How To Get Ready For That FIlm Festival

You are in, and now you have all sorts of wonderful problems -- the kind most filmmakers wish they could enjoy.  You know, you have to do all the things you have to do for a film festival.  I have tried to collect the various blog posts I have written or have found written by others that will really prepare you.  There's a lot more to be written.  But this is a good start:

Distribution:

Preparation:

Producers' Rep (aka Sales Rep):

Publicists:

Q&A:

Sales:

Social Media:

IF YOU KNOW OF OTHER REALLY GOOD POSTS TO HELP PEOPLE PREP FOR FESTIVALS, Please share them here!!!

Hey NYC & LA Filmmakers!! Your Personal Invite (& DISCOUNT) To Distribution U!

Today's guest post is letter to YOU from Peter Broderick. Okay, it is to me, but only so I can forward it to you.  This is a can't-miss-event.

Dear Ted,

We would like to invite your colleagues and readers  to Distribution U and offer them a special discount (see end of post).  It is a unique event that will give them the latest information about new distribution models and connect them to many of the people who are pioneering cutting edge strategies. The event is being presented by me,  Peter Broderick, a leading strategist and pioneer of new distribution models, and cutting-edge author and tech analyst Scott Kirsner.

This one-day crash course on the New Rules of Crowd Funding, Audience Building & Distribution is being held Saturday, November 13th in New York at NYU and the following Saturday, November 20th in Los Angeles, where it is co-sponsored by UCLA's School of Film, Theater, and Television.

We are very excited about the stellar roster of resource people who have already committed to participate. They are pioneers who are creating and implementing the latest distribution models and strategies.

Richard Abramowitz (who organized the successful theatrical rollout of "Anvil: the Story of Anvil") and Marc Schiller (the digital marketing expert who heads Electric Artists) will present a case study revealing how they guided the release and marketing of "Exit through the Gift Shop" so effectively, without a director to promote it.

So far our other resource people include:

Caitlin Boyle (semi-theatrical maven and head of Film Sprout)

Jim Browne (theatrical booker and founder of Argot Pictures)

Adam Chapnick (founder of Distribber, the innovative company that works with filmmakers to maximize their digital revenues)

Brian Chirls (the tech guru who developed much of the Internet strategy for "Four Eyed Monsters")

Jonathan Dana (producer and producers rep "Road to Nowhere")

Ira Deutchman (producer and Emerging Pictures CEO)

Sandi DuBowski (producer/director "Trembling Before G-d" and outreach director for The Good Pitch)

Madelyn Hammond (marketing guru and former Chief Marketing Officer at Variety)

Justine Jacob (director of "Ready, Set, Bag!" and an attorney at the law firm Lee & Lawless)

Scott Macaulay (producer and editor of Filmmaker Magazine)

Slava Rubin(CEO and co-founder IndieGoGo)

Jill Sobule(singer/songwriter "California Days" and crowdfunding pioneer)

Anne Thompson (journalist and blogger "Thompson on Hollywood")

Other directors and producers include:

Robert Bahar and Almudena Carracedo ("Made In LA")

Jennifer Dubin and Cora Olson ("Good Dick")

Roberta Grossman ("Blessed Is The Match")

Joel Heller ("Winnebago Man")

Meg McLagan ("Lioness")

Vladan Nikolic ("Zenith")

Ben Niles ("Note by Note")

Jim Tusty ("The Singing Revolution")

Our resource people will lead off-the-record discussion groups in their areas of unique expertise and will be available to participants during networking opportunities throughout the day.

The experience of these resource people will be complemented by that of participants, many of whom have also been working on the frontiers of distribution. Scott and I have designed the event to give everyone a chance to connect and potentially collaborate in the future.

Here are discount links:

Distribution U. New York, November 13th

http://distributionu-nyc.eventbrite.com/?discount=friend

Distribution U. Los Angeles, November 20th

http://distributionu-la.eventbrite.com/?discount=friend

There is also a small group rate if two or more people sign up at the same time. For 2 it is $185 a piece and for 3 or more it is $175 per person.

We hope many of your readers and colleagues will be able to attend.

Onwards and upwards,

Peter

P.S.  From Scott:

Here's what Manohla Dargis wrote about last year's event, at USC: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/17/movies/17dargis.html

We're also giving away a pass to one lucky person who tweets the URL (http://distributionu-nyc.eventbrite.com) along with the hashtag #distribu. (We'll pick the winner Wednesday at 5.)

There's also some MP3 audio of one of the case study sessions last year, featuring the director of "Anvil" and the producer of "Good Dick," both of which were at Sundance 2008.

http://scottkirsner.com/DistributionU2009-casestudies.mp3

The Mentoring Mindset as A Key to Film Sustainability

Today's guest post is from filmmaker Chris Ohlson.  Chris produced one of the indie films that I truly enjoyed last year, THE OVERBROOK BROTHERS.  Check it out; you won't be disappointed.  He's making the move into directing now. I was recently invited to the IFP Narrative Filmmaker Labs with my directorial feature film debut Melvin. (the IFP Labs workshop and mentor 10 narrative works-in-progress that showcase ‘creative promise and vision’) To be able to participate in the Labs was a truly humbling and altogether amazing experience – and I have much to share.

But first, some quick and fast back-story. I’ve been a working producer and production manager surviving by doing commercials, web series and music videos. In recent years, I have acted as some variation of a producer on films like The Overbrook Brothers, Lovers of Hate and The Happy Poet. So that’s what I do, but not necessarily who I am. I am a filmmaker.

Back to the Labs. Early in the week Scott Macaulay (Editor of Filmmaker Magazine and producer of Gummo and Raising Victor Vargas, among many others) said something that brought the Labs to life for me. “As a producer,” he said, “I try to learn from my mistakes and I try to never make that particular mistake again on the next film, or the one after that.”

Simple enough, right? But I was thunderstruck.  It was like that moment when, as an adult, you realize that your parents are just regular people—mortal and finite—doing their best to survive. “If Scott Macaulay is still making moviemaking mistakes,” I thought to myself, “what hope is there for me and for the rest of us in this room?”

Now, two things. First, I don’t necessarily completely believe him (that he makes many mistakes, that is). But I do appreciate his efforts to relate to us. And I dig what he was saying… that when it comes to the actual making of the movie, there are no superheroes, no secret societies, no magic wands and no secret handshakes.

In fact, I’ll risk being a little too confessional here: his words were the first glimmers of warmth in quite some time to penetrate down to the darkest depths of my filmmaking soul, because what he was saying to us was, in effect, “You are not alone.”

Why is that confessional? Because at 34 years old, I feel old. I feel like I am constantly making mistakes. I feel like I have expended so much effort and am only now finishing my very first feature. Time and time again I have shouldered that can-do, DIY, DIWO, by-any-and-all-means-necessary attitude that—damn-it-all-to-hell—gets things done, and I have in this way soldiered my way toward concrete results. And it has been tumultuous. Exhausting. Lonely. And, being more honest here than I should be, I’ll admit that I rarely, if ever, have wondered about the BIG reward at the end of all of this.

It probably says a lot about my insecurities that on Day One of the Labs my imposter complex was in overdrive. I felt out of place. I felt like neither I, nor my film, had the cache to command the support of a national organization (one that I’ve followed for as long as I knew what independent films were). I felt like there had been a mistake. But by Day Five, the last day, things had changed.

But if you think I’m taking you toward the happy ending here—that if you stick it out long enough then good things will automatically happen—you’re wrong. This is filmmaking. And what’s an independent film without an ambiguous and sometimes infuriating ending? The Labs are phenomenal, no doubt. But they are no guarantee of success or recognition or certainty of any reward. Nor do the Labs make the road traveled any shorter or less grueling.

What the Labs do, is remind you that, as Scott implied, You are not alone. And by the end of the last day, I felt not only like I was amid a group of individuals who had traveled their own lonely road, but I also felt assured that the lonely road was the only road that would have led to that place. My fellow filmmakers were walking that road just as our mentors and Lab leaders had done before us. The lonely road felt, momentarily, a little crowded.

And, okay, the Labs were rewarding (if rewarding can be kept separate from a reward). Because aside from the philosophical assurance of being in good company, the Labs are populated and produced by actual people. One more time, by actual people. Regular people. Amazing people like Susan Stover and Amy Dotson and Jon Reiss and Tricia Cooke (just to name a few that I connected with). People who are available to help and people who want to advise.

Perhaps the presence or the idea of a mentoring model shouldn’t have struck me with such force. But it did. It was a revelation. It made me realize how critical it is to making cinema, to making art, and to making our voices be heard. I’m not looking for bottom line budget numbers or specific salaries or stories about ‘the making of’ certain films; I’m looking for nuts and bolts information and honest, frank feedback that allows me to create better films. This is what the IFP Labs were for me and per their mission statement, what the IFP wants to do more of. I’m 34 years old, which it turns out is sorta-kinda young by industry standards, and I sorta-kinda feel like I just got the keys to my first car.

And I’d go further. I’d suggest that what we really need is a Mentoring Mindset. Because as far as I have traveled down this road, there are others who are just now beginning their journey. And, I’d like to think that as much as I can benefit from the guidance of those ahead, there are others who can benefit from me, from where I now stand. And if I share what I can, with whomever I can, the result will be the creation of better films.

So, my conclusions: first, take philosophical comfort that you are not alone. Second, give generously of your experience whenever you can. Among many things, my experience at the IFP Labs has pushed me towards an almost evangelical fervor that we need to permeate filmmaking with a Mentoring Mindset. Let Us Go Forth and Mentor.

Anyway, that’s my $.02. Thanks so much for your time—and to Ted for allowing me to share my thoughts and recent revelations here. Chris Ohlson

Chris Ohlson is a producer and director currently in post-production on his feature directorial debut film, MELVIN. He worries far too much about his calendar and often doesn’t sleep because of tomorrow’s to-do list. For more information, check out http://chrisohlson.com.

Is Google TV What Indies Have Been Waiting For?

Scott Macauley tipped me to NoFimSchool's post on Google TV. It, along with all the excellent links in the comments there, have picked up my spirits. Now with a little SEO strategy, maybe everyone can get a bit closer to having their work seen. Maybe soon they can even make some money from that and pay off this expensive hobby we have!

If you prefer to get your news from a major source, here's how the LATimes are covering it. It's true that with all the myriad of options, we need better search tools. I just wish that people would offer more filters. It's one thing to be able to find what we are looking for, but we still need to know what it is that we want -- particularly if we want to make other work that that which is justified by a huge marketing spend.

I know I want a few trusted curators. Let me know if you know where I may find them.

New Model: Bit Torrent Fee Sharing To Content Creators

Scott Macauley of FilmmakerMagBlog tipped me to this.  He writes:

Peter Sunde, one of the founders of the torrent site The Pirate Bay, has launched his venture, Flattr. Basically, on a monthly basis you commit to an amount of money that you'll disperse to content creators. Then, as the month goes by, you click on their Flattr buttons and at the end of the month the service divvies up your funds and gives an equal amount to each person you've clicked.

Flattr.com - How Flattr Works from Flattr on Vimeo.

What's The Future Of Film Look Like?

I don't have that answer and I will leave it to the others (at least for today) as so many are offering options:

Each day I have been experiencing and encountering new ideas and new practices; All of it is pretty damn thrilling. So what if we are racing forward even if we don't know where we are going. I am loving it.
Like I said, I don't know, but I do believe that some of these tools will change some things significantly.

You-Centric: The Future of Browsing from Carsonified on Vimeo.

That's Aza Raskin from Mozilla. And this is an attempt to explain Google Wave:

What are the other five tools that will make sure tomorrow does not look like today that I should be posting about?

Required Reading: NYC Indie Film Summit Wrap Ups

I hope to get a breath to give my thoughts on all this, but it more likely will come in the form of short subject posts, but I am really impressed with the wrap ups that greeted me this morning.

As much as I hope to address this in the weeks ahead, I am even more excited to hear from those that weren't there. I have heard a plethora of solutions and reasons for hope in recent weeks -- but from those in outside the film biz industry and those who have not been ordained into the establishment.
I am more energized than ever as I feel that although the business has changed we have a wave of new leaders about to claim ground. It won't be the same old cinema, the same old festivals, the same old windows that it has been.
Sure it may mean my way of doing business is dead and I will soon be out on the street with my tin cup, but I guess that's the price for thinking I was doing it right for too long. On the other hand, we have some movies going and I know my next group of films are even better than the ones I have made before so maybe I will get a few more years before execution.
Anyway, I would love to hear your responses to these articles.

Map Making: Thoughts On Thinking "Free"

I should have known Free would be the mantra of the weekend. We were going to take Hope The Younger to freeload at Vanessa's Dad's pad by the beach for the 4th, but before we left, we had the op to share a cab back from celebrating Strand's 20th with Indiewire's Eugene Hernadez; under his arm, still in it's protective wrapper, was Chris Anderson's "Free". Eugene had shelled out the $27 bucks for the wisdom of the nothing economy. Meanwhile, I was still hoping that Anderson would still take me up on my offer to send copies to the 4 most influential people I know, and thus provide with a copy for the price of the title. I guess heads of Hollywood and Indiewood studios don't rank in his book. Back from the sea, sand still between my toes, I still haven't read the meme of the moment, and now must live vicariously.

I once had a friend who said he preferred reading criticism than seeing or reading the real deal. I just may have to settle for that experience myself on this one, but luckily we all have the pleasure of both Malcolm Gladwell and Janet Maslin chiming in on Anderson's book so we can still participate in the daily chatter.
Just so it's clear -- if it isn't already -- Anderson's "free" is not the same "FREE" of this blog's inspiration (and title). Here on TFF, free is used in terms of thought, execution, and means of distribution. Here I mean FREE in terms of content, not economy. Granted there is a lot of overlap, but basically I am hoping that by changing our economic model to adapt to the reality of our times, what once was mistakingly called Indie Film can be a far more diverse and participatory culture. But more on that later. Back to that other Free...
Generally the question everyone seems to want to know is how do you make money, let alone recoup your time and money, when you are giving the product away for free?
“The way to compete with Free is to move past the abundance to find the adjacent scarcity,” states Chris Anderson in his book. What does that mean for you the filmmaker?

Scott Macauley on FilmmakerMagBlog tipped me to Brian Newman's powerpoint on moving beyond Free, and actually how to make a living with Free. Brian answers that question quite clearly & concisely.

Brian, borrowing from Kevin Kelly's "Better Than Free", points out where the added value comes in:
  • Immediacy: Give them something now
  • Personalization: To their needs
  • Interpretation: with study guide, or commentary
  • Authenticity: From you directly, signed by you
  • Embodiment: Speaking Fees
  • Patronage: Support the artist; Radiohead model
  • Accessibility: Make it easy to get
  • Findability: Work with partners who make you findable
The powerpoint is without audio, but pretty easy to follow if you have been following this blog.

To further answer this Question-Of-The-Moment, Janet Maslin points out in her review:

Mr. Anderson sees that consumers think not only about money but also about intangibles like convenience, access, quality and time.

Maslin, in contrasting Anderson's "Free" with Shell's book "Cheap", also hits upon one of the plagues that runs amok in Indie Filmland:

Ms. Shell’s intangibles are different; she argues that moral accountability and responsibility are often sacrificed for the sake of cheap pricing.
They didn't write a book on that because it would require two words: Bad Behavior. I find that even the filmmakers who adopt the "film-is-war" approach to production (more Bad Behavior), still struggle over these principles. People don't like to exploit others, although sometimes they allow themselves to get distracted to the point such exploitation becomes a tad too convenient. Those that do have started to lose some of those human qualities. Generally I find the creative brigade would love to find ways to get their work made and seen without having to ransom moral accountability and responsibility. People will adopt good behavior if they are reminded or given the opportunity or have a gun held to their head (daily).
I think the gun is there along with the opportunity and the daily reminders.
Yet, the fear of there be no real business model there too, leads a lot to indulge in a less rigid sense of effects. It's funny how survival leads many to cannibalize themselves. And as clearly as Gladwell deconstructs Anderson's model, he too finds it difficult to unearth the money-generating Free model:
There are four strands of argument here: a technological claim (digital infrastructure is effectively Free), a psychological claim (consumers love Free), a procedural claim (Free means never having to make a judgment), and a commercial claim (the market created by the technological Free and the psychological Free can make you a lot of money). The only problem is that in the middle of laying out what he sees as the new business model of the digital age Anderson is forced to admit that one of his main case studies, YouTube, “has so far failed to make any money for Google.”

To makes matter worse, providing for Free, isn't free to YouTube. As Gladwell points out "A recent report by Credit Suisse estimates that YouTube’s bandwidth costs in 2009 will be three hundred and sixty million dollars." And then it gets even worse from there:

...in order to make money, YouTube has been obliged to pay for programs that aren’t crap. To recap: YouTube is a great example of Free, except that Free technology ends up not being Free because of the way consumers respond to Free, fatally compromising YouTube’s ability to make money around Free, and forcing it to retreat from the “abundance thinking” that lies at the heart of Free. Credit Suisse estimates that YouTube will lose close to half a billion dollars this year.

So where does all this leave us? Indie films been losing approximately two billion a year (guesstimate: 4000 features @ $500K avg. budget; all not distributed or recouping).Gladwell's summation essentially comes down to that there are no easy answers -- but that easy answers do sell books (or at least get you a publishing deal, and the 4th of July meme of the moment).

But talented artists still want to make movies. And to make good movies, we all need to focus on the movies first and foremost. But good movies aren't enough in this world to get seen.
  1. A good first step is to work harder to make your film better and more distinct.
  2. The second step is team up and start to truly collaborate.
  3. Try following Kevin Kelly's 8 Generatives for step #3.
  4. I think the fourth step is follow those rules via some of the methods we've relayed here.
  5. Let's call the fifth step sharing your knowledge with each other in hopes that we will find a way.
Step by step we will get there. Let's make this map together.
As Joe Tripitican commented below, the musicians are dealing with this all straight on. There's a lively debate he tipped us to over on Jonathan Taplin's blog too. Check it out.
And Mark Cuban wants to encourage all business-minded to avoid the freemium model as he believes any successful free-ium play will grow until it becomes to large, expensive, and retro. There will always be a Facebook to replace MySpace, and a MySpace to replace Friendster, a Google to kick Yahoo's ass. Personally speaking I think all companies should plan to make themselves obsolete within five years, or they are not doing the public good.

Great Short Film, but "you always take things one step too far"

Thankfully, there are those among us who always take things one step too far.  It may be difficult for a relationship, but it is one of those things that the internet is really good for.  People always say, in terms of content, the web works for broad comedy and horror/gross out, but equally grabbing is the OMFG vein.

Nash Edgerton's SPIDER got a couple of exclamations out of me.  And it kept me away from my third cup of morning coffee -- which means it is a pretty strong dose.
I got turned onto SPIDER via Scott Macauley at FilmmakerMagBlog.  Or at least I thought I did -- Toni Collette actually got their first for me for the video he did of her.  But Scott's sourced other great work too, and gets full credit to turning me onto the work of Patrick Daughters long before he ever shot a music video.  It was Edgerton's recent clip for Bob Dylan that initiated Scott's posting.
Checking out Edgerton's work I was excited to see he is part of Blue Tongue Films in Sydney.  I had the good fortune of mentoring a feature project of theirs -- or maybe just related to them -- when I participated in the Aurora Screenwriting workshop earlier this year.  There's great new work popping up all over.  Here's hoping everyone keeps taking things one step too far.
P.S.  After I posted this I got a thank you note from my Mom who had just watched it and said that it had produced multiple screams from her.  She reminded me that I repeatedly placed a fake spider in our sugar bowl growing up.  I guess my connection to the work was even more primal than I recognized.

38 Problems Discussion Continues

If you haven't checked out the comments to last week's post, scroll down now and do so.  It's a lively discussion with lots of interesting points raised.

The discussion has also migrated to some other blogs too. Scott Macauley over at the Filmmaker Mag Blog gave the list a gander and had some futurecasting thoughts as a result:

In the "up" years of the indie film economy, enough people were getting a little bit of action, and the difficult questions of which models to endorse going forward and which to let die did not have to be made. Now due to collapsing revenue and business models, they do. Independent film is, after all, content, and while having specific challenges of its own it also shares many of the troubles that all content, from scripted one-hour dramas to daily newspapers, is currently facing. So, one question I had after reading Ted's list is whether the loosely defined, loosely configured movement known as indie film will organize itself around the answers to these problems, or whether makers will decouple from the definitional tent of independent film and address them using entirely different paradigms.

The Future Of Film

Sorry to disappoint you, but I don't have the answer as to what the future of film is.  

A lot of people though do have some good ideas as what the future may hold and what it is needed, from the small step to the big picture.  I got to sit down with a nice group of very smart people while I was at SXSW and talk a bit about what I might be.  Scott Kirsner who organized the breakfast has put the whole conversation up on his blog.  The other participants are:
filmmaker Lance Weiler 
conference organizer and producer Liz Rosenthal
technologist Brian Chirls
outreach guru Caitlin Boyle
 filmmaker Brett Gaylor
producer and Filmmaker Mag editor Scott Macaulay

It Could Be Getting So Much Better All The Time #10: A National Film Board

Look at what Canada has!  Free streaming of great films!

Imagine if we had government funding for the arts in this country. For a brief moment I had hopes that the stimulus plan would include something more than a token.  As Scott Macauley at Filmmaker Blog reported with a good round-up of the lack thereof, it ain't gonna be so?  You'd think with almost 3 million people employed in the arts in this country, they'd be more of demand for such a stimulus.  It's crazy that when investments like this and the state based film tax credits bring more revenue in, that the politicians don't make the happen.  Sigh...

Well, image if we had a website like this promoting our culture.  What would be the ramifications of that?  Would media literacy increase?  Would artists prosper? Would that be so bad?

Tips From The Gotham Breakthrough Directors

Scott Macauley of Fimmaker Mag Blog moderated a discussion between the The Gotham Awards Breakthrough Director nominees. They are a great group of directors and a great group of films. Many of them also made the Hammer To Nail list too. They all had different approaches to their filmmaking. 

We don't usually focus at all on production related issues here at TFF as our efforts are towards finding a new way to get films to audiences (and how that in turn will shape the film you make). I have been preparing a post on all you need to do when and, well, it is surprising how much of it needs to be done even before pre-production and continued into the production and post process. 
I wasn't at the panel so I can't vouch why the same concerns did not appear to reach these filmmakers - maybe they did and you needed to be there. I wish the IFP put video of these events online.  Nonetheless I like the takeaway synthesis Scott put together. It clarifies that really is no common template.  Read about it here (click to link).

What Scott Learned

Scott Macauley interviewed Scott Kirsner for Filmmaker Mag Blog about Kirsner's new book "Inventing The Movies".  Scott's answers about what he learned from self-publishing and self-distributing the book are directly applicable to fimmakers:

Three things. You really need to have a platform and a built-in audience to really be successful promoting something now. The platform that I built over a couple of years is the CinemaTech blog, and that has a couple of thousand people who come to it every week. Two, you want to make things available in a lot of different ways that are convenient for people. A lot of publishers don‘t pay any attention to the ebook, but I wanted to have the book available in print and, for instant gratification, in digital form. I had a debate at the IFP conference with Tom Bernard from Sony Pictures Classics where I argued that the moment a lot of movies get the most attention is when they appear at a festival, so why not let people pay a premium price and download the movie then, or the week after? I wanted to do that with the book. And the third thing is something I did a little bit of, which is sharing the material as I was gathering it. I did a couple of interviews with Mark Cuban, and I posted those interviews on the blog and it was interesting to see other people‘s comments. He even posted some comments on the blog himself. So, by posting raw material and seeing what people want to know about [the audience] can steer you in directions you never would have thought of. I‘m trying to carve my way through the jungle of a new approach to book publishing in the same way that filmmakers are trying to find a new way to make movies.


Or in other words: seed, sort, and test.

New Revenue Models: #1 of ?

In Filmmaker Mag, Scott Macauley interviews Scott Kirshner about his new book "Inventing The Movies".  In the interview, one thing caught my eye:

Another concept I really like is letting people quote sections from a movie, and that‘s something you can only do in digital form. For example, there‘s a great car chase in this movie, and I want to quote it on my blog. That‘s something that can be ad supported. And people can say, “Wow, this car chase is great, I‘d like to see the context around it,” and they can buy the whole movie. It‘s the same way that publishers are beginning to sell individual chapters of books. As a writer, I‘d rather someone buy one chapter of my book than none at all.

Whether it is in narratives or docs, we are all in need of a new sort of editor -- one not to cut our features together, but one to take them apart so that audiences can more easily find how the film relates to them.  Points of access are not always at the beginning -- and we have to not only accept that, but promote that.

Navigating Film Festivals

Scott Macauley linked to yesterday's post on the Filmmaker Magazine Blog and included a link to Chris Holland's book "Film Festival Secrets".  Seems like a good thing to read up on as you dream about being selected for Sundance.  I am going to give it a look.  You have to sign up, at least temporarily for Chris' newsletter and then they send you the book -- so I haven't gotten to look at it yet.

I am going to be posting some basic advice over the next few days on how I personally recommend viewing the festival circuit, and in particular Sundance, -- once you are in.  Chris' book is a very comprehensive overview on selecting your festivals,  how to get in (and manage when you don't), marketing, building your team, preparation, troubleshooting, and followup.  It's a quick read and an incredible resource.  It compiles what took me years to learn.  It does though take festivals a bit as an end into themselves, whereas Truly Free Filmmakers must see them as just the first step in building awareness about their films.  
Festivals have to be used very judiciously these days.  Festivals are going to change from many diverse and singular events to much more of a unified community focused on year round programming.  They are the keepers and maintainers of aggregated film lovers and cinephiles nationwide.  They will be able to leverage that community into a truly valuable resource for TFFilmakers, but a new model needs to be found.