Best way to submit to festivals?

Hi everyone! I know this was asked here back in 2017, but wanted to see if anyone has updated advice/answers to this:

When submitting to festivals (particularly on Film Freeway), how is everyone going about submitting their web series? Are you just submitting your pilot, but making sure to have it linked to your YouTube playlist? Are you submitting individual episodes? Are you submitting a super cut of all episodes?

To add on, has anyone submitted episodes other than their pilot as standalone “shorts”? If so, have you had success doing so?

Wondering if anyone has had time to talk to festival runners or judges to see what they have preferred.

Thanks!

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I’ve got two separate projects up on Film Freeway - the show as a series (links to a Vimeo screener that’s the entire 1st season in one file), and a single episode (links to another Vimeo screener that’s just one ep).

I’ve submitted in all different categories - as a webseries, as a single episode in the shorts category, as a feature (the first season is 90 min long). When in doubt I email the organizers before putting my money down, and describe the running time.

I wish FilmFreeway offered multiple screener options, but until they do this is the best solution I’ve come up with. It’s a giant PITA to copy/paste between one project specs and another.

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For my more plot-heavy show i use a YouTube playlist link of all the episodes in order. For my less ploty show, I make a playlist of my favorite episodes. You can link a playlist URL to your FilmFreeway that’s evident that it’s a playlist. I have also made separate project pages (like Arthur) for playlists that play to certain aspects of the show- if I’m submitting to an LGBT fest, I have a playlist that more heavily features the LGBT-focused episodes. If it’s a female film fest, I have a playlist of more female-focused episodes. Etc etc

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Often film festivals (the well-organized ones) will have specifics in their FilmFreeway page about what they’re expecting in terms of episode count, total play time, playlist links, etc. Following that should always be first priority.

For me that’s resulted in 5 or so FilmFreeway projects for the same series. It’s a little bit of a pain, but it’s worth it to give festivals exactly what they ask for.

I’ve generally stuck to web series festivals, but for comic con festivals, I’ve occasionally submitted our pilot or a strong standalone episode. I haven’t really submitted as a short to a standard festival because I don’t feel there’s enough return on investment.

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I agree with Herman, and have several separate project pages for my web series - one that takes into account the whole season (but just has the pilot as an example), one of the pilot, several standalone episodes and a couple where I’ve amalgamated 2 or more episodes (one big festival wanted to show the first four episodes, so I had to make a reel anyway - figured I may as well use it as a project). All of these have links to the complete season and an outline of the main concept. Now I can just pick what I need when submitting. Mind you, it was a pain waiting around for them to upload on my glacial connection, but worth it in the long run.
I’ve only submitted the single episodes as part of a web series, not as short films, but then the other side of my filmmaking persona is short films separate from my series.

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Speaking of which (and still sort of on topic) does anyone else here ever want to send FF a great, huge thank-you card? I mean, how easy is it to submit to festivals of all descriptions (as compared to “back in the day”)? …maybe too easy?:slightly_smiling_face:

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WithoutABox certainly left a lot to be desired, and FilmFreeway took advantage of the business opportunity. WAB is still playing catch-up in a niche they started.

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Very timely thread for me. Just used FF to submit to a contest for the first time this week. I currently only have one “project” on FF which has the pilot linked, but as part of a private playlist. The fest I submitted to didn’t have it’s own special instructions from what I saw.

Totally agree about WAB. I think the folks at FF learned a lot of lessons about what not to do from them.

Jonathan - you probably already know this, but it’s worth mentioning again; when you first log in to FF, scroll down through the picture banners on the left (through “Most Popular”, “Pacesetters”, etc.) to the bottom one, which is “Deals”. It’s packed with discount codes for festivals.

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Honestly, I didn’t know (or had forgotten). Thanks for calling that out.

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Thanks for all the responses here! Really helpful insights. Maybe if we all give FilmFreeway some feedback, they’ll find a way to cater a bit better to web series.