Webfests - taking the piss or is this the norm?

(Ian David Diaz) #1

Hi everyone, so I’ve entered my web series into a few festivals, one thing I have noticed is that they have loads of categories, like the best actress, best actor, best director etc, etc, but you have to pay more to nominate your actor/crew member to be considered for each category. Is this normal or are the festivals taking the piss trying to fleece more money out of us struggling filmmakers? In the BAFA’s or Oscars do they have to pay to get their actors to be considered to be nominated? Okay, we know that both the BAFA’s and Oscars have backhand goings on but the question still stands. Anyone?

(Herman Wang) #2

I’ve seen this at about maybe 5 to 10% of the festivals we enter, so it’s not unheard of, but I wouldn’t necessarily call it “normal”.

From the festival’s point of view, they’re trying to lighten the load on judging by not having to judge every series for every category. But if it’s a small festival with not a lot of entries, then it gets into questionable territory about whether or not it’s a money grab.

(Bri Castellini) #3

Ditto what Herman said. From a festival’s perspective I totally understand why they do it- judging submissions is a SLOG. But from a filmmaker’s perspective I think it’s a little bogus. For what it’s worth, Stareable Fest doesn’t do that :wink:

(Ian David Diaz) #4

Well, so far all the festivals I have entered has the pay to be considered for a category thing. Money is so hard to come by as a low budget filmmaker you’d think these film festivals will bear this in mind, but I guess everyone is fighting for money to stay afloat in business. Still, I think it’s pretty rotten no matter what the reason, just my opinion.

(Ian David Diaz) #5

Judging submissions is a SLOG? But isn’t that what the judges are there to do? If you pay to be considered for a category and win does that mean you’ve paid for your award, like what Harvey Weinstein allegedly did every year at the Oscars :-):joy::rofl:

(Bri Castellini) #6

Oh man you have no idea my dude. It’s a huge slog, because for most festivals (especially smaller ones) the people doing the judging aren’t full time judges. And you get hundreds of submissions that will never in a million years get selected but you still have to watch them all in good faith, then you have to keep track of what you’ve watched, what was good about them, etc. You also have to balance your program- two shows may be great but if one is a better match for the other selections you’ve picked in terms of a screening block, you have to make that choice, which sucks but it is what it is. You’re also constantly inundated with people asking for waivers and how long until you’ll get back to them and how to submit and then if you’re doing a jury system you have to make ballots, coordinate with up to ten people on the jury to get them their batch, harass them to return their ballots to you, etc.

You pay to submit to a festival to pay the people running it and help pay for the venue. It’s a job like anything else. You don’t pay for your award, you pay for the opportunity to be considered because that consideration is someone’s job for that period of time.

(Herman Wang) #7

I see how picking the Official Selections is a huge job.

To Ian’s point though, judging for awards, not selection, is a much smaller task because you’re only evaluating the Official Selections.

So paying a submission fee: perfectly fair. Paying an award category fee: less so.

(Ghetto Nerd Girl) #8

I have never come across this through my own submissions, but I heard some fests do this. I agree on the point that it’s not fair to pay to enter AND to be considered for an award category. If I do come across this I probably wouldn’t pay out of principle.

(Herman Wang) #9

Guess you won’t be applying to my hometown TOWebfest then :-/ That’s one of the ones that does it.

(Ghetto Nerd Girl) #10

WHAAAAT?!?!? Oh no! That’s such a disappointment being that I’m dying to go to Toronto. I MAY make an exception being that so many of my web series friends live there. :smiley:

(Herman Wang) #11

It’s one of the Web Series World Cup members too, which may or may not matter to you

(Ghetto Nerd Girl) #12

Yes, it does. I once was in the top 100 but realize I have to submit to a lot more fests now to stay on the list.

(Herman Wang) #13

At least NJ will be a member for next year

(Bri Castellini) #14

Oh for sure! Maybe I was just triggered from having been a part of judging before haha.

And I mean it’s a smaller task, but when it’s literally anything goes, it can be really difficult to have to evaluate everything for… everything. Especially on a deadline where you need to order trophies and make nomination lists and laurels and all that, it can be daunting. Again, I 100% don’t advocate for festivals nickel and diming filmmakers but I do understand why they do it. However, in general, a festival should err on the side of making it accessible to filmmakers, not making it easier on the judges. On that I think we can all agree. But a bit of empathy for the judges, please, I beg :joy:

(Ian David Diaz) #15

Yep, my point exactly.

(Ian David Diaz) #16

I see your point Bri but still, it’s like me going on about how hard it is writing, directing and producing, it’s the job. Again I see your point and it’s great your festival doesn’t make us pay to be considered for a category.

(Bri Castellini) #17

Well again, it’s rarely a person’s job to be a judge. They just have to so as to do other stuff, like programming panels and workshops or promoting or any number of other thing, especially when it’s just the picking of official selections judging.

(Ian David Diaz) #18

Oh so you don’t have people that just judge the content it’s just you guys that are arranging the festival? Oh did I read what you said wrong?

(Bri Castellini) #19

At most festivals there aren’t “just” people who judge the content- it’s the directors or organizers with some random help from random high profile filmmakers at some point or another. Unless it’s a festival whose whole business is a festival (rare, again- fests are usually an extension of a larger company or organization and thus those who run them are people who are employees of the company or organization). I’m sure at a fest like Sundance, which even Sundance is a part of the Sundance Institute, there are set programmers. But for web fests and most fests smaller than Sundance? Your work’s getting watched by people also doing fifteen other things (often fifteen other things they’d rather be doing)

(Ian David Diaz) #20

Oh, I see.