Trailers and Festivals


I’ve been working on a solo animated short for a few years now with the intentions of putting it into any and all festivals that will take it when it’s complete. I’ve heard that showing your film online voids it from certain festivals (and up into things like awards/oscars). I’m curious about more information about this (as I know nothing about it). Can I show a certain amount online (a trailer) without hurting myself here? How much is too much? Is there a place I can go for more information?

Thanks for any info I can get!


I suggest that you inquire with the festivals. Understandably, festivals are commercial ventures too, and they don’t want to show “stale bread.” They want to be able to show exciting new material, and to be (more or less) "you saw it here first!"

As a rule of thumb, spend your efforts polishing your material. If it is actually good enough, it will sell.


Yes, and I don’t plan on putting my entire film out online, but just show some quick demo footage (less than what a trailer would be) to all the people emailing to see something from it. I’ll also be submitting to basically any and all festivals/awards worldwide (that will take me), so its hard to check with each and every one right now (with 2 years left to go on working on my film).I know I’ve heard people discuss those rules of what you can show prior to festivals, but I’m having a really hard time finding that info right now unfortunately.


sundialsvc4 is right - as a general rule, if your movie is available to watch for free online - or available to watch in its entirety at ALL online, why would someone pay to watch it in a festival? Save the airfare, hotel room, passes to the fest, and fire up your web browser!

Also, if you are hoping for someone to distribute your movie, you can’t either show it online, or sell ONE COPY anywhere - once it’s sold to people (say, for the sake of argument, you sold DVDs through your website), it’s “out there” and there’s no telling how many copies have been made. Which means their markets may already have copies - and why would they pay to get it from a distributor when they’ve either already got it, or can make copies on their own - get it?

If your goal is to show it and sell it yourself, do whatever you want. Fests would like it to be on the fest circuit first only, THEN you can do whatever you want. Distributors want to be the ONLY one who sells it.

While there are always exceptions that disprove the rule, stick with the general rules and you’ll cover your butt. Better safe than sorry.

Sounds like you only want to put up trailers on your site since you plan on going the fest route. Make a small handful of trailers and release them gradually - maybe 1 a month or so. Just don’t show too much - entice, don’t reveal.

Hope this helps-


I want to be clear that I’m not looking to put my film online (for one thing, it’s still 2 years until its done), I’m just looking to show some of my footage to the people that are interested or ones that maybe think my project is stalled out, which it definetly hasn’t! Just a few seconds to show what I’ve been working on for the last 4 years =)

While I don’t know that I have any chance at anything like an oscar, with this much time and energy invested in this project, I will be making an attempt at anything and everything I can get into. I’m just trying to be really sure that showing a few seconds of footage is ok before putting it up to ensure I dont void myself from things like that and higher end festivals.

But again, I’m only asking about putting seconds of footage up, not the entire film.


"But again, I’m only asking about putting seconds of footage up, not the entire film.

No - I get that - I do - just being clear about the whole set of generally accepted rules.

Show a few seconds - don’t show a few MINUTES - get the difference? Most people put up trailers - they just keep making new ones. This is perfectly accepted by all fests and distributors. Shows progress, some new shots - but doesn’t show too much.



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