Tips and AdviceFilm SchoolFilm Festivals: How to Handle Rejection

Film Festivals: How to Handle Rejection


Key Takeaways:

– Rejection from film festivals is an opportunity for growth, not a failure.
– Detachment from one’s film during the submission process is crucial.
– Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) can provide emotional relief during moments of rejection.
– Creating a vision board helps in staying aligned with your goals.
– These strategies can also be helpful in other fields involving artistic pursuits.

Coping with rejection is an inevitable aspect of the filmmaking process, particularly when it comes to film festival submissions. As demoralizing as facing rejection may feel initially, Dr. Rebekah Louisa Smith, an experienced festival programmer and founder of The Film Festival Doctor, advises indie filmmakers to perceive such experiences as opportunities.

Embrace the Marathon of Festival Submissions

Submitting to film festivals isn’t a sprint; it’s much more akin to a marathon. As filmmakers embark on their festival submission journey, Smith emphasizes the importance of emotional detachment. Once the creative elements are complete and the film becomes a finished product submitted for evaluation, it’s vital to understand that not everyone is going to have the same appreciation or interpretation.

Smith also recommends the book “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz as an excellent resource for learning how not to take personal affronts and cope with unpleasant developments.

Transforming Rejection Emails into Stepping Stones

Receiving that first rejection email from a much-anticipated festival is undoubtedly hard. However, Smith’s advice is to feel the emotions associated with rejection, process it, and then move forward. It is vital to not let momentary disappointment deter the submissions. She also advises against impulsively submitting to non-strategic festivals which might not be the best fit for the film, as doing so could lead to more rejections, adding to distress.

The ‘Rejection-Coping Toolbox’ and Vision Boards

To alleviate intense emotions that can arrive with rejection, Smith prescribes tools from her “rejection-coping toolbox”. A standout technique she recommends is the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), which involves tapping certain body parts to release negative emotions and maintains a balanced mental state, particularly helpful in preventing depression.

Another creative approach she suggests to manage rejection is developing a vision board. Creating a visual representation of their filmmaking goals and aspirations can be extremely motivating and assist with staying on track during challenging times.

Broader Applications of Rejection-Coping Strategies

These strategies are not confined to the film industry. Dr. Smith affirms they can effectively be applied in other arenas of artistic pursuits as well as different workplace environments. From promotions to presentations, we all encounter moments of rejection. Tools like the EFT and vision boards can provide valuable support during these trying times, ensuring mental balance and alignment with our goals, regardless of the challenges faced.

In summary, rejection is not a symbol of failure but a chance to learn and adapt. By shifting their perspective on rejection, maintaining a strategic approach to submission, and practising emotional resilience, filmmakers can navigate through their film festival journey with more confidence and hopes for success.

Brent Edward
Brent is an experienced Entertainment News reporter.


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