You've spent months, maybe even years pouring your soul into a project and you've entered it into film festivals and maybe even to a few agencies and production companies. After weeks (sometimes months) of anxiously waiting, you finally get your answer in the mail: No. All you can see is the word 'NO' and nothing else. Sometimes the word 'no' blocks our ability to see the whole picture.
One observation I notice about our society is that we are constantly surrounded by a culture that convinces us that fame happens quickly and when it doesn't happen when we want it to, we feel frustrated and want to give up. Here are some tips that I share with my other friends who are artists and that I use as a reference for myself when I feel like my work isn't going to land in the right hands.
1. Take the word 'no' and turn it into a positive. The industry is tough and the word 'no' is my motivation.
2. Surround yourself around positive people. It's bad enough when you have to deal with rejections and it certainly doesn't help when you constantly have people tell you 'what you can't do' or 'that's impossible.' Sometimes we get these words from family members or friends.
3. Believe in your work. Sometimes deals will fall through with that producer or that director. It's one thing if you find a group who are passionate about your project, but when it balls down to it in the end, you must believe in your project.
4. Make a list of why you do what you do (act, write, direct, produce,etc). When I get discouraged I usually write down a list of why I became a writer/filmmaker and the importance of showing my work to the rest of the world and what excites me about being a writer. After I make this list, I tape it visibly somewhere in my room where I can see it first thing in the morning and when I go to sleep at night.
5. Read about people who influence your work. I love reading the biographies of filmmakers and writers whose works that I admire. Reading about their struggles and how they were able to get their projects made despite the odds, gives me hope.
6. Be open to constructive criticrism. As artists, we tend to heavily guard our work like they're our children and want to protect them. Constructive criticism sometimes opens our eyes to what others pick up that we don't see and this is an opportunity for us to see how our potential audience views our work. Granted, you'll have some people who'll give comments that seem way out of left field, but really it depends on what you want to take away from the comments. Some comments you just have to take like a grain of salt.
http://www.raindance.co.uk/site/ - I've found that this website offers very valuable tips on improving your work. They even have a film festival.
http://www.shootingpeople.org/- originally started in the UK, but expanded to the US with branches in New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. They have events and screenings and sometimes workshops. If you're a little wary about promoting your project on youtube, you can also upload your video to their site.