Every day I read dozens of new articles, blogs and tweets piling on to the mountain of advice on how to build a career as a filmmaker. Some of these posts have proven very valuable, some have spawn heated debates in the comment section, and others seem to beg the question as to why they were written at all. It’s a lot to sift through.
Given all this information on film making I think it is helpful to remind those that aspire to make a film, are currently making films or even those that have successfully made films to the point where driving their Bentleys off a Malibu cliff side is a weekly occurrence of one simple fact. You need to make the best film you can. Duh, right? I guess another way to put it is if you have an idea that you would like to spend years of your life getting made into a movie, you had better be clear with yourself as to the story you want to tell and how you want to tell it. This must be the driving force behind everything you do to subsequently get the film before audiences.
If you cannot do this you are setting yourself up for failure. Anyone can make a film, the trick is to make a good one. If you have a good project that you have a complete vision for it will help you tremendously in making the decisions to get it made. It will also help draw those who can help you get it made and made well into your fray. I truly believe that talent rises. Your work will be your best advocate, your best marketing tool. Never forget that.
Nobody wants to make bad movies and yet so many bad films get made. Hollywood tries to second-guess audiences or re-heats past successes but even after decades of experience they still make more flops than hits. As indie filmmakers we are just as susceptible to these trappings. If you think of all the greatest independent films what was the one thing they have in common? They are made by artists that were true to their vision. Artists that saw something new and exciting and fought for it. This is why independent film found an audience to embrace it and this is what me must continue to do.
There is no “right” way to make a film. When I was lucky enough to chat with filmmaker Gary King he shared the same sentiment and I instantly liked him for it. I love this philosophy, a more constructive take on William Goldman’s famous statement about Hollywood that “Nobody knows anything.” It is true. The final product is the only thing that matters and the only tool you truly have to get to that point is your idea and the will to do whatever you can to see it through to the finish. Depending on how you eventually decide to make your film, you will have to wear many hats. If you get too bogged down with all the other things that can occupy your time it is easy to lose sight of the original goal. If you spend too much time obsessing about technology or money or marketing or audience – although they are all important factors – the film will suffer.