WRITERS ON THE WEB: Getting a Web Series in Festivals, Part 2

Rebecca Norris is a writer, producer, web enthusiast, and creator of the award-winning web series Split with her production company, Freebird Entertainment. Follow Rebecca on Twitter at @beckaroohoo.

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piggy-bank-1428097-640x480Last month we talked about why you should get your project into web series festivals, and which ones you should consider submitting to.  This month we’re going to talk about how to make it happen, financially.

Anyone who knows me (or reads this column) knows that I’m big on saving money and creating your own work on a shoestring. And if you’ve ever submitted to a festival before, you know that most of them aren’t free, many of them aren’t cheap, and all of them (even the free ones) require a healthy amount of money, time, and effort on your part for your screenings to be successful. (But it’s VERY MUCH worth it!)

Here’s some money-saving tips and tricks to help you in your web festival submission journey:

1) Put aside money in your budget for festivals (and don’t touch it).

This is a surefire way to have money for your festival run! Make sure that festival submissions are a sacred part of your budget before you go into pre-production. What’s the point of working so hard if no one sees your project? Make sure you give your web series every opportunity to succeed.

2) Submit early.early-bird-1387226-639x369

Most festivals have an Early-Bird deadline that’s often significantly cheaper than the later deadlines. If you create a festival calendar for yourself with the Early-Bird deadlines listed, you can keep track of when they are, so you don’t miss the chance to save money.

There is also another positive reason to submit early. Festivals don’t necessarily wait until every last submission is in before they start programming.  So you don’t want to submit late in the game, when the festivals have few slots left to fill.  It’s best to submit early, when there are plenty of slots to fill and more opportunities to be selected.

3) Use discounts.

Without a Box, the largest database and submission service for festivals, has discount packs available if you’re planning to submit to multiple festivals. The caveat is that you only save money if you’re submitting to a large number of festivals.  However, you’ll want to submit to as many festivals as you can anyway so you have the best chances of getting accepted, so it may end up saving you some buckaroos in the long run.

You can also join the International Academy of Web Television (IAWTV), which offers submission discounts to many web festivals around the world.  They also provide a helpful festival submission calendar to members.

theater-seats-1513151-639x4264) Submit wisely.

As web series gain popularity, more and more film festivals are adding digital categories each year. However, sometimes there are only a few web series slots available in those film festivals. I’d advise contacting each festival you’re submitting to and find out how many slots they have set aside for web series, so you don’t end up spending $85 to submit to a festival that only has two web series slots (been there, done that, have the T-shirt…and the sad, empty wallet!)

Getting a web series in festivals isn’t cheap, but you can make it affordable if you play your cards right . Happy submitting!

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