Festivals, Audiences, Networking, Funding and Inspiration with Founder/CEO of Bushwick Film Festival - Kweighbaye Kotee


(Kweighbaye Kotee) #21

Hi JCaster,

Sponsorship can be an option. For example, if you are making a web series in a certain neighborhood you could perhaps shoot a scene at a local coffee shop and highlight the venue in return for a cost. You can make a short one sheeter for what it would cost to have their shop featured in your series. You could also offer to use a particular product in the series. Like if there is a scene that you are drinking or eating something, etc. Look into sponsorship decks for series/ integrated brand sponsorships.


(Jaime Lancaster) #22

If you don’t have an existing audience, though, how do you pitch the value-add to a potential sponsor, especially a sponsor whose space you want to use? How should I approach a cafe, for instance, as a relative nobody with a film idea and say “can you pay me to use your cafe as a location for my web series?”


(Kweighbaye Kotee) #23

Hi Anna,

I would strongly advise putting together a marketing strategy for the festival. Write a press release leading up to the festival, send it to local news outlets, etc. Send out invitations to your contacts and make a facebook event. Share it on your social media. Also, some filmmakers print posters and ask us to hang it in the screening venues. Go through the program and see which industry professionals are participating and try to set up meetings during the festival.


(Anna Bateman) #24

I didn’t know that was even an option! That’s such a cool idea!! Do you know if other film festivals do that too, or is that unique to Bushwick?


(Kweighbaye Kotee) #25

Hi Bri, the one challenging thing is that we don’t usually show the entire series. We have webseries screening blocks and ask the creators to select 2-3 episodes of there series (approximately 10-15 min) to include in the Web Series screenings. For us its more so that the audience is exposed to the series and can go online after and finish bingewatching!


(Kweighbaye Kotee) #26

Hi Ollie,

Yes sponsorship is tricky. You have to figure out what your story is telling and how it will relate to the particular brand/company that you are approaching. If you’re story is about travel and discovery I would approach companies that specialize in that. If you’re story has a character that loves music, I would approach music companies, But local small companies are great and easiest to start with if you don’t have a large audience. If you are shooting in an area, look up local businesses and see if they are interested in getting involved. Be sure to create a sponsorship deck.


(sam lockie-waring) #27

hey kweighbaye. good production quality is obviously important to you, but a lot of web series are working without much in terms of budgets… is there ever a compromise for you, if the story and acting are good but the footage is a little blurry or the sound is a little rough?


(Ollie R) #28

Thanks! Is there something we should definitely be including in a sponsorship deck that people often forget/leave out>?


(Kweighbaye Kotee) #29

Hi Jessi,

When you and your team have completed your peace it’s time to start submitting! I think every completed piece of work takes you to the next level and helps you get better. You are not going to improve your filmmaking skills unless you continue creating and building content. Submit to festivals that makes the most sense. If you are a new, emerging first time filmmaker maybe you won’t get into Sundance but you might get into Bushwick :wink: or smaller community festivals. You just need to get your work in front of an audience and then you’ll know what needs to be changed for the next piece. Seeing your series with a live audience is a wonderful and great learning experience.


(Meg Carroway) #30

You mentioned in another answer that we should consider organizing screenings of our own… is there a situation where you would recommend that instead of submitting to a festival? How would one go about organizing a screening and promoting outside of their personal network?


(Kweighbaye Kotee) #31

You have to put something out there to get an audience. If you have social media and you already have followers that’s your audience. Every time you put out a photo, a video, a web series people will watch, follow. That’s small steps to building your audience. If you already have a web series out there, invite your friends via email to watch. But key is you have to constantly and consistently put something out.


(Kweighbaye Kotee) #32

I don’t agree with that. An email subscriber list is great, but if you are stronger on social media and struggle to get weekly newsletter’s out you’re better off focusing on your social. But if you have a big enough team then def do both!


(Jaime Lancaster) #33

Since filmmaking takes a lot of time and there’s no way we can be constantly and consistently putting out high quality narrative or documentary content (some time has to be dedicated to pre-pro!) what would you suggest as content we can be cranking out? And where online should we be promoting stuff? Are there good hashtags or other websites we can be posting links to?


(Kweighbaye Kotee) #34

We expect filmmakers to build diverse crews generally speaking because in my opinion that’s always the best way to go. Sadly that’s not normally the case. When submitting your film to festivals you are required to list your cast and crew so we like to see Women in roles, people of color, etc. We do look into who’s who in the cast and crew and I believe we also ask about your lead creators.


(Meg Carroway) #35

How do you get followers, though? People have to know who you are/ what your content is to want to follow you. There’s a link I’m missing


(Anna Bateman) #36

I’ve submitted shorts to festivals before and I’ve never really been asked to list my cast/crew. But also… how can you tell someone is diverse by just their name? In front of the camera diversity generally clear, but for a DP? A producer? A director/AD/sound tech/writer?


(Kweighbaye Kotee) #37

Hi Sam,

That’s a great question. For us, since the BFF is not really a festival for totally new creators we wouldn’t really accept a project that is blurry or has bad sound. Most of our filmmakers and creators although they are emerging, have enough experience with sound and production to not have to compromise the production. Not to say that we don’t accept low budget films but we feel you can have a low budget with good production. I would advise to reach out to your filmmaking community and see who could help out!


(sam lockie-waring) #38

out of curiosity, how do you define ‘bad sound’? i know people have different, like, definitions of that. some it’s just inconsistent levels that bug them, some it’s audio tinny-ness, etc etc etc


(Bri Castellini) #39

And that’s the hour, folks! Thanks so much to @Kweighbaye for being here!! If you’d like to stick around and answer the few final unanswered questions, we welcome it, but in any case thank you so much for offering your time today!!


(Meg Carroway) #40

Thanks @Kweighbaye!!