Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Rejection Isn't Always a Bad Thing

Hello all,

This week I've been thinking about what I was going to blog. I want to make sure I stay on track and write a blog entry a week.

When I got home I checked my email. As I was scanning through my junk mail I came across an email from the Central Florida Film Festival. My gut told me it was a rejection, but I had to look at it anyways.

I was right. After the Headlines wasn't accepted. However, it wasn't the standard rejection email thanking me for submitting and telling me the competition was so strong this year. Bob Cook, the festival director,, was matter-of-fact on why After the Headlines wasn't chosen by the five judge panel. I won't go into the details, but I will say that I found this rejection letter to be inspiring. I know, that has to sound weird. Mr. Cook told me not to take the critique personal. He reminded me that film is art and art is subjective. I really appreciated his words. I found them comforting even though I know this is another rejection to add to the list.

Mr. Cook also reminded me that filmmakers need to have a thick skin.  He's right. He closed his email hoping that his comments will help me be a better filmmaker. I can honestly say that they will. There is always room for improvement. Like Diddy says, "Can't stop, won't stop."

This was probably the best rejection letter I have received thus far. Mr. Cook let me know what didn't work for the judges and when I make another film I will keep his comments in mind. While I'm not happy After the Headlines was rejected, I learned that rejection isn't always a bad thing. There is a lesson to be learned from it. My lesson is to keep writing.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

It's Important to Read the Fine Print

This Sunday I was thrilled. I had finally finished editing my audition tape for Oprah's Next TV Star. I had spent Memorial Day weekend shooting footage of a trip to the Finger Lakes I took with my sister Dawn. My idea for the video was to do the standard introduction but then also showcase my skills with a camera and being on camera.  I took a look at some of the interviews online and thought my idea was different and would help it stand out.

I submitted the video at about 11:30 p.m. Sunday night. I was all set to do my social media blast. I created an event in facebook and posted the link, but when I clicked on the link I noticed the video wasn't up. I go check my email and see an email from the contest staff at Own. I click on it and read the message. My video was rejected. I was at a loss for words. How can this be? The email advised that I take a look at the rules and regulations. I go to the page with the rules and regulations and start reading again. Half-way down the page I see that there must be no mention of alcohol or showing of alcohol along with no products and a bunch of other stuff. I thought to myself, "How did I miss this the first time?"

My whole concept for the video was to highlight my road trip to the Finger Lakes, which is a wine producing area in upstate New York. The video is about our trip but is completely centered around wine and the wine trail we visited. I realized I made a major miscalculaton on my part. I think I must have been so excited about my idea that I neglected to read the fine print. 

Here's the video: I would love to get your feed and see what you think. I've decided to scrap redoing the tap and submitting it. I just don't have the time to develop another concept, shoot, and edit  it myself. The editing was the hardest part. Kudos to all the editors out there, I have an even greater appreciation for the work you do. Editing is really is an artform. Another reason I'm not submitting is because I don't want to be on a reality show competing against others for a show on Oprah's new network. I actually have a few colleagues pursuing the opportunity. I gladly will throw them my votes.

Even though I'm no longer pursuing Oprah's competition, I have another competition on my plate. My photo has been accepted in MovieHatch for the Times Square "Your Face in Lights" Contest. I can use your support, better yet I NEED YOUR VOTE. To vote click on this link:

The lesson that was reiterated to me is always read the fine print. I could have saved myself a lot of time and effort. I''m not going to let the video footage I shot go to waste, instead I'm going to reedit it and make it the highlight video I want audiences to see. When it is done I will make sure to share it. Thanks for reading and thanks for your vote.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

After the Headlines is an official selection at the 2010 Action on Film International Film Festival

GREAT NEWS!!! After the Headlines is an official selection of the 2010 Action on Film AOF International Film Festival. This film festival is listed as one of the top '25 Film Festivals Worth Their Fees' by Movie Maker Magazine.  I'm really excited to be a part of the film festival for a second year. Last year, I attended AOF because After the Headlines was nominated for "Best Dramatic Scene." If you're a regular follower of In the Mix, you already know that I won. One year later, the film is being shown. I call that progress.

Right now, I'm looking for a small contingent of folks from the cast, crew, fans, and supporters of the film to come out to Pasadena with me. AOF is an awesome film festival that has a great track record for the filmmakers and screenwriters that submit their work. I think it would be a great networking opportunity for those interested in careers in entertainment and would love to have a strong presense at the festival. If I end up going it alone, that is okay too.

Times are still very financially tough for most Americans and that has to be taken into consideration when I think about my cast, crew, fans, and supporters. I work with people who love to make film, but the reality of independent cinema is that it doesn't pay. Instead it costs. I'm a screenwriter and filmmaker because I'm passionate about the process and really enjoy doing it, whether it pays or not. Of course I still want to make a living at it. Getting into festivals costs me, but it also provides me with an opportunity to get my film in front of audiences and network with professional in the film industry. That's priceless.

I want to thank all of you who have supported me this far. I really appreciate it. It makes a big differenc in my grassroots efforts as a screenwriter and filmmaker. Make sure you check out the AOF film festival website at You can check out last year's winners, film trailers, interviews, and see my writing scene performed by actors. I had to plug it. Thanks for reading.