Heidi, where the F** have you been? (And what new jacked-up mistakes have you made?)

Answer: Hooray! I have a new blog! Thanks, Mark and Film Threat!

So much has happened since my last outing, all awesome horrifying learning experiences. Normally, I’ll be answering questions from readers here, but since this is my first day back, I’ll answer a question that my readers have probably been wondering. (Or at least I’m going to pretend like they’ve been dying to know the answer to this.)

Since my deserved “letting go” at Film Independent I have been doing three things:

  1. Looking for a new home for my blog,
  2. Finishing projects.
  3. Failing at both.

For those of you who followed my blog before, you already know that this is a place where you will find a humorous (hopefully) look at all the things I do wrong, see done wrong, and try to avoid doing as a filmmaker…All as a way to help you all to get your damn films made and sold and seen.

The goal is that eventually you’ll understand that even with all the mistakes you can make, it is always still possible to pick up the pieces.
(I mean right?) (No, really. It is, right?)

So to start things off for Film Threat, here is a list of things I’ve done wrong:
(Just in the last six months.)

  1. Wrote a spec script with a concept that had not only already been written, but had been shot and was about to be released. (Yep, I still do this too.)
  2. Neglected to follow up with various agents who seemed interested, because said script threw me for a loop.
  3. Didn’t get a new agent as a result. (Grr. I need a new agent.)
  4. Stopped trying to get a new agent because I was getting small amounts of work.
  5. Started a new spec script. (Fine, this still has a shot of not being a mistake.)
  6. Haven’t finished film I shot a year ago, still have to shoot the wrap-around.)
  7. Haven’t finished writing said wrap-around.
  8. Started new edition of the book, The Indie Film Rule Book.
  9. Nope, haven’t finished new edition of The Indie Film Rule Book.
  10. Applied to Slamdance.
  11. Did not get into Slamdance.
  12. I mention this because I work with Slamdance, have for over 10 years, and yes, they still turn me down and have many times. (And yep, I will still apply again.)
  13. Parenting. (My child tells me I’m doing this wrong.)
  14. Bitter and bratty, skipped going to Park City this year.
  15. Felt like an idiot for being bitter and bratty. (I still can’t quit you, Slamdance.)
  16. Took a gig writing pitch pages, but the gig continues months later.
  17. Took time off from blogging.
  18. Let all my events drift away. Film festivals stopped caring.
  19. Lost my readers.
  20. Started playing poker with Norm Golightly. Lost hundreds of dollars.
  21. Stopped working on getting into film festivals. Got lazy.
  22. Suddenly have a new blog and realize I barely have any events coming up this year. (Got cool indie events?)
  23. Turned 40. (So what if I couldn’t help it.)
  24. Was asked to do a punch-up on a friend’s mega-film, said yes.
  25. Am only half-way through punch-up. (Loser.)
  26. Turned 40. (Damn, still can’t help it.)

In summary: Yep, I’ve got some work to do. This blog should keep me honest.

Starting now, please send your indie film questions and I’ll answer them here anonymously.

Happy Spirit Awards!
And I’m so glad to be back!

Heidi Van Lier is a filmmaker living in Los Angeles. She has made three indie feature films, written hundreds of screenplays, won a couple awards, and juried at tons of film festivals. She is the author of the book The Indie Film Rule Book (available on, which is also a textbook at film schools. She has been a part of the selection committee for the Slamdance Film Festival for the last 12 years, and she continues to live her indie life like it’s going out of style. (Wait, is it actually going out of style?)

Posted on February 25, 2011 in Blogs, Indie Girl Q&A With Heidi Van Lier by

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  1. Mike Vlamis on Fri, 25th Feb 2011 1:01 pm 

    Hi Heidi, You may not remember me, I was a long time good friend of Norms here in Chicago. Last time I saw you was at Norms wake. I wanted to let you know that my son Michael is a student at Chapman University in Orange County and since injuries forced him to retire early from college baseball…he has taken up acting. He has a passion and strong desire to succeed in this field. He is a junior at Chapman and right now he is studying in Australia for the semester. He just finised a student produced film in LA (The Mighty Lou Kingston) and has done other short films and such. His web site is If there is any advice or guidance that you could give him it would be greatly appreciated. Please send my love and best wishes to Susan…and your sister. Thanks,

    Michael V. (V-man)

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  2. Heidi Van Lier on Fri, 25th Feb 2011 2:53 pm 

    Hey Mike! Feel free to facebook me, sweetie.

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  3. Phil Seneker on Thu, 3rd Mar 2011 11:16 am 

    Thanks Heidi! I feel better now. :)

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