How to get a press pass for a film festival as a blogger
Getting a press pass as a blogger is relatively simple, but if you’re new to the publishing game or your emails are a no man’s land of no replies, there are a number tricks you need to know about before approaching a film festival press team.
Finding the right contact
First up, you want to find who you should be contacting. It might seem obvious, but you’d be surprised at how many people send emails to the info@ addresses thinking they’ll get a reply.
You want to find the press team to help you with your request. Most film festival websites have a press contact on the contact details section, but if they don’t, simply give their number a call, explain you’re a writer who’s looking to get hold of a press pass, and ask who you should contact to do so. Most of the time you’ll get the email addy you’re looking for.
However, if you’re seeking press entry for a niche, new, or small-scale festival (or the person you called was a right unhelpful d-bag), social media is the way to go. Facebook message them, tweet them, slide into their Insta DMs – do whatever you can until you get an answer. Trust us, you will – they’ll want the publicity as much as you want the press pass.
Putting together the perfect pitch
Now you’ve got the right contact details, it’s time to get your pitch together. You want to make sure you add all of the details the film festival team needs so there’s not a relentless back-and-forth (which could result in you losing the pass). But your pitch is not going to be the same for every film festival and this works both ways depending on whether it’s a new or established blog you’re writing for or running.
Just remember that a film festival wants people to attend, it wants filmmakers to apply, and it wants publicity. With this in mind, you’re already halfway there.
However, you’ll need to add a few details to your email, including:
- A couple of sentences on why you’re interested in attending the event (it goes without saying that you should do your research beforehand)
- Your target audience
- Website or publication statistics*
- Links to previous coverage on the event**
- Links to a couple of your own stories (don’t go overboard – they don’t need your entire portfolio)
- What they will get in exchange for a press pass (stick to around one to three write-ups)
- Any additional details if you have them e.g. the SEO value, an offer to live stream the event, an offer to live tweet the event
*If you’re a relatively new blog and your stats are low, tell the organizers how you will promote the content on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and show them what value they’ll get from your coverage.
**Hopefully you’ve already covered this event or at least discussed it in one of your blog posts. If you haven’t, be sure to write up at least one post – whether it be a bit of news or a list of the lineup – to show the press team your enthusiasm for their event.
The sooner you send this email, the better. And if you still don’t get any replies after a week or show, simply call up the festival or DM them online and check that they got your request. Chase that shit up – chances are they just missed your email or they’re crazy busy. They’ve got a festival to organize, after all.
So you got a reply, the film festival has agreed to give you a pass, and you’re officially a member of the press. Well done – you can now go and buy one of those fedoras with a “press” label hanging out of it.
But before you do that, there will likely be a few detail forms to fill out, so be sure to send those back ASAP. You may also be asked to get a formal letter from your employer or some sort of proof of your position. The sooner you send these back, the sooner you’ll get your pass. Once you do, for f’s sake don’t lose it.
You can also send over more specifics on the write-ups if you haven’t already – word count, dates etc. If and when you do, be sure to stick to your deadlines once the film festival is done and dusted because if you do, chances are you’ll be invited back again next year.
That’s about all, folks – we hope you found this useful. Now off you trot to go get pitching to your favorite film festival. Good luck!
For more blog life tips, here’s how to pitch to editors and publications.