Film Festivals & Reviews

December 12, 2001 – Our first review: threatened by Filmthreat.com

Hoo boy. So this is what I get to look forward to after devoting 3 years of my life to an art project? Click here to read their review. It’s bad enough I paid for the privilage to getting punched in the face by Bob Hawk, now we get hammered by a magazine that I really hoped would appreciate what I was trying to do. What’s weird is how one group of people can see my film and have it speak to them, while another guy can watch the exact same thing and think it’s a piece of shit. I would like to append to Bob Westal’s quote: “dieing is easy, comedy is hard, getting two critics to laugh at the same time is nearly fucking impossible.”

David Schendell and I had submitted his film “The Can” to Filmthreat years ago and they loved it. (Circa 1989) I guess it’s a different situation now. Hopefully something will happen with Slamdance.

December 19, 2001 – Slamdance…DOH!!

I got the el-rejecto letter from Slamdance. At least they attempted to be coy about the whole thing. (Scan included online.)

Lemme see, says on their press release that they got 2,468 submissions and only had to pick 12 features and 12 shorts. I’m know Sundance easily got that amount and probably more. (They pick 113 features and 60 shorts.) What I (no longer) find amazing is that SLAMdance basically received the same amount of tapes as Sundance. Slamdance. A film festival started by a bunch of guys who were pissed off at Sundance. It’s obvious that the same 2,500 people are sending their tapes to the same places, and I was just one of them. From what I’ve read, these two film festivals were the most likely place to get a distributor. If not, yer basically shit outta luck until next year. I think this calls for a different plan of attack.

December 22, 2002 – Electronic press kit and the trailer goes online.

This looks like it’s going to take a lot longer to get an audience than I hoped/expected. Since I’m not in Sundance or Slamdance, any other film festival I get in beyond this point will be to just pad my resume and ego. The rule seems to be that no one ever gets major distribution from a smaller film festival. Ain’t gonna happen. From what I’ve seen, they are all run by small groups of people who are trying to get the same amount of attention for their festival as you are for your film. It’s just that you are paying THEM for the privilage of having your work shown. From what I’ve read, if you manage to get 50 people to show up in a strange city, it’s a good turnout.

One thing is becoming apparent; if you have anything to do with film festivals, you ain’t gonna like my project. If you’re a regular person and is into computers, you’re gonna like my film. I’ve seen it happen time and time again. I kinda agree with my critics, some of the acting may be borderline in places (I just chaulk that up to my lack of directing experience), but I don’t think that it sinks the whole project. I’m still convinced that it’s a descent piece of entertainment.

Here’s the plan: we now have this thing called THE INTERNET. It connects every vaguely literate (and then some) person to each other. It’s one giant, networking tool. I’m gonna use it. I want to get a copy of the film out to every independent film site I can find. I want to contact any e-zine that looks vaguely intereting, and get some feedback and hopefully some links. I want to find any kid with a website and an opinion and get them a copy of the film. I realize that this is going to take time. I got plenty of it. MONEY is what I’m short on, but screw it, approaching people online doesn’t cost anything and there are now MILLIONS of Internet users.

I recently cut a trailer of the movie. I used the Atlantics song “Lonely Hearts” and edited a bunch of fast cuts to the music. Squashed it down to a good looking, stereo 10 meg MPEG-1 file. I also made a smaller 3 meg version which is almost watchable. Posted them both on the front page of the website.

I also created an “Electronic Press Kit” on CD-ROM. This contained the entire movie squashed down to a 550 meg Windoze .asf file. The company that I work for frequently has this expensive Pinnacle realtime video encoder. I was able to run the movie through that and get fairly descent looking version of the film that will play back on any computer. This will allow me to burn it onto an inexpensive CD-R which can be mailed a cheaper than a vhs tape. On this “Electronic Press Kit” CD I included a .pdf file that has all the necessary info about the film and a bunch of links to some high quality production photos. I also did a silly little “Director’s Intro” movie with Mei-Li (the Shih-Tzu in the movie) and Johnny. Stuck the trailer on there too.

I’ve already started to get requests from a bunch of indie websites who wanted to see the film after taking a look at the website and downloading the trailer. The tapes and disks are starting to go out in the mail this week.

January 4, 2002 – South By Southwest Film Festival (SXSW)…tough noogies.

Oh well, I guess Seth Tiven (the guy who wrote the song “Back Where I Belong” with the band Dumptruck that’s featured in the beach scene) won’t be seeing the movie in his new hometown. “Slackers” was filmed and first shown around Austin, TX. I guess I needed Madonna’s pap smear for the film to work down there.

January 15, 2002 – HBO Comedy Arts Festival…fagetaboutit!

I guess I’m also not going to HBO’s comedy arts festival this year. I wonder if they would’ve shown me where “The Larry Sanders” show was filmed. That would’ve been cool. Maybe I should start watching Showtime instead.

January 28, 2002 – I get fucked by a Blue Zebra

The alt.sex website is hosted by a company called “Blue Zebra hosting”. I had bought their cheapy hosting plan that had in bold letters UNLIMITED BANDWIDTH at the top of their login page (along with some small type on another page.) Everything was working fine until this week when the website dissappears and I get this in my e-mail:

Dear Eric Bickermicks:

Unfortunately, during the month of December, your account did not qualify for unlimited bandwidth due to the high volume of binary files (over 20%).

As our representatives indicated to you when you joined, your site is not suitable for hosting in a shared environment. The site reached 7 Gig of resource intensive traffic during the month of January and would have probably reached 17 Gig by the end of the month (which would equal approximately and additional $300 in excess charges). For these reasons, your site was de-activated.

They send me a bill for $340, then automatically charge my credit card for that amount. I call them up:

Me: “Why wasn’t I notified that I had an overage in the month of December, BEFORE you decided to shut me off in the middle of January, THEN charge me for both months? If you told me I was ‘on the meter’ in December, I would’ve started removing some of the large files (i.e. the movie trailer) to prevent this from happening.”

Blue Zebra: “Uuuhh…yea, our metering set-up isn’t very good.”

Me: “Well no shit. How come?”

Blue Zebra: “We lease our connection from another company, so we don’t get the bill for overages until the after the month is up. It’s a good thing we shut you off when we did, or else you would’ve been charged something like $600.”

Me: “Gee..THANKS. But lemme make an anology here. If I hire you to water my lawn and tell you to JUST USE ENOUGH WATER FOR THE AMOUNT THAT I PAID FOR, you should know when to SHUT THE SPIGOT OFF!"

Blue Zebra: “No, it’s more like…we’re only the gardener, so we don’t bill the water company directly.”

Me: “What are you talking about? I PAID you to control the spigot. YOU were supposed to shut if off, not WATER THE ENTIRE NEIGHBORHOOD!"

Blue Zebra: “But that’s the water companies job, we were just hired to do the gardening.”


Christ. They put the website back up and removed any files larger than 500k. I now need a place to park my video media online.

February 14, 2002 – New York Underground Film Festival…nope!

Well it would’ve been nice to ‘tool’ around New York City for a day and have the movie shown someplace. I did find this website which shows the locations of a couple of roof top cinemas in New York which show stuff at night. That might be fun to do during the summer sometime.

February 15, 2002 – Boston Underground Film Festival..NOT!

This sucks. I was at least hoping to get into this featival. It would’ve been nice to get everyone together locally somewhere and have a showing that someone else did all the running around for. I didn’t even get a rejection letter from these guys. I spend $50 and I don’t even get a rejection letter. I had deduce that I wasn’t in by their press release INVITING me to go to one of their screenings.

So mark this spot here. So far everything has NOT panned out in any direction. From what I can tell, the V.I.P.s think the movie blows and not even a small underground festival will pick it up. I guess this spot should be marked as the end of act 2…the point where it doesn’t look good for the hero of your story. I am now firmly up in the proverbial tree and have gotten plenty of rocks chucked at me.

I few days later I noticed that the BUFF festival coordinater had :cc'd everyone on his mailing list and sent it out in my 'invite'. (550 e-mails!) I was tempted to reply to him and everyone else on the list, demanding to know where my rejection letter was. (So I could scan it and post it here.) Or even threaten to start a SlamBUFF during next years festival. (We would show films on a sheet in Kenmore Square and whine the whole time about not being accepted.) Eh...now I know why my film about the Internet didn't get in, what nitwit :cc's his whole mailing list to everyone? At least I got 550 industry contacts out of the deal.

I keep thinking of the Daffy Duck cartoon where he’s been bested by Bugs Bunny while performing onstage, so he pulls out all the stops and basically blows himself up. (Which the audience finally likes.) Or maybe it was in “Duck Dodgers in the 21 1/2 Century” where he does “THIS IS THE LAST STRAW!” (Then proceeds to blow the entire planet up.) This is going to call for some decisive action.


Next | Previous | Journal Home Page

Main Page | alt.sex Journal | Tech Info | Publicity | Film Clips | Indie Links
Message Board | Music