Elliot’s 3 Bad Mistakes of 2014

elliot-groveNew Year’s resolutions are around the corner and with the downtime over the holidays a good time to pause and reflect.

2014 was in many ways a great year for me personally, and for my alter-ego Raindance Film Festival. The festival itself rocketed to new levels never seen before in terms of press, attendance and quality of films submitted and screened. The MOËT British Independent Film Awards were star studded and impressive in the last year under the care and guidance of out-going directors Tessa Collinson and Johanna Von Fischer. According to Google Analytics nearly 2.5 million people visited this website in tbe past year. Our Twitter and Facebook profiles have rocked up over 20,000 users each making Raindance the second largest social media platform in Europe (after the BFI).

With numbers like this you might ask how I could be anything other than over the moon at year end. I am over-the-moon. I’m also kicking myself that I made so many mistakes. Here’s the top 3 big mistakes.

1. Not believing in myself

Over-confidence is icky and annoying. It’s my paranoia that I could come across as cocky – something I hate in other people. Yet there were several times this year where I totally shot myself in the foot and didn’t step up to a very public place and believe in myself.

It all goes down to the fine art and craft of self-promotion. Here’s the big goof I made this year.

At the MOËT British Independent Film Awards I got up to introduce the Raindance Award in from of nearly 700 seated guests – the great and the good of the British film industry. Did I champion the fact that Raindance Film Festival had over 41% higher attendance, and bigger and better press coverage than at any time in it’s 22 year history? No, I didn’t. I trotted out the tired and worn tale of how the festival started with such humble beginnings and acted like I was almost unaware of the stature the festival now has. I didn’t do myself or the festival any favours. I annoyed and frustrated my team who had coached me before hand. Shucks. I’ll have to await an entirely new year to have another go!

2. Not thinking big

Damn I work hard. And sometimes I fall into the trap of feeling sorry for myself (a crime and a sin). The trouble is, I spend far too much time doing the urgent and not the important. and when I don’t do the important then I start thinking small.

Like today. We had a screening last night of the Postgraduate Film Degree students’ 48 Hour Film Challenge entries. There were some fab films screened, and students joined in from all over the world. The winning film was written in London, filmed by another student in Finland and edited in North Amercia. A truly wonderful and exciting collaborative project. Over 40 people turned up to watch the screening.

Instead of reflecting on the success and thinking about how to better and expand the programme, what did I do from 8am this morning? Empty the bins! Of course the bins need emptying. Had you rocked up this morning and seen me emptying the bins, I would really have appreciated a good quick and swift kick up the proverbial and told to get my eyes off the ground and look upward!

I started Raindance by thinking big. i wonder if I would be able to do that with the ‘empty bins’ mentallity I showed this morning?

3. Delegate

No one is an island and no one can go-it-alone. But how I messed up time and time again this year was by taking the weight of the world (in this case Raindance) on my shoulders without realising that for most jobs I am probably the very worst person to execute them. When will I ever learn?

For example, last week I was having an in house meeting with the festival team about the upcoming fetival and all the time lines. Suddenly i asked whether or not the call for film submissions had been organised. The festival’s producer calmly and patiently turned to face me and said ‘You don’t need to worry about this any more”. I tried to slip through a hole in the floor as I realised that i had already asked him to do this zonks ago, and by raising this again proved that I had no faith. Show faith and build morale and trust. Show no faith and destroy it.

Fade Out

These might seem to be trivial ‘bads’ in the scheme of things. For me they are catastrophic. Had I avoided these three bad mistakes, Raindance would be at a high

er plane than it is now.

With New Year’s Eve and the inevitable Resolutions about to be made, I will have lots to resolve!

Happy filmmaking

Elliot Grove





Elliot Grove

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