You didn’t get the acceptance notice you wanted? Now what? Sheri Candler offers four tips for the rejectee though some of these may be good to think about while you’re in development.

Your film didn’t get into the A-level fests so far?

With Sundance, Berlin and SXSW having already been announced — or come and gone — for 2013, there are some disappointed filmmakers grappling with an official rejection and its impact on the life of their films. Not getting into a major festival is certainly not the end of the world, but being unprepared for anything except acceptance really can be the end if filmmakers haven’t planned and budgeted for the lack of a conventional distribution deal. Because it isn’t smart just to play the festival circuit and hope for a deal, here are a few tips filmmakers can use to take control of the future of your film release.

Improve your film through test screenings. I don’t think people do these enough, and with their target audience, not just their friends, family and crew. In fact, when someone tells me they have done everything they can to build an audience and the film is just not getting traction, I tell them to take another look at the film and test it in front of an audience that doesn’t have a stake in its success. Nothing else I say to do in the rest of this post will work if the film is weak. Make sure it is the best it can be.’

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