So You Want to Go to Sundance?
So You Want to Go to Sundance?: Creating PR Materials
Essentially, writing good publicity materials requires a talent for summary. You need to be able to say what your film is about in a way that 1) is clear; 2) is succinct, and 3) makes a potential viewer want to watch.
For festivals and video jackets, you'll have to write blurbs describing the action of your film. Generally, festivals require that the blurbs be a single sentence of forty words or less. These blurbs simply declare the movie's plot set-up. You don't want to give away too much (or who will want to watch the film?) but you won't want to say too little, either.
Our all-purpose festival blurb reads like this:
Twenty-nine words. And the viewer "gets" the main idea.
The blurbs you write for video jackets tend to be a bit longer and more dramatically (or hyperbolically) expressed. On the video jacket, you have the opportunity to praise your own film, and to correct any incorrect assumptions a viewer might make about your film. For instance, in reading the blurb for the festivals, a viewer might decide that the film is too dark, too depressing. Accordingly, when we wrote our videotext, we wanted to assure the reader that though the film deals with difficult subject matter, it's uplifting, too.
Accordingly, our video jacket reads like this:
A short film by Serguei Bassine
On the eve of his important cello recital, twelve-year-old Slava Slonin struggles to practice as his father embarks on an extravagant drinking spree. Why does Slava practice so devotedly? Why does his father drink so extravagantly?
Because of Mama.
Valera Yakovlev debuts as Slava, who is torn between the disappointments of an alcoholic father (Sergei Kashonin), the expectations of a perfectionist mother (Yelena Spiridonova), and his own desire to claim his childhood. Irina Osnovina also stars as music teacher Ludmilla Nickolaevna, who encourages Slava to discover his "feelings ... feelings!"
Producers: Eugene Volkov & Serguei Bassine
Director of Photography: Vladimir Ilyin
Film Editor: Jane Abramowitz
Sound Design: Joe Caterini
Original screenplay by: Karen Gocsik & Serguei Bassine
For a look at our video jacket and other PR materials, see Because of Mama PR Materials.