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The Director’s Chair Issue #102 – Nov. 22, 2009 (Film Festival Secrets)

Free Monthly Ezine for Film and Television Directors

November 22, 2009                Scene 10 – Take 9

Published once a month.

Publisher: Peter D. Marshall
Email: mailto:pdm@actioncutprint.com
Web Site: http://www.actioncutprint.com


Dear Filmmaker,

You are receiving “The Director’s Chair” because you (or
someone using your email address) requested a subscription.

PRIVACY STATEMENT: This Subscriber List is a private mailing
list and will not be made available to other companies or
individuals. I value every Subscriber and respect your privacy.


1. Introduction
2. Two Bonuses for Subscribing to The Director’s Chair
3. Subscriber Question: Script Writing
4. FEATURE ARTICLE – Film Festival Secrets
5. Write an Article for The Director’s Chair
6. Why Study Film Theory?
7. Subscriber Shameless Self-Promotion
8. Subscriber Links of Interest
9. BLOG – Film Directing Tips
10. Are You on Twitter?
11. Filmmaking Workshops
12. Back Issues of The Director’s Chair
13. Subscribe & Unsubscribe Information
14. Copyright Information


Welcome to ISSUE #102 of The Director’s Chair (Nov 22/09)


Algeria, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Bahamas,
Bangladesh, Barbados, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina,
Botswana, Brazil, Bhutan, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Chile,
China, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark,
Dominican Republic, Egypt, Estonia, Ethiopia, Faroe Islands,
Finland, France, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary,
Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Israel, Italy,
Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Republic of Korea, Republic of
Kosova, Kuwait, Lebanon, Liberia, Lithuania, Macedonia,
Malawi, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, Monaco, Morocco, Namibia,
Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan,
Peru, Philippines, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Qatar, Romania,
Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Sierra Leone, Serbia and
Montenegro, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan,
Sweden, Swaziland, Switzerland, Syria, Taiwan, Tanzania,
Thailand, Trinidad and Tabago, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, United
Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay,
Venezuela, Vietnam, Yugoslavia, Zambia, Zimbabwe

NOTE: If your country is not represented here, please let me
know and I will add it to this ever growing list.

2) FEATURE ARTICLE – the special feature article this month is
called “Film Festival Secrets: Saving Money on Entry Fees” by
Christopher Holland. “Entry fees are the bane of filmmakers
everywhere but railing against them is a little like cursing
the sun for rising each morning. Most festivals put them in
place to keep every schlub with a camcorder from submitting
his home movies, but for some they are a significant stream of
income. Film festivals aren’t getting rich from this income
but it’s unlikely they’ll be abolished wholesale any time
soon. Here are a few things you can do to increase your
chances of festival play without spending unnecessarily.”(Read
entire article below.)

were no “Subscriber Shameless Self-Promotions” again this
month and I honestly don’t understand why. “The Director’s
Chair” gives you an incredible opportunity to get Free
Advertising for your services and your films. So if you want
over 4000 filmmakers around the world to know about you and
your films, please send me something for next month.

4) FACEBOOK – The Director’s Chair has it’s own page on
Facebook. If you haven’t signed up to Facebook yet, I
sincerely recommend you think about doing it. Facebook is a
fabulous place to meet people who share your passions and it
is one of the top Social Networking sites on the Internet.
Here’s the Facebook home page: http://www.facebook.com

Once you are signed up, type in “The Directors Chair” and
the page should come up. Sign up as a fan and then start to
join the discussion forums, post photos, videos and write on
the Walls. If you are already a member of Facebook, here is
the direct link to the page: http://snipurl.com/923qh

From time to time I will contact you by email to inform you of
certain film workshops or filmmaking products or Online
courses that I feel are beneficial to filmmakers like
yourself. Of course, you are under no obligation to purchase
anything. I only offer this information as a service to
subscribers of this free ezine.

6) SHARE THIS EZINE – Share this Ezine by email and forward
it to your friends and associates.

7) SUGGESTIONS & COMMENTS – Send any comments, suggestions,
questions or advice to: mailto:comments@actioncutprint.com

8) REPRINT THIS EZINE – This Ezine may be reprinted with
permission. Email me at: mailto:pdm@actioncutprint.com


Peter D. Marshall


Thank you very much for subscribing to this ezine.

BONUS #1 – Here is the link to download the first 28 pages of
my 201 page pdf Online Audio Course:, “The Art and Craft of
the Director Audio Seminar.”

BONUS #2 – Here is the link to download the first 24 pages of
my 137 page “Script Breakdown and Film Scheduling Online
Course For Independent Filmmakers.”


My friend and indie producer, Kulwant Rajwans, received an
email from a subscriber looking for advice on how to start
writing a script. Here is the question and Kulwant’s answer.

“Hello Kulwant. My name is Charles, from South Africa. I’m
currently doing a on-line directing course with Peter. D
Marshall for independent filmmakers. Peter told me to ask you
for assistance regarding script writing. I would like to start
writing my own script and produce short films, but I have no
idea how to begin to write and develop a script. I’ve been in
the film industry for the past 7 years working behind the
scenes as a SFX make-up artist, but my dream is to produce my
own films. Please help. Thanks. Charles.”

Kulwant wrote:

So if you would like to write your own screenplay here’s my
opinion of how to go about it.  To write a script there are
many techniques, the one I use and recommend is taken from
Robert McKee, author of the book ‘Story’.

Screenplays require structure (1st, 2nd, and 3rd Act) so I
begin by figuring out the story in my head and write down the
‘7 Beats’ on a piece of paper. This is from an article I wrote
on attending the Hollywood ‘Pitchfest’. NOTE: You can read
this article at http://www.actioncutprint.com/ezine-45.html

1. Point of Origin. – See the world of our story and meet the

2. Middle of Act 1. Approx. Page 15. – The first turning point
in the story that propels the main character into a new
direction by upsetting their world.

3. End of Act 1. – Moves the story to a new level.

4. Plot Thickens. Approx. Page 45. The protagonist feels that
his/her mission is harder than originally thought (this one is
the one where most scripts have their problem)

5. Mid Point. Approx. Page 60. Things go BAM! Big impact in
the story.

6. Act II Curtain. Approx. Page 90. Lowest Point for the
protagonist. Everything is lost.

7. Ending. Resolution. Our Hero Saves the Day.

Then on individual cue cards I write down one or two lines
that describe scenes in the film and put them up on a wall (1
card per scene).  You should have 40-45 cards for a feature
length movie. On average, 2.5 pages per scene (it would be
unusual to have more than 4-5 pages for one scene). The scenes
should build sequences (4-6 scenes in a sequence) and about 8
sequences in a film.

From there I move the order of the scenes around or change
them to make the story more to my likening.  Once all of this
is done and I’m satisfied with my outline I sit down and begin
writing the actual screenplay.

I spend weeks and sometimes months working through the
breakdown on the cue cards.  The actual writing of the
screenplay can take up to a month. If you are doing it in the
evenings and weekends then you are looking at about 3 months.

It is much easier if you buy screenwriting software such as
‘Movie Magic Screenwriter’ — cost is about $180.00US.

Also I strongly suggest that you buy or get a copy of the book
called ‘Screenwriters Bible’ by Dave Trottier —  cost is
about $30.00US – it has invaluable tips on script format and

Good luck!


4. FEATURE ARTICLE “Saving Money on Film Festival Entry Fees”

“Film Festival Secrets: Saving Money on Entry Fees” by
Christopher Holland

Entry fees are the bane of filmmakers everywhere but railing
against them is a little like cursing the sun for rising each
morning. Most festivals put them in place to keep every schlub
with a camcorder from submitting his home movies, but for some
they are a significant stream of income. Film festivals aren’t
getting rich from this income but it’s unlikely they’ll be
abolished wholesale any time soon.

Here are a few things you can do to increase your chances of
festival play without spending unnecessarily.

• Be honest and realistic. If you’re a student who made a film
for under $500, it’s understandable that you don’t have a ton
of money for festival submissions. If your picture’s budget
was in the millions then you’re probably in a better position
to pay for a few entry fees. (You should have included them as
a line item in your movie’s budget.) Respect festival
directors enough to realize that they’ll figure out if you’re
just being cheap.

• Submit early. Many festivals have early deadlines with
reduced fees. Submitting early not only keeps your fees low,
but it also means that your film arrives during the slow
period of the festival’s annual cycle. The few films that
arrive that far ahead of the deadline are much more likely to
get individual attention from the actual programming directors
instead of being screened out by volunteer pre-screeners. Keep
in mind that most deadlines are postmark deadlines, not
delivery deadlines, so that can buy you a little extra time.

• Locate festivals without entry fees. There are many
festivals out there that charge no fees to filmmakers,
particularly those seeking films related to special interests.
I maintain a list of these on the web here:
http://filmfestivalsecrets.com/extras/no-fee/. Festivals
outside the U.S. are much more likely to offer no-fee
submissions so if you’re an American filmmaker, don’t forget
to look at festivals abroad. You always wanted to visit
Europe, right?

• Festival fee waivers exist, but they usually occur as part
of a specific negotiation between a festival programmer and a
filmmaker in whose work they are already interested. Some
festivals give waivers for particular reasons and others
refuse to give waivers at all. If offered one you should of
course take advantage of it, but keep in mind that the
festivals most likely to give fee waivers are usually the ones
that can least afford to give up the revenue. If you simply
must ask for some consideration from a festival, see if
they’ll extend an early deadline or grant you a small discount
to lessen the burden on your submissions budget. Above all, be
polite about your request and gracious when you receive an
answer – even if the answer is no.

• Erik Jambor, co-founder of the Sidewalk Moving Picture
Festival and executive director of Indie Memphis, advises
filmmakers to be honest and friendly when seeking waivers but
to realize that fee revenue is often directly tied to the
festival’s ability to perform its functions –- including
travel, lodging, awards and other perks for filmmakers. That
said, he does admit that waivers can be granted for the right
films. “Filmmakers who have received awards or recommendations
from festivals or programmers I know and trust are more likely
to be considered for a waiver, since they can essentially skip
’round one’ of our selection process. It is also important
that the request comes as an individualized message that
indicates a clear interest in my specific festival. Mass
emails asking for a waiver are pretty easy to ignore.”

• Negotiate with visiting festival directors at festivals
where your film is playing. If you’re lucky enough to play at
a large film festival where programmers are scouting for
material, it’s likely that some of them will approach you
after your screenings about your film and their festival. Be
sure to have screener DVDs on hand that they can take back to
their selection committees and ask directly: “Is there
anything else you need from me to be considered for your
festival?” If the answer is “no,” consider the fee waived. Be
sure to grab the programmer’s business card and follow up in a
week or so.

No one likes paying entry fees, but with some advance planning
and research you can avoid some fees altogether and minimize
the fees you do pay. For more festival insider tips visit

Chris Holland is the former marketing director of the Austin
Film Festival, a festival consultant for filmmakers, and the
current Director of Festival Operations at B-Side, an
independent film technology and distribution company. His new
book, “Film Festival Secrets: A Handbook for Independent
Filmmakers,” is available now. http://filmfestivalsecrets.com
5. Do You Want to Write an Article for The Director’s Chair?

If you would like to contribute articles, tips, links of
interest, industry news, interviews, special event dates or
other resources to The Director’s Chair, please email me at:

6. Why Study Film Theory?

“Film theory debates the essence of the cinema and provides
conceptual frameworks for understanding film’s relationship to
reality, the other arts, individual viewers, and society at

“As the new art form of the twentieth century, film
immediately and continuously invited theoretical attempts to
define its nature and function. Mostly as a result of film’s
own inferiority complex as the youngest of the arts, the
impetus for much of early film theory was to gain a degree of

1. Film Theory

2. Links to Film Theory Sites

3. A Comprehensive Directory of Film Theory and Film Criticism Websites

4. Film Theory and Criticism

5. Formalist Film Theory

6. Film & Meaning

7. Cognitive Science and Film Theory

8. Plato’s Theory of Film

9. Andre Bazin

10. Siegfried Kracauer


Each month, I give two subscribers an opportunity to promote
themselves, their company or their productions in this
section. If you are interested, send your “shameless
self-promotion” to: mailto:pdm@actioncutprint.com.

Please limit your promotion to less than 200 words. I also
reserve the right to edit the promotion for length, spelling
and formatting.

I’m concerned! There were no “Subscriber Shameless
Self-Promotions” again this month and I honestly don’t
understand why.

“The Director’s Chair” gives you an incredible opportunity to
get Free Advertising for your services and your films. So if
you want over 4000 filmmakers around the world to know about
you and your films, please send me something for next month.

1) Will this spot showcase your name next month?

2) Will this spot showcase your name next month?


“Subscriber Links of Interest” is where you can further
promote yourself, your company or your productions by having
your information displayed on a special links page at:

If you are a subscriber to this ezine and you want me to put
your self-promotion on this page, just send an email to:

Again, I also reserve the right to edit the promotion for
length and formatting.


Please take some time to look through the many blog postings
on my filmmaking blog, FilmDirectingTips.com and make some
comments on the posts – your feedback is important to me
because they will help me decide on the content I will add to
this blog.

RSS – http://filmdirectingtips.com/wp-rss.php
FEEDBURNER – http://feeds.feedburner.com/FilmDirectingTipsAndResources

Here are some of the latest blog entries I have made:

– Luminave Films is dedicated to making films that are
produced by, for, and/or show women in a positive light
– Hollywood studios in midst of their own horror show
– Welcome to the New World of Film Distribution – Part Two
– 6 filmmaking lessons from the Coen Brothers
– Extreme DV Interview with Film Director Rick Schmidt


Twitter is a free social networking and micro-blogging
service that allows users to send and read other users’
updates (otherwise known as tweets), which are text-based
posts of up to 140 characters in length.

Twitter is one of the best and quickest ways for friends,
family or people with common interests to stay in touch.

It’s also becoming one of the best ways to promote yourself
and your films on the Internet!

If you have a Twitter account, let’s follow each other. You
can follow me at http://twitter.com/bcfilmmaker.

I also suggest you follow my partner Trilby Jeeves at

11. FILMMAKING WORKSHOPS – Peter D. Marshall

I have worked in the Film and Television Industry for over
35 years – as a Film Director, Television Producer, First
Assistant Director and Series Creative Consultant. I’ve been
asked many times to share my Film and TV production
knowledge with others. As a result, I developed several
workshops that I have successfully presented over the past
15 years.

To find out more about these workshops, just click on the
link below. If you are interested in any of these four
workshops for yourself or your organization, please contact
me to discuss how we can bring these workshops to you.


To read back issues of The Director’s Chair, visit:


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Copyright (c) 2000-2009
Peter D. Marshall
All Rights Reserved


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