too many. But if your film is being entered into festivals and - best of all - winning prizes, it will get listed at IMDB.

Updating your details at IMDB
Once your film is listed at the IMDB, you can add the names of yourself and your cast and crew to the database. You do this through the IMDB tab marked "update" or "edit page". It takes a little while, and the interface is a bit fiddly, but once you get the hang of it, it works.


Submission of names is not automatic, so be patient. IMDB will review your submissions and, assuming all is well, post them around a week later. Now, with any luck, your name and those of your colleagues are listed online. Now you can start editing your profile, to add your CV, your demo reel, and links to your website. Remember, your goal is to create an online space for yourself as an industry professional.

Sometimes you will see a project at IMDB that should have your name on it, but doesn't. Don't feel aggrieved - it's not personal. All you have to do is go to the project page and update it by adding your name.

For some tips about how best to manage Film Freeway, see this post.

---Alex

The Escape Studios Animation Blog offers a personal view on the art of animation and visual effects. To find out more about our new BA/MArt starting in September 2019, follow this link.   To apply, visit the offical page here.

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