You've finished your short, feature or documentry - congratulations - it's festival submission time! This is when you submit your film and cross your finders and toes and hope you get selected.

Here at Raindance Film Festival we've had nearly a quarter of a century dealing with submissions from filmmakers, and nearly as long submitting our own work to festivals around the world. we also know how manic the filmmaking process is and how filmmakers rudsh to meet submission dedlines for the biggies like Berlin, Cannes, Raindance, Rotterdam, Sundance, SWSX and Toronto.

Here's 7 Reasons You Submit Early To Film Festival

1. The Festival Programmers Will Be Fresh

One would think this is a no-brainer, but no, most filmmakers seem to wait until the last minute before they ship off their submissions. This means the festival programmers are faced with a huge number of submissions at the last minute. Remember that programmers have to finish their selections well inadvance of the festival opening in order to allow for time for websites to be built, reviews written, films scheduled and hospitality arrangements made.

Raindance starts programming for each year's festival a month after the previous one ends!

Benefit from the freshness of the programmer's eyes.

2. Save Money

Have you ever had to pay for surge pricing on Uber? Most festivals, including Raindance have scaleable fees that rise dramatically as the deadline approachs. Early submissions are always the cheapest.

3. Festivals have time to ask you questions

I can speak from years and years of experience that the more time we have to work with you following selection, the more time we have to discuss your film and release strategy with you. In poll after poll of filmmakers who've attended Raindance the one regret they all have is: "I wish I had more time to plan my festival screening."

4. It gives you time to research the festival's programming strategy

Each film festival has a programming strategy. Early submission allows you to research a particular programming style before submitting. You won't need to ask the boring questions that festivals like Raindance get asked all the time.

5. It allows you time to market your project

Getting the marketing vibe right is one of the trickiest things any filmmaker can do. Giving yourself the right amount of time allows you to test your marketing approach, to do AB testing and other orimotional and marketing activity.

Remember: one of the best ways to get selected is to submit early, and then mount a arketing campaign. Festival programmers will notice your online activities.

6. You can meet other filmmakers

Get your social media up to scratch and start asking your 'crowd' about what you are trying to do and use their experience. Or collaborate. or share accomodation!

7. You can plan your festival strategy

Successful filmmakers have learned that the backbone to their success is a srtrong and well thought out social media marketing and promotion strategy. Submitting early to festivals means you have the time and energy to create a viable social media strategy, not only for your film, but for you as a filmmaker.

The Acid Test

Are you ready to submit your films to a film festival?
Have you looked at their past editions to see if you can just their previous programming?

What about Raindance? Have you looked at our film festival website?

Elliot Grove
Elliot Grove founded Raindance a quarter century ago as a thought experiment: Can you make a film with no money, no training and no experience, he asked? When people like his first intern Edgar Wright started making movies he founded the Raindance Film Festival to celebrate their work in 1993, the British Independent Film Awards in 1998.

Here you can see Elliot with a very happy Slumdog Millionaire crew at the British Independent Film Awards

Elliot has produced over 700 short films, and 5 feature films. He has written eight scripts, one of which is currently in pre-production. His first feature film, TABLE 5 (1997) was shot on 35mm and completed for a total of £278.38. He teaches writers and producers in the UK, Europe, Japan and America. In 2006 he produced the multiple-award winning The Living and the Dead.
In 2013 he relaunched the production arm: Raw Talent with the cult film director Ate de Jong. Their first venture was the psychological thriller Deadly Virtues: Love.Honour.Obey. finished late 2013.

He has written three books which have become industry standards: RAINDANCE WRITERS LAB 2nd Edition (Focal Press 2008), Raindance Producers' Lab: Lo-To-No Budget Filmmaking (Focal Press 2013) and 130 PROJECTS TO GET YOU INTO FILMMAKING (Barrons 2009). He was awarded a PhD in 2009 for services to film education. His first novel THE BANDIT QUEEN is scheduled for publication next year.

Elliot teaches several courses at Raindance including Lo To No Budget Filmmaking and Writer's Foundation Certificate.

Read articles by Elliot Grove.