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January 13, 2003

The Little Film Festival That Could

A few months ago, a few folks began posting on an actors' web board along the lines of, "Hey, kids, let's put on a show!"

Now, this sort of thing happens all the time here in Hollywood, and even more often online than in the flesh. There's that whole, "Hey, yeah. What a great idea! Let's get that plan together." And then there's that whole, "Um... where'd everybody go?" thing when it comes time to put the work together.

Not this time.

This time, the principals were N. Barry Carver, Paul Molinaro, and yours truly, and we have this work ethic thing that, when combined, is truly staggering to behold.

To wit: Barry, in the last year, has produced a short film, a radio game show, a book of touching short stories, and... oh yeah, a baby boy. Paul, our own ActorsBone site owner, is a parent, a doctor, and is currently in his first year of law school (3.4 GPA intact) because three careers are never enough. Me, I've written that book on casting directors, am running that management company, and have started ramping up for Hollywood Happy Hour.

We like to work.

We really like to bring talented people together and help build relationships between all sorts of people who'll end up working together for years and years to come.

This weekend, we did just that.

With just two months of web-board posting and email forwarding to let people know about our festival--which distinguished itself from other major festivals out there by being one in which every short received airtime with three screeners, and each screener provided feedback to the shortsmaker--we received 100 entries (and from as far away as Australia, for heck's sake)!

Our screeners worked to get feedback to us in short order, so that we could quickly come up with the top 25 shorts for our judges screening, which took place in mid-November. Wow. What amazing talent! And the winning shorts were all just amazing. The budgets ranged from next to nothing to a whole heck of a lot, and the shortsmakers were from Los Angeles, Canada, Massachusetts, Ohio, the UK... well... we were impressed.

Turns out our audiences were too. We got going just a wee bit after 7pm each night and wrapped up (after the reception) by 10:30pm. Tons of happy shortsmakers in the room, shaking hands, exchanging business cards, and congratulating one another on jobs well done. The diversity was really grand. Our corporate sponsors, who donated membership to Showfax sides service, Breakdown Services' casting director mailing labels, and other goodies, were all pleased to see their corporate considerations going to good use.

And the best part? We ended up in the black. We decided, "Hey, let's put on this festival," put out the call for entries, actually put on two days' of screenings, put out a congratulatory display ad in Daily Variety (hitting newsstands just in time for Sundance opening parties), and have enough cash left to pay ourselves back for the expenses we're out. Not bad.

In the land of air-kisses and "let's do lunch" mantras, we made good. Real good. That's not bad at all.

Posted by bonnie at January 13, 2003 03:32 AM