I spent the better part of a year-and-a-half making my first short film. I, along with the dedicated cast and crew, devoted hundreds of hours of our lives, unpaid but always inspired, making what we believed to be a worthwhile piece of storytelling. Then came many days, weeks, months of editing, rebooting, composing, pacing, creating... and at long last: A movie was born!
Being a proud father I eagerly researched and submitted to many film festivals, eagerly awaiting word, but first the screeners had to arrive in the festivals' hands. This is where I foolishly, naively placed my trust in the United States Postal Service. Their gallant and timeless mantra touting the braving of elements and nightfall has become more of an empty subterfuge to mask their apparent incompetence and inexcusable arrogance.
My recent experience dealing with the US Postal Service has been nothing short of depressing as more than a few of my film festival submission screeners have gone missing in transit! Despite acquiring "tracking" for "delivery confirmation", some of my submission screeners have never reached their destinations, due to clerical errors, delivery confirmations never being updated, and... well, no US Postal Service employee can seem to give me ANY explanation for ANY of these mishaps and mistakes. "I have no more information, sir" and, "the package will flip-flop for a while until it gets to where it's supposed to be" have been the only salves offered to ease the frustration and depression swirling around my head because of these undelivered representatives of my hard work and burgeoning dreams.
Needless to say, online screeners (via Without A Box and Vimeo) and UPS are my submission routes from now on. I had to send a screener to the Foyle Film Festival in Londonderry, North Ireland. The married couple who run the local UPS suggested I try the Post Office since to send it via UPS would be very expensive. Taking their self-effacing advice I went to the Post Office and the shipping was going to be a lot less, less than half the price at UPS. But soon enough we got hung up due to the Post Office's inability to find the correct county in the UK to ship to. So I headed back to UPS and they encountered the same difficulty, but that is where the similarities ended. After several phone calls the immensely helpful owners tracked down the director of the film festival and confirmed a delivery method! A few days later my screener arrived! These people wanted to help me and they did.
It is no wonder that the US Postal Service is hemorrhaging tens of millions of dollars, constantly raising stamp prices to compensate for the lost business due to competent competition and imminent technology, considering that as a business the US Postal Service is a sinking ship manned with mostly somnambulist meat-bags doing as little as the government lets them get away with and collecting their pay... from us!
It is sad to see people like the ones I've dealt with, directly and indirectly, at the US Postal Service, people who don't care that what they do and don't do greatly affect those who trust in them to ferry their cherished hopes and dreams. Their indifference, incompetence, and arrogance only make my decision to spend my money, a lot more money, elsewhere all the more easy.
A word of advice from a fellow filmmaker: When you're shipping your dreams out into the world, trust those who have the self-respect to pursue their own dreams through their own businesses to help you. They are accountable to us, the clients. The government is a busted dream full of lost souls, only seeing the customers as distant reflections of their own resentments. I already made a movie about that, I'm not interested in being a part of the infinite sequels!