As I was growing up, Hollywood was the place every aspiring young filmmaker hoped to end up. I certainly spent hours daydreaming about what it would be like to work on a Hollywood set. However for me, independent film soon after became the next “cool” thing, at least for a teenager interested in film. I used to look for the Sundance laurels on every film I rented at Blockbuster and thought that a movie had to be good if it played at Sundance, and I soon began believing that film festivals would be the ticket to making it as a filmmaker.
However, times have changed and so has the film industry, and it would appear that the future of successful filmmaking might not be at film festivals but instead at comic conventions. If you’re a filmmaker, here are some reasons to check out comic conventions for your screenings.
Fans Not Filmmakers
The main audience at film festivals are filmmakers, which is not necessarily a bad thing. It’s a lot of fun to meet other people who are doing what you’re doing and see their work, but filmmakers are just trying to make it in this industry just like you. It’s good for other filmmakers to see your work and know your name, but if you’re really going to make it, there needs to be more to your screening than that.
At a comic convention, there are hundreds of people walking around looking for a good time and something to get excited about. People are open and willing to see new art, comics, and films. They already want to be passionate about it. As long as your product is good, it will be a lot easier to get fans behind your work here. Plus, the guests aren’t trying to sell their own products like a filmmaker at a film festival; they are there to look at yours.
Connecting With People
Building a fan base might be one of the coolest things ever. At a comic con, you can set up a booth with merchandise and pictures from your film. People who have seen the film and/or are interested in knowing more will want to talk with you more about it. Nothing is more thrilling than seeing people getting excited over a film you’ve made. A film festival can still get you some interaction with people who saw the film, but it is definitely a different dynamic.
Also, if you’re a filmmaker, chances are probably pretty high that you’re a geeky person, and there is no better place to be geeky and connect to other geeks around you than a comic convention.
Best of Both Worlds
Short films are more “con friendly” because there is so much going on throughout the day that most people won’t want to sit and watch a film for too long. So if you’re screening a feature, a film festival still might be the best opportunity for that.
Although comic conventions are definitely better for building a fan base, film festivals shouldn’t be written off entirely. There are still a lot of opportunities at film festivals that could lead to bigger things in your career. However, comic conventions are getting bigger, and they’re not just for comic book fans anymore. They are geared more towards pop culture now.
So if you want to build a fan base and interact with passionate people who are excited about what you’re doing, then comic cons are the place for you. Not to mention, who doesn’t love a place full of people dressed up as super heroes and other fun characters?
What are some experiences you’ve had with films at film festivals or comic cons?