Tuesday, October 21, 2014

SAUSAGE wins Best Animation at NYC Indie FF!

I was in bed on sunday evening thinking of the NYC Indie FF awards party, and feeling very isolated from the fun. 
To feel part of it I thought "Ill tweet a good luck message to the film makers", and as I’m mid tweet my phone rings and an Amercian accent informs me I’ve won Best Animation at NYC IFF”.
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I like to think this was the God of Twitter sending karma my way for tweeting positive vibes?
What ever the reason, within a few minutes I went from isolation to being right in the centre of the action, and I didn’t even need to change my pyjamas.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Today I announced the online release of my short film!!!
After years in the making, in 2 weeks time you can feast your eyes on all 7 minutes of SAUSAGE.
3rd of November is also starts 
British Sausage Week, so look forward to a week of sizzling treats…

300 on Facebook

Thanks to people of facebook, 300 of you have liked my films page. https://www.facebook.com/Sausagefilm

"Tonight we dine in Hell. On Sausages"

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Peepshow - Great working with ya…

London has one powerhouse in Illustration - PEEPSHOW Collective! To prove this, check this unique and thrilling graphics package they made for PBS and BBC, featuring the illustration of their hugely talented Luke Best.
I must declare an interest here, having animated some of Lukes work for this show. But for the most part the artwork does all the work on screen.
That is however until you come to the opening sequences, masterfully constructed by Pete Mellor and Chris Sayer…
https://vimeo.com/108563128  

And Creative Review did an article on it, which is always nice… 
http://www.creativereview.co.uk/cr-blog/2014/october/how-we-got-to-now

BAFTA - judge that Sausage…

BAFTA just confirmed that my submission is safely with them.
And may I say BAFTA, much smoother entry process than your US counterparts. Pretty simple website submission process.  
And getting some early speech practice, ahem, “may I thank Foyle Film Festival and London Short Film Festival for getting me through the door”

Friday, October 10, 2014
The first animated gif in my new campaign. Nothings official, but the online release of ‘Sausage’ may coincide with another celebration of pork!  

The first animated gif in my new campaign. Nothings official, but the online release of ‘Sausage’ may coincide with another celebration of pork!  

Friday, October 3, 2014

Sausage Party in NYC, but sadly not me…

The exciting news is that after a long wait, ‘Sausage’ found friends in NYC with 4 festival screenings within just over a month. Sadly though, we’re no attending any.

The Sept & Oct festivals are ‘Williamsburg Film Fest’, ‘Food Film Fest’, ‘NYC Indie FF’, and ‘Film Columbia’ (showing in Brooklyn). It also premeired in NY at ‘Animation Block Party’ back in July.

So what a crazy wonderful month this would be right, just hanging in autumnal NYC bopping from fest to fest. Esp with a food themed one to excite our taste buds! We had a friends to stay at, and Jess (my wife) has been desperate to go to NY ever having never touched US soil. So WTF!!!

At the end of the day the festival circuit is expensive. I’m really sad to say it, but I’ve had to accept I won’t go to any stateside fests (apart from the Oscars of course!). I started with Rio and Sydney, and I guess just had to rein it in from there.

Other than not having inexhaustible funds, I’ve had to accept they’re not the unmissable events I’d hoped they be. They’re fun enough, sure, but work wise hard to justify to the bank manager. In truth, attending is a perk, a treat, an indulgence. 

So all great news on the festival front, but a wake up call that the party is winding down!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

THE OSCARS - my most exciting submission yet!

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For anyone making a film, the distant dream is to win that statue known as ‘Oscar’. Well first your film needs to qualify to be considered, and ‘Sausage’ achieved that last November. By winning ‘Best Animation’ at the Academy accredited Foyle Film Festival, ‘Sausage’ joined the few dozen films each year that get judged by a panel of experts each October. Almost a year after its festival win, my indie animation is on route to California for its most important scrutiny yet!

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A max of 40 animations get to this stage worldwide by winning Academy accredited prizes (a few more pay via some LA screening loop hole). As you’d expect the competition is mighty strong. For ‘Sausage’ to win its qualifying award it had to beat both OSCAR and BAFTA winners of 2014.

As unbelievable success at the Oscars would be, the odds don’t sound that bad. When you consider that many of the festivals I’ve entered have 100 submissions for 1 spot in the line up, competing with around 40 other films is not that intimidating. Odds are even more exciting when you consider how major it would be just to get to the short list of 10 films, which I’ve a 1 in 4 chance of. That final 10 get huge attention across the world and are considered part of the Academy’s film cannon. 

And then… 10 becomes 5 as nominations are announced. And it’s not only for the likes of Disney and Pixar, indies and college films have also got that far.  

If the answer is “NO” then there’s genuinely a silver lining, as I’ll get to instantly release ‘Sausage’ online. The reason the film’s not been available to watch till now is that the Academy wont consider films that’ve been online. So if the Oscar Train comes to a sudden stop, then the Internet Juggernaut powers up…

So to state the obvious - “wish me luck!” It’s surely the biggest competition I’ve ever been in!

p.s. Thinking of coining the term ‘Sauscars’, cos it sounds like ‘Oscars’. Hmm not sure?

p.p.s. The reason ‘Sausage’ is entering into the 2015 round rather than 2014 is that it won Foyle Festival just after the Oscar deadline, so had to wait for the annual cycle to repeat.

Get ready…

This announces a return to blogging after a 6 month gap. Bad form I’m sure for a blog. But a mix of life, work and the summer drew my attention away from the world of ‘Sausage’. Festivals have been ticking along on their own, so good time for a break. Now though it’s time to prepare for the Oscars and then releasing this short film online, so a perfect time to get back in the saddle…

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

For what ever reason, the festival uptake is almost 100% stateside at the moment with 6 over March and April. The only non American coming up being Portugal’s top film fest in Lisbon.image

ATLANTA is one I’d wanted from the start as it’s just so well organised, offering great seminars and resources online atlantafilmfestival.com
Once selected, they organised a food themed night serving the culinary treats from each film. I was also offered the chance to speak on ‘Illustrators in Animation’, but sadly couldn’t make it out there. What a week it would have been!!! 

PHOENIX and NASHVILLE are of course great names in the festival and cultural scene. Very proud to have them on my list.

NORTH HOLLYWOOD is new on the fest scene, but its got that magic word in the title ‘Hollywood’, so that’s great on the list too.

CLEVELAND will be attended by my delightful nephew who’s at Uni near by, and I’d love to be out there with him. What a trip that would be!

So please let the American taste for ‘Sausage’ continue, just long enough at least for me to attend one of the festivals myself…

Thursday, February 6, 2014

100 Film Festivals!!! It’s officially a SAUSAGE FACTORY!

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Just submitted to my 100th film festival! Why didn’t someone tell me what’s involved! Only half way through this admin feast, and def reaching for the indigestion pills!

Seriously, the message here is as great as the festival circuit is, have no illusions. There’s over a months worth of hard work planning and submitting to festivals (spread over longer time of course). And no one else gonna do it for you!

Also remember cash! Some are free, but most charge between $20 - $50 per submission. In short - prepare to spent thousands of dollars.

The good news is if you make another film this whole festival process will be easier second time around! But the reality is most of us only do it once, so commit to the festival circuit and make it count! Your film deserves it!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

US gets its first taste of ‘Sausage’ in Feb

February sees the arrival of ‘Sausage’ to the USA with 3 festivals across the country that invented animation.

Feb 6th, tomorrow, sees the US Premiere in LA at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival. The following day in Mississippi at the Oxford Film Fest, and then up to Washington for the DC Indie Film Fest. 

Sadly I can’t be there in person for any of these. Would have loved to be at the LA Premiere, and the other 2 offer a wonderful sense of hospitality. Oxford in particular saying “you organise the flight, and we’ll take care of you once you arrive”. But having used up much of my travel budget and holiday time on the Australian Premiere, I need to dial it in for a little while. 

But there are dozens of US festivals on my list that I’m hoping to hear from. We just got accepted to Phoenix FF in April, and others that I can’t yet announce. However my wife Jess is holding out for a New York festival as she’s never been. A fair treat for putting up with all the weekends I spent animating this damn thing!

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Saturday, January 25, 2014

London and Sydney screen at same time! Which to pick?

The Australian Premiere is at Sydneys top shorts festival on the same weekend as it screens at Londons top shorts festival. London is my home town, and Sydney my wife’s. The two cities our lives are split between! What a delightful dilemma to have!image

Both locations couldn’t be more iconic with FLICKERFEST at Bondi Beach in the deco pavilion, and LONDON SHORT FILM FESTIVAL showing Sausage at the BFI (British Film Institute) on the Thames. But amidst the depths of a UK winter, the calling of an Aussie summer just can’t be denied.

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The clincher was the knowledge that as the Aussie Premiere, the Sunday lunchtime screening would be full of our friends and family, followed by a sausage BBQ on the beach. FLICKERFEST had been my goal from the start for the Aussie Premiere, so was thrilling to see it all come together. The festival, events and staff alone made the trip worthwhile.  

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Despite having left London behind, my wife was still in town and took parents, the sound designer and one of the composers with his kids. By all accounts it was a superb event with lots of ways to involve young film makers . 

All the London festivals so far have screened Sausage at tricky times and have been at smaller venues, so not been able to invite all the people I’d like. Therefore I’m gonna organise a special private screening where I can get everyone in one place, feed them sausages, and get them drunk!

I’m off now to enjoy last weekend of perfect blue sky. See you soon London…x

3 awards in 3 weeks in first 3 UK fests! What a turn around!

In my last post I spoke of the dark months while waiting for a UK Premiere. Well then came the light, and what a gold sparkly light it was! In no time ‘Sausage’ had a barrage of screenings, awards and even qualified for the Oscars…!   

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November’s always been a favourite month as it’s when all my family have birthday, and the month starts with fireworks night. This year the fireworks continued as November saw the UK’s Premiere of ’Sausage’ at The UK Film Festival. It also screened at PROMAX UK and Foyle Film Fest, winning top awards at all three festivals. I should have guessed things might go our way when the month started with ‘British Sausage Week’!

The win at Foyle was the most significant as being an Academy and BAFTA accredited festival, ‘Sausage’ instantly qualifies for both. With less than 50 animated shorts a year qualifying for the Oscars, the odds are 1 in 5 to reach the shortlist in Oct, which secures huge exposure.

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Without being too mushy, the biggest win for me was the psychological shift from depressed to ecstatic. You tell yourself festivals aren’t about competing - opinions don’t matter as you just want to express yourself as a filmmaker. All true - but a panel of international judges picking your film over Oscar nominated ones gives you a lift that no inner confidence can. Sometimes you need to be told by respected strangers - your film doesn’t stink, and is even quite good. I’ve certainly slept better since November…

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Festival update for the new year

Let me quickly cover the few months that have swung from devastation to elation… 

I took a break from blogging recently, and in truth it’s cos I didn’t like what I had to write. After the World and Euro premieres the festival process took a negative turn, with a barrage of rejections. I got very down, took it personally, and couldn’t face laying bare my insecurities online.
BUT THEN… things took an amazing turn with a barrage of acceptances! There was even 3 awards in as many weeks! Enough went on to distract me from blogging (well that’s my excuse!). So as I write this from Sausage’s Australian premiere in Sydney, I can enjoy reflecting on this dramatic end to 2013!

I’ll add some details about individual fests and awards, including qualifying for the next Oscars. But for now I thought I’d share the results from the festivals I heard back from in 2013… (All in the order they happened)

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It averages out at 1 “acceptance” to every 2 “rejections”, which is a fair hit rate at this stage. The theory is that the opening A-list stage is far more selective, and as your move to your B, C and D list festivals it’s easier to get in. But as your premieres get used up and the film gets old, then the acceptances reduce again. 

I’ve submitted to almost 80 festivals so far, so 45 waiting to hear back from… Add 100 further fests on my current list (and that’s a list that’s constantly growing). So lets have a look in Jan 2015 and see what’s happened then!