Why There’s No Such Thing As A Wasted Opportunity

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Many years ago, I trained to be a primary school teacher*. I was fresh out of high school, the world was big and uncertain and I chose to go to Teacher’s College. On the first day in our first class, our lecturer got us to introduce ourselves to one another. There were so many bright, bubbly people who were excited to be undertaking the journey. Some had waited their entire lives to become a teacher.

And…then there was me.

I couldn’t tell you why I wanted to be a teacher. I think partly it was parental pressure, partly trying to suppress my real desire to work in the film industry. So I persisted with this path for 3 years. I did well with the academic work, my teaching placements also went well. I was one teaching placement and a university paper away from graduating when I decided that this really wasn’t for me.

I felt like a complete and utter failure. My parents were supportive of my decision to leave, but I knew they were disappointed as well. In hindsight, it was the right thing to do- schools need teachers who are 100% passionate about what they do and can instill that into their teaching. The classmates I had whose eyes lit up on the first day and had wanted to teach from a very young age were exactly what the education system desperately needed (and subsequently they have gone on to have very successful teaching careers).

But what at first seemed like a complete loss was actually a gift. I may not have gained my teaching degree, but along the way I gained valuable skills which transferred over into everything I did subsequently. Even now, the skills I gained all those years ago are appropriate for the work I do in publicity. There’s not a lot of difference between the research, planning, implementation and review of a lesson plan and the research, planning, implementation and review of a publicity campaign. Teaching taught me how to be adaptable, to manage my time effectively and work with a wide range of people. Better yet, when I did a Bachelor of Arts a few years later I was able to cross-credit some of my teaching courses over into my BA and ended up completing my degree in 2.5 years instead of 3.

I firmly believe that there is no such thing as a wasted opportunity. Even in your bitterest disappointments, you’ll find a diamond in the ashes. You might have to wait a while to find that diamond (because let’s face it- disappointments are awful and you might ruminate for a while), but it’s there. If you’re in the indie film industry, you’ll know that sometimes productions fall through, you might not get the role, or locations that were initially viable at the start of production are taken off the table suddenly. None of this is a waste of time. A production that stalls or doesn’t go through to post is valuable experience. The role you didn’t get gave you the opportunity to audition and put yourself in front of an agent and director and put yourself on their radar for future projects. The location you had your heart set on that was made unavailable may open the way for a better location.

A few years ago I spoke to a filmmaker whose short was crowdfunding on Kickstarter. With Kickstarter, it’s a case of “all or nothing” for funding, and the campaign didn’t look like it was going to reach 100%. The filmmaker was incredibly positive about things. “OK, we’re not going to get the funding. That’s fine,” he said to me, “but having our crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter meant we were able to gain positive awareness around our campaign, so we’ve got a solid grounding for the next steps”.  He subsequently used the data from the campaign to look at what worked, what didn’t and what they could do in the future to ensure they had a successful campaign.

Currently, I am transitioning from working for myself to potentially joining a new PR team and that has meant sending out a lot of applications and getting in touch with agencies. I’m not worried about rejections, because connecting with agencies is another opportunity to network, and at the very least they are aware of me and what I have been doing as a freelancer. I chose to look at this undertaking as being a positive one, no matter what. Eventually, there will be the right position and it may come from somewhere completely unexpected. You can never underestimate the power of networking- there are times when someone will know of another person who is looking for exactly the skillset you possess and can put you in touch.

So if you receive a rejection e-mail, you don’t get a callback or things go kaput on a production- find the gift in it. There’s always some experience or skill you have gained during the process that can be of use later on, you just have to find it.

*= for those of you who are American, primary school is the equivalent of elementary school.

We’re Getting A Blog Makeover!

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The Film Sprites PR blog is getting a makeover! Nothing drastic, just a few content nips and tucks, as well as brand new updated information to keep you abreast of changes in the social media marketing and PR world.

Many of our most widely read posts will be coming back, so fear not! Check back soon to see what we’ve added.

Exciting Updates and News in the New Year

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Film Sprites PR has been back in the office from January 14th, so we wish everyone a belated Happy New Year!

We had a tremendously exciting 2016 and 2017 looks set to be just as exciting. Some of the things that are currently happening for past and current clients:

  • Mad Shelley Films (the award-winning makers of popular short film The Halloween Girl) have released their brand new supernatural webseries Under The Flowers. The series consists of 4 short episodes, each episode premiering every Sunday. The first two episodes have been released and are available to view on the official website, with the third episode premiering this coming Sunday. Already the series has attracted praise from Popcorn Horror, Movie and TV Series Geek, and Movie Critic Next Door. It was also front-page news in the Courier-Post.

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  • In case you haven’t seen it yet, writer/filmmaker Oliver Park‘s multiple award-winning horror short VICIOUS is now available to view for free on YouTube. VICIOUS is the winner of eight awards internationally, including Gold Award for Best International Film at Toronto After Dark and Platinum Award at the LA Horror Competition. It was also nominated for a further seven awards, including Melis d’Argent at Molins in Spain. We’re aiming to get VICIOUS to 1 million views by March, so if you love it, please make sure you share with other horror-loving film fans! You can see the film here. Oliver Park’s follow-up to VICIOUS, STILL, will be released in 2017.

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  • We also have exciting updates from two crowdfunding campaigns Film Sprites PR successfully assisted in reaching their campaign goals: Enough, from filmmaker Daphne Fischer and Medusa’s Kitchen, the fourth short film in the Northern Line Series, created by Jessica Burn and produced by Fall of the House Productions. Both films are in post-production! We will keep you updated with regards to release dates.
  • We’re always keen to partner with groups and individuals from all facets of the film industry, and recently we’ve partnered with FGN Inc. to support their “For A Positive Future” Campaign, aiming to change the world “one message at a time” and foster diversity, equality, solidarity and positive mental health in the film/TV industries and beyond. You can find out more about the Campaign here.

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  • And while it’s usually our role to secure media placements for our clients, sometimes we’re asked to be featured as well! Recently our founder and head publicist, Lynnaire MacDonald, chatted with Dave Bullis on his podcast about marketing of indie films and more. Click here to listen to the episode.

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  • And finally, our brand new services pamphlet is here! It contains all the information you need that is available here on the website, but in a PDF that you can take with you and read anywhere. You can download the pamphlet here.

Don’t forget, we absolutely love connecting with filmmakers, media and film fans around the world! You can catch up with us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.You can also connect with our founder, Lynnaire, via LinkedIn.

Film Sprites PR: 2016 In Review

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It’s been a whirlwind of a year here at Film Sprites PR and we’ve had the pleasure of assisting so many wonderful filmmakers with publicity and digital marketing of their films at various stages of production. That being said, we want to take a look back at what the year was like for us. Grab a cuppa, sit back and find out what we got up to in 2016.

The year started for us with Life Off Grid, a Canadian documentary which explored the lives of Canadians who had chosen to build their lives around renewable energy. The film had a very special advanced screening at Academy Cinemas in Auckland, followed by a Q&A session with producer Phillip Vannini. Prior to the film we held a press junket so media could have a chat with Phillip.  You can read a great review of the film over at Cinemaddicts NZ.

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In February we rolled up our sleeves to assist with the Kickstarter for D.R Hood’s feature film THIS FAMILY. THIS FAMILY is the second feature film for writer/director D.R Hood, whose first feature Wreckers made its UK debut at the BFI London International Film Festival 2011, where it was nominated for best British debut. It would go on to win the Perspectives award at Moscow IFF 2012. Wreckers starred Shaun Evans, Benedict Cumberbatch and Claire Foy. THIS FAMILY is currently in post-production and we’re tremendously excited about the future of the film. You can read an interview with D.R Hood over at the Turnabout Media website.

Speaking of crowdfunding campaigns, we also assisted Fall of the House Productions with their IndieGoGo campaign for Medusa’s Kitchen, the fourth short film in their Northern Line Series. The series is based around modern re-tellings of Greek myths and legends set along London’s Northern Line stations. It’s such a tremendously fun series and it was a delight to be able to help the team raise 101% at their crowdfunding campaign! You can see the first three films in the series here.

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Very recently we also had the great privilege of assisting young filmmaker Daphne Fischer with the Kickstarter for her short film Enough. We began providing digital marketing assistance for the campaign only 5 days away from the end of the campaign and by the end of the campaign the target of $6000 had not only been reached but a further $945 was raised. Enough aims to shed a light on the issues women face in regards to eating disorders and body image, so we were pleased to be able to assist a young female filmmaker to gain the funds she needed to make this story come to life.

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We have also had the great privilege of working with filmmakers we’ve worked with previously, continuing a great ongoing relationship where we could provide them with publicity and digital marketing of their films. We assisted Mad Shelley Films with the freeview month of their award-winning short film The Halloween Girl, and we are currently working on publicity and digital marketing for their up-coming limited series, Under The Flowers, which will debut January 15, 2017.

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We’ve also continued providing ongoing digital marketing and publicity for writer/filmmaker Oliver Park. His first short film, Vicious, continues to be a fan favourite and was even featured in this Buzzfeed article, 16 Terrifying Horror Movies You Can Watch in 20 Minutes or Less. His second short, STILL, has been on the film festival circuit this year, so watch this space for its public release in 2017!

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It was also great to provide digital marketing assistance to Adam Nelson’s short film Emotional Motor Unit. The film has been doing wonderfully at film festivals and has received glowing reviews.

Sometimes when it came to liaising with the media, it was us on the receiving end of interviews! This year Head Sprite Lynnaire was interviewed by Cinemaddicts NZ, Write Out of LA and the Young Women Entrepreneur’s Club. There are two new podcast interviews in the pipeline coming very soon.

2017 is going to be our third year of operation, and our biggest year yet. You can read about how we’re working to assist even more filmmakers in 2017 here.

A massive thank you to the media we connect with, the filmmakers we have the privilege of working with and supporting, as well as friends, family and supporters. We absolutely couldn’t do this without any of you and for that we’re grateful!

Film Sprites PR will be on summer vacation from December 14 2016 until January 14 2017.

What 2016 Taught Me (And How It’s Changing Things At Film Sprites PR)

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Ahhh 2016. For so many people it’s been a Pandora’s Box of…well…hideousness.

At Film Sprites PR it’s been a mixed bag but I’m pleased to say it hasn’t been horrible. In fact, it’s been a very enjoyable year with lots of learning, progress and the ability to assist filmmakers with publicity and digital marketing of films around the world.

I don’t often write deeply personal posts, but today I make the exception.

Watching world events unfolding this year led me to some massive lightning bulb moments, all of which seemingly occurred in one straight week.

Firstly, I was inspired by the momentum and passion of the #NoDAPL movement.

Then, I was deeply moved when I saw the Tragically Hip lead singer and advocate for First Nations People in Canada being honored for his work around the impact of residential schools (you can see the film portion of his Secret Path project here).

Then, Film Sprites PR assisted a young female filmmaker called Daphne Fischer with the tail-end of her Kickstarter for her short film, Enough. The film aims to shed a light on the impact of eating disorders and body issues on young women. When I watched the pitch video and the accompanying shorts (one, an interview with young women about body image and the other a social experiment with Daphne herself), I knew we had to help. By the time the campaign finished yesterday it had not only reached the $6000 goal but had also received an additional $945 in funding.

So how did these things culminate in lightning bulb moments for me?

Firstly, I had been seemingly treading water for a very long time. As much as I love what we do here at Film Sprites PR, I was itching to make even more of an impact and make even more of a difference. Thus, in addition to all of the genre films we assist with publicity and digital marketing services, we’re also looking to have more of a social impact by also assisting the wide spectrum of projects I talked about in a previous post. Part of the reason is that connection is at the heart of what we do here at Film Sprites PR, and so connecting filmmakers with these types of content to a wider audience that will support them is a huge privilege. One of the things I discovered whilst assisting with the Enough Kickstarter (albeit for a short time) was that social impact films encourage people to share their experiences. It helps create a wider dialogue around an issue or a subject. It moves people to a purpose.

Many of you will know that I am a particularly outspoken advocate when it comes to ending the stigma around mental illness. Post-earthquake I had a very rough time with PTSD and since then I have chosen to speak out about it to show others that recovery is possible and that there’s nothing to be ashamed of. And Daphne Fischer herself experienced a 6 year battle with an eating disorder and chose to be open about it and channel that experience into making a short film that will hopefully have great impact.

Our lives are built around stories and experiences, and I wanted to be sure that Film Sprites PR assisted even more filmmakers with their own unique stories, viewpoints and experiences.

2017 is going to be the biggest year yet at Film Sprites PR, and I’m excited to see what happens!

Film Sprites PR will be closed from Dec 14, 2016 until January 14, 2017 for our Holiday break.

How We’re Working to Support Even More Filmmakers in 2017

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2017 is going to be our biggest year ever at Film Sprites PR and we’re looking to make even more of an impact.

In particular we’re keen to help support:
-LGBTQ content and filmmakers
-female filmmakers, screenwriters and cinematographers
-films which promote a diverse range of viewpoints and perspectives
-films which pass the Bechdel and DuVernay Tests
-films which aim to dispel the stigmas around mental illness and help to promote mental health awareness.

We believe in connecting filmmakers to media and audiences in an authentic and heartfelt way, and we’ve been so inspired by the various filmmakers we’ve had the pleasure of working with that we want to be of service to even more filmmakers and their stories in 2017. As a filmmaker, you know the power of your story. We know that too. Film Sprites PR was built on the power of film and the capacity it has to inspire, uplift, educate and provoke thought and discussion. We wouldn’t exist without the magic of film.

If you’re releasing a film in 2017, let’s chat about how Film Sprites PR can assist you with publicity and digital marketing of your film. We’re here to champion your film, grow an audience that will champion you as much as we do, and secure media placements that will ensure your film is seen and loved.

Download a copy of our information and services pamphlet HERE.

Award-Winning Horror Short “The Halloween Girl” Free To View In October

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Halloween is almost upon us, but Mad Shelley Films is bringing horror fans a treat for the whole of October: their award-winning film The Halloween Girl is free to view on Vimeo and YouTube from October 1.

The Halloween Girl won a Gold Remi at the 49th annual Worldfest-Houston International Film Festival, and an Award of Merit in the Best Shorts Competition 2015 . The film was also a semi-finalist at Shiver 2016 and an official selection at the LA Independent Film Festival Awards in January 2016.
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Synopsis: Ten years after her tragic death on Halloween night, Charlotte begins to reappear to her mother, Marie, in a series of nightmares – or are they? Only adding to her distress is the news that her young son, Luke, now has a mysterious teenage friend he calls ‘The Halloween Girl’ – and her name is Charlotte. Has Charlotte really returned – and is Marie’s dark secret now in danger of being revealed…?

For more details, follow Mad Shelley Films on Twitter and like them on Facebook.