Competitions and entry fees

A forum for sharing views on the art of film, video and AV sequence making as well as on competitions, judging and festivals.
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Ken wilson

Competitions and entry fees

Post by Ken wilson » Wed Jan 10, 2007 11:14 pm

I have rather belatedly, being catching up with the various threads on this
web-site. I expect that there may be many people who read this forum but
do not contribute to it, which is sad as it seems to be the same half-dozen
or so who keep this forum going. However, my main point on this occasion
is the comments made about competition entry fees in general and the BIAFF
one in particular.

As I have mentioned before (probably about the time of the BIAFF competition
last year) there is a lot of work which goes into organising this event and
such similar festivals. I know that Brian Dunckley has said that there are
only a few days in the whole year when he is not doing something for BIAFF.
Much goes on behind the scenes which most people do not see. When our competition
and festival was over, I was still typing up comments and sending films back
for a couple of weeks afterwards and this is very small peanuts compared
to the major competitions.
Our entry fee was only £5 and was intended only to cover the cost of the
£100 prize to the winner and one trophy. There was also a few pounds for
judges refreshments and that was it! I can well understand that a much bigger
competition requires a much bigger budget to continue.

However, having said all of that, I do think that the entry fees for BIAFF
are now reaching a crisis point were many people will think seriously about
what they will send in. Film makers like myself who often make several movies
a year will now have to become more selective in choosing their best films.
I seem to think that entry fees were around the £8 mark when I began entering
the IAC competitions more than a decade ago and have gone up most years since
then.
In the years when I produced perhaps 4 or 5 films, I was choosy in any case,
not because of cost, but mainly because you are kind of competing with yourself.
As with the Guernsey Lily in 2006, I sent in two comedies, hoping for a chance
at the comedy award, but of couse knowing that my two films would in effect
compete with each other. This is also the case with multiple entries into
BIAFF.

But with rising entry fees, cost does start to be a consideration and there
is little point in sending a movie in to the competition when you know it
is not one of your best efforts.
As we have said here many times, it is not so much about the winning as having
your film screened to an audience that matters, but if your best hope is
for a Silver award or lower, with no guarantee of a showing, is it worth
paying the much higher fees?
I expect that most of this money is to cover judges expenses as it is only
right that these are covered when people give their time for free and travel
great distances, but there comes a point when entry numbers will fall away
as the price goes up.
I would suggest a serious look at capping entry fees if possible and particularly
with a view to cutting the cost of multiple entries.

Ken.

Willy Van der Linden

Re: Competitions and entry fees

Post by Willy Van der Linden » Thu Jan 11, 2007 3:52 pm

"Ken wilson" <forums@theiac.org.uk> wrote:
I
Much goes on behind the scenes which most people do not see. When our competition
and festival was over, I was still typing up comments and sending films
back
for a couple of weeks afterwards and this is very small peanuts compared
to the major competitions.
....
However, having said all of that, I do think that the entry fees for BIAFF
are now reaching a crisis point were many people will think seriously about
what they will send in. Film makers like myself who often make several movies
a year will now have to become more selective in choosing their best films.
....
I expect that most of this money is to cover judges expenses as it is only
right that these are covered when people give their time for free and travel
great distances, but there comes a point when entry numbers will fall away
as the price goes up.
I would suggest a serious look at capping entry fees if possible and particularly
with a view to cutting the cost of multiple entries.
___________________________________________________________________________________
Much goes on behind the scenes which most people do not see. That's right,
Ken. And perhaps most people do not understand that the organizers have to
spend much money on things that we do not see and that are also very important.

Some days ago I paid my entry for the Benelux (Belgium, Netherlands, Luxemburg)
Film Festival in Ostend. The entry fee is 15 euros. That's about £9. They
don't accept additional entries. I think that taking part in the Benelux
Film Festival is more expensive than last year. The Benelux Film Festival
is always well-organized. Even our King Albert or Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands
or the Grand Duke of Luxemburg give awards to the winners. So it's a very
prestigious festival or competition. I think it's interesting to tell you
all this because indeed perhaps the entry fees for BIAFF are now reaching
a crisis point. I always try to encourage Belgian and Dutch filmmakers to
take part in BIAFF, but I have the strong impression that the entry fees
are too expensive for most of them. I always try to translate their films
for subtitles - and so does Christiane Surdiacourt - and Dave corrects our
mistakes. I am sure that he too makes subtitles for many friends. Of course
Dave doesn't do any creative film work which is normal. But in fact we offer
an extra free service to our friends from abroad who are willing to enter
British film festivals. BIAFF is an international festival and without any
films from other European countries or from other continents BIAFF would
not be an international film festival.
The cost of the money is to cover judges expenses which is acceptable. On
the continent it's not different. Of course ... where's the limit ? Imagine
that the hotel bills for the partners of judges are also paid by the organizers.
What would you think about this ? I imagine that it's difficult to find volunteers
to judge one hundred or more films in a place which is one or two hundred
miles or even more from the place where they live. Anyway, I realize that
everything must be done to attract good judges. They must be spoilt in some
way.
Ken makes several movies every year. So do I, but he is certainly a more
productive filmmaker than I am. Cutting the cost of multiple entries would
be a very good thing. I have 3 entries for BIAFF this year and I have an
other three films. These are definitely not award winning films, but maybe
they can offer much entertainment to the audience or even only to the judges.
If one or two films are shown at the festival then I am very happy also
because I also spend some money on accommodation and on travelling. In the
first place everything should be done to show films from different filmmakers.

My adorable wife is also my treasurer - I may thank my lucky star - but I
fear that some day she will urge on me the need for not spending so much
money on festivals. In the Golden Sixties and Seventies ... and Eighties
... and Ninetees the sky was the limit, but unfortunately times have changed
on the continent and perhaps also in Britain.

Willy Van der Linden

Re: Competitions and entry fees

Post by Willy Van der Linden » Thu Jan 11, 2007 3:52 pm

"Ken wilson" <forums@theiac.org.uk> wrote:
I
Much goes on behind the scenes which most people do not see. When our competition
and festival was over, I was still typing up comments and sending films
back
for a couple of weeks afterwards and this is very small peanuts compared
to the major competitions.
....
However, having said all of that, I do think that the entry fees for BIAFF
are now reaching a crisis point were many people will think seriously about
what they will send in. Film makers like myself who often make several movies
a year will now have to become more selective in choosing their best films.
....
I expect that most of this money is to cover judges expenses as it is only
right that these are covered when people give their time for free and travel
great distances, but there comes a point when entry numbers will fall away
as the price goes up.
I would suggest a serious look at capping entry fees if possible and particularly
with a view to cutting the cost of multiple entries.
___________________________________________________________________________________
Much goes on behind the scenes which most people do not see. That's right,
Ken. And perhaps most people do not understand that the organizers have to
spend much money on things that we do not see and that are also very important.

Some days ago I paid my entry for the Benelux (Belgium, Netherlands, Luxemburg)
Film Festival in Ostend. The entry fee is 15 euros. That's about £9. They
don't accept additional entries. I think that taking part in the Benelux
Film Festival is more expensive than last year. The Benelux Film Festival
is always well-organized. Even our King Albert or Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands
or the Grand Duke of Luxemburg give awards to the winners. So it's a very
prestigious festival or competition. I think it's interesting to tell you
all this because indeed perhaps the entry fees for BIAFF are now reaching
a crisis point. I always try to encourage Belgian and Dutch filmmakers to
take part in BIAFF, but I have the strong impression that the entry fees
are too expensive for most of them. I always try to translate their films
for subtitles - and so does Christiane Surdiacourt - and Dave corrects our
mistakes. I am sure that he too makes subtitles for many friends. Of course
Dave doesn't do any creative film work which is normal. But in fact we offer
an extra free service to our friends from abroad who are willing to enter
British film festivals. BIAFF is an international festival and without any
films from other European countries or from other continents BIAFF would
not be an international film festival.
The cost of the money is to cover judges expenses which is acceptable. On
the continent it's not different. Of course ... where's the limit ? Imagine
that the hotel bills for the partners of judges are also paid by the organizers.
What would you think about this ? I imagine that it's difficult to find volunteers
to judge one hundred or more films in a place which is one or two hundred
miles or even more from the place where they live. Anyway, I realize that
everything must be done to attract good judges. They must be spoilt in some
way.
Ken makes several movies every year. So do I, but he is certainly a more
productive filmmaker than I am. Cutting the cost of multiple entries would
be a very good thing. I have 3 entries for BIAFF this year and I have an
other three films. These are definitely not award winning films, but maybe
they can offer much entertainment to the audience or even only to the judges.
If one or two films are shown at the festival then I am very happy also
because I also spend some money on accommodation and on travelling. In the
first place everything should be done to show films from different filmmakers.

My adorable wife is also my treasurer - I may thank my lucky star - but I
fear that some day she will urge on me the need for not spending so much
money on festivals. In the Golden Sixties and Seventies ... and Eighties
... and Ninetees the sky was the limit, but unfortunately times have changed
on the continent and perhaps also in Britain.

Dave Watterson

Re: Competitions and entry fees

Post by Dave Watterson » Fri Jan 12, 2007 12:11 pm

I try not to comment on everything said here in case I sound like an anxious
hen ...

In my experience of judging:

If judges have to stay overnight most festivals provide accommodation, that
may be staying in the chairman's spare bedroom or a hotel room. Hotel bills
for partners are not usually included.

Most UK festivals offer travel expenses, many judges do not claim those.

IAC/BIAFF
---------
The IAC competition system is explained on the main website. Essentially
it draws judges from each part of the UK and so far as possible no person
judges movies from their own area. To ensure that all the entries are seen
by at least three people in a single weekend a large number of judges is
required. They start on Friday evening and continue until late Sunday afternoon.

The competition manager organises a cheap central venue and people travel
from the four corners of Britain to it - in many cases giving up the whole
Friday in order to be there on time. They are given rooms and food from Friday
night dinner to Sunday afternoon cuppa. Sunday night is NOT given though
many with long journeys ahead choose to stay at their own expense for Sunday
night.

Viewing arrangements depend largely on borrowed kit but there may be an item
or two to hire.

The hidden costs are things like preparing leaflets, certificates, trophies
... packing materials and postage for entries ... cost of phone calls and
letters to entrants sorting out mispaid fees or unplayable tapes ... stationery
for judges and organisers ... any advertising done ... getting certificates
to suitable officers to sign ... and so on.

It all only works because a great many people give up a chunk of their spare
time and energy ... and the competition manager and his partner give up a
huge amount of time, energy and patience ... for free.

Dave (cluck cluck) Watterson

Michael Slowe

Re: Competitions and entry fees

Post by Michael Slowe » Fri Jan 12, 2007 5:38 pm

I have been following this thread and the one about the IAC administration
and feel impelled to comment as follows.

The fees for entries to BIAFF would, it has to be admitted, alarm those with
limited means both young and old but unless substantial funding was forthcoming
there is little that can be done. Those more fortunate should regard their
fee payments as a subscription to the festival and as a way of helping it
to succeed (rather as taxes should be regarded as a subscription to society)
and therefore I intend to submit the four films I happen to have available
for entry this year happy in the knowledge that I am helping to defray the
IAC's considerable expense of running the competition. Ken, surely we are
not competing against ourselves with over 200 entries but I am happy to be
competing against you!! Incidently the IAC do invite members to make donations
(anonymously if desired) to the funding of the festival and I urge those
who feel able to consider this course of action to act now. This has happened
in the past with some success I believe.

As to someone's suggestion of confining the magazine to this web site I urge
those in power to disregard this notion. The publication, ably produced by
Garth Hope in his spare time, is what holds much of our membership together.
The printed word (and pictures!) is still more potent than tiny print on
a small screen.


"Ken wilson" <forums@theiac.org.uk> wrote:
In the years when I produced perhaps 4 or 5 films, I was choosy in any case,
not because of cost, but mainly because you are kind of competing with yourself.
As with the Guernsey Lily in 2006, I sent in two comedies, hoping for a
chance
at the comedy award, but of couse knowing that my two films would in effect
compete with each other. This is also the case with multiple entries into
BIAFF.

Ken Wilson

Re: Competitions and entry fees

Post by Ken Wilson » Sun Jan 14, 2007 11:03 am

"Michael Slowe" <michael.slowe@btinternet.com> wrote:

I have been following this thread and the one about the IAC administration
and feel impelled to comment as follows.

The fees for entries to BIAFF would, it has to be admitted, alarm those
with
limited means both young and old but unless substantial funding was forthcoming
there is little that can be done. Those more fortunate should regard their
fee payments as a subscription to the festival and as a way of helping it
to succeed (rather as taxes should be regarded as a subscription to society)
and therefore I intend to submit the four films I happen to have available
for entry this year happy in the knowledge that I am helping to defray the
IAC's considerable expense of running the competition. Ken, surely we are
not competing against ourselves with over 200 entries but I am happy to
be
competing against you!!
I do agree with what Michael and Dave have had to say on this subject. I
very much hope that my comments were seen as a balanced view as I can see
both sides of the argument.
I also strongly agree with Michael when he said the magazine was a very important
part of the IAC. This, along with BIAFF should be the last things to go in
any changes that could be made with the organisation. There still seems very
few of us who read this forum and so the magazine is a vital link between
us all.
I know what Michael meant about us supporting the funding of the IAC and
entry fees do in effect help keep it all going financially.
My only real concern is that the costs of entering a film are getting to
be a bit unrealistic for many people and will be starting to deter entries
from those who know that their films can only every gain a Blue or Bronze
award and are merely paying their fee to read the judges comments.

Ken.

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billyfromConsett
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Location: Consett

Post by billyfromConsett » Sun Mar 04, 2007 7:26 pm

This year was first time I put any films into Biaff. I put 4 films in - 2 into the main comp and 2 into the one-minute comp.

They were films that I'm pretty happy with, so I'm wondering how they'll compare with some pretty good movies.

And for the last few years me and my son I've also gone to the judging - where for two nights/three days, we stayed at a hotel and used our gear to project the films and keep the judges to a whackingly tight time schedule. In saying our gear, I mean my video projector, camcorder, DVD player, screeen, hi-fi amp and speakers. I was able to properly show the movies on a proper screen with excellent audio. Other people provide their own personal equipment so the comp can be judged.

I saw judges who came from all over the UK. As far as I know, people paid their own way to get there and gave up at least 3 days of their time in exchange for hard work.

I only go back a few years in this hobby of ours, so when I hear about judges sleeping on people's floors or in people's spare rooms I can only imagine the total disruption it made to a number of dedicated people's weekends. I don't know of any effect it mght have had on any of the judging.

If that's what the future should go back to, to save costs, our amateur tag is seriously well served.

High calibre films should be properly meaning carefully appaised, if that's what their makers want from the competition I would say. How about you?

My family gave a weekend to support Biaff, (my wife by looking after our other two children on her own) but in all fairness it was nothing compared to what some do during the other 51 weeks as well.

I admit the comp costs. My competition cheque could have got me into St James Park for a Premiership football match. It wouldn't have paid for my son as well though.

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