Our resident Sundance expert Jason Siner tells it like it is from the snowy trenches of Park City...
I'm a six-time veteran of the Sundance film festival. I’ve written enthusiastic articles and blogs on how to get into the most exclusive parties, meet the
This year I began to have doubts.
When I first started attending the festival years ago, tickets were eight dollars, and if you found some local voucher spots you could get them for five. This year, the cost was fifteen bucks a film! When you figure in that I usually see about twenty-five films during my ten-day stay, that’s quite a difference in cost. I don’t mind supporting budding filmmakers, but, come on, I’m paying more than the entire budget on some of their films.
So, is that it? Do I now believe that Sundance is only for the industry insider or vacationing playboy? Well… no.
Okay, gone are the days when I did Sundance for $220 (that included the gas to drive up there!) However, for a director or screenwriter, this is the one time all those agents, managers, and development execs who wouldn’t give you the time of day in
See, the flip side of it being so difficult for someone outside the system to attend is that all the industry people up here consider any attendee to be worthy of their attention. There’s an actual interest when you state you’re a screenwriter. Have something that would be great for HBO? Play your cards right, and you’ll have the VP of development reading it in no time. Looking for a better agent (or even a first one)? Get into the right party and you’ll have them fighting over your card. This has all happened to me and could just as easily happen to you.
So it costs much more now than it used to, but if the outcome is the jumpstart of that successful career you’ve been striving for, isn’t it worth it? The real difference now is that you better be ready before you head up there. Your scripts need to be polished if you’re a screenwriter (I know this great service called Coverage, Ink...) (Gosh, thanks, Jason! Your payola is in the mail – Jim) or your demo reel needs to be professional if you’re a director. You’ll get your chance, but be ready.
And look, it will cost you a pretty penny, but it’s a good investment. At the very least, you’ll see some great films, meet great people, and maybe even score some great swag. So, until they build a security wall around