(Angie, our good friend the Reverend Dave Chontos, and Andrew at the step and repeat wall of the 4th Annual Prescott Film Festival)
The past three weeks have been a blur. We not only prepped our exhibition copy of the Dead Votes Society but acted as department head volunteers at the Prescott Film Festival. By the time the festival was underway, we had to remind each other to do the fun stuff filmmakers get to do: sign the poster, hang out with other filmmakers, get our picture taken with people who enjoyed the film. We had a great time at the first film festival Dead Votes Society was accepted to. More on that later.
In the process, we learned a lot. Stuff like…never get so focused on the big picture that you neglect to make posters and post cards of your film in time to distribute them around the festival. Always take the time to review the projection of your film with the tech crew, even when it is part of a package of other shorts, and check in with the screening host to make sure everyone’s on the same sheet of music.
The purest pleasure of the whole thing was sitting in large audiences to hear the laughter. It not only makes you feel good, but you start to understand the movie better.
We learned that a larger audience gives you a better idea of how well the comedy is working and where the comic beats are for the audience. Watch a comedy with three friends and you get laughter from only what those three people find funny.
At our world premiere in the Yavapai College Performing Arts Center, on July 24,2013, we had over 400 people in the audience. They laughed long and hard. Maybe hearing lots of people laughing near you puts you in a laughing state of mind? Maybe a larger audience gives you different people who laugh at different things? Doesn’t matter! The laughs were big and genuine and we were happy to hear them all.
At the second screening, on July 28th – in the smaller Yavapai College SNW Community Theatre – the room sat 200 and they were sending out for extra chairs as the lights went down and people kept trying to get in.
Both times, there was a nice Q and A afterwards and a chance to share the stage with Prescott filmmakers Holly Rillovick, Ryan Moser, Greg Smolarz, Sam Coodley, Ken Gregg, as well as festival MVP Forrest Sandefer (three movies in competition, either as director or DP!)
All in all, a great first festival experience. Now, we do a little more prep, upload the screener to Withoutabox and start offering our little zom-com to festivals for the coming year. Viva los zombies!