I learned a lot of things. Mainly that:
1. Nowadays everybody and their uncle wants to make a movie. And seemingly everybody and their uncle ARE making a movie. This includes yours truly. (Everybody and their cousin are busy making documentaries).
2. It's really about who you know (and if you have to pay money to learn this lesson, as I did, you are a bit of a putz). To the credit of the IFP, the money we paid to learn such obvious pearls of wisdom was quite reasonable. It also got me a free beer.
3. People who want to make films are angry at Hollywood for not caring about social issues. PUHLEEZE do try to get over it. As if.
4. You have to have a film festival strategy. This presents a bit of a paradox. On the one hand, all festivals want to discover the diamond in the rough, the next super original whatever. That sounds great, since everybody and their uncle think they are the next super original whatever (this includes yours truly). But, you can't be sending your puny little film to every festival because then you are a festival whore and nobody will touch you.
7. There is way too much cinematic offer and dwindling demand. This is a serious lesson. More movies get released than people have time to see. I see this as a major problem. Everybody and their uncle seemed unfazed by this predicament.
6. If I hear the phrases follow your dream, be passionate about your vision and do your homework one more time, I will kill someone.
In a nutshell: the main paradox in the quest for the moviemaking holy grail is as follows:
It's About Who You Know, But They Want To Find Someone They Haven't Heard Of.
I wish dear Bertie Russell was on hand so that he could help us wrap our minds around this one.
You can divide everybody and their uncle in two groups:
The pushy ones, who know it's all about who you know; and the ones that hate networking with all the fibers of their being and try as hard as they can to approach someone in the hopes of getting to the stage of "who you know" (which in this case basically means detaching someone from their business card). Sadly, I tend to belong to this last category. But not for long.