I’m pleased to tell you that The Watcher Self is now complete! It’s been a long time coming, but that’s the nature of filmmaking on a micro budget when you have to scrimp and save. It’s been a particularly long journey for me, starting as far back as 2005, and the last four years has been particularly intense since I started writing the script in January 2011. Lots of changes, lots of evolution, and now we have a finished feature film!
Last month I screened the film to the cast and crew at the Ritzy Picturehouse and everyone seemed to have a jolly good time. It was quite a nerve-racking experience for me because it was the first time I’d seen it on the big screen in a fully-finished form, so I was glad to have the cinema screen to myself the week beforehand. This was essentially a technical run-through to make sure the DCP was working properly before the main screening. The projection team at the Ritzy Picturehouse asked me to supply a Quicktime file and kindly made a DCP as that is their preferred exhibition format. Officially, the film’s exhibition format is Quicktime and Blu-ray as creating a “proper” DCP is time consuming and extremely expensive for a humble, penniless filmmaker such as myself! I would like to thank Events Coordinator Becky and projectionist Karl for being so accommodating. It is a great venue for a private screening.
I have already begun submitting to film festivals which is an enlightening and, at times, frustrating experience in itself. Making life a bit easier is FilmFreeway, the new kid-on-the-block submission platform which I was lucky enough to stumble across. It’s completely free to use, has a jolly nice and clean interface, and you can upload a secure screener as large as 10GB. As it is relatively new, I’ve found a couple of niggles that still need ironing out and it doesn’t have as many festivals in its listings as that other platform we dare not mention, but I’m sure this will all change and improve as time moves on. So far I’ve been able to get away without making any DVD screeners, and I’m going to see how far I get with my festival plan before I need any! I would recommend that any filmmakers or festival programmers sign up to FilmFreeway as soon as possible.
It’s also something which can become very expensive, and I’ve found all the time and effort I put into devising The Watcher Self’s festival plan is starting to pay off. There are literally thousands of festivals out there, and I’m finding out about festivals I was previously unaware of all the time, and it is all too easy to stray from the plan and lose direction. Indeed, some of these festivals are suitable for The Watcher Self and I’ll drop them onto the list, but only after a great deal of investigative research and consideration. Each one has to be assessed, previous years’ programmes reviewed, and, ultimately, a decision made based on the kind of films the festival screens and whether The Watcher Self falls into that general category. How beneficial a particular festival will be to your film is the most critical consideration. I’m sure there is a lot of pot luck, too, but I’ve tried my best to go with the festivals where I think we have the best chance possible of being accepted. We shall see later on down the road whether my hunches were correct!
In the meantime, stay tuned to Facebook, Twitter and, of course, this blog where I will let you know about everything happening with the film – which I hope will include news of a public screening or two!