6 handy tips for aspiring filmmakers

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Filmmakers must have several skills at their disposal. In fact, filmmakers should be seen not only as creatives, but also as entrepreneurs and businessmen.

use what is available to you

This tip applies to material items available, your own knowledge/history and your skills as a filmmaker.

For example, you might hear about a film competition starting tomorrow. But you might not have the time to gather all the resources you would ideally want for your project. However, you may be able to make the scenery around you work for your project. This way you can show your ingenuity to everyone who will see your film.

Plus, if you grew up in rural Arkansas, you could easily make a great movie about that experience. Not many other filmmakers will be able to capture this accurately.

use media as much as possible

If you want to be the best, you have to study the best. Weird, You’ll Probably Never Make a Movie As Iconic citizen Kane, But you should still study such incredible movies so that you can learn the nuances of the best movies. Plus, watching and studying these films critically will allow you to see how much thought, effort, and skill goes into making a great film.

Additionally, you’ll want to read and listen to as many different media formats as possible. Audiobooks, podcasts and paperback books contain a wealth of information that can be used by filmmakers and all creatives.

The best part is that you can consume any genre of media and remove some of the good and bad aspects. For example, you might read a Stephen King novel and note some story elements that you might have done differently. Then, you can watch the movie based on the book (Stephen King is probably the best person to use for this crossover) and see how the filmmakers brought the story to life. He has to make some choices to make the film work on the screen instead of the page.

Podcasts and audiobooks (both fiction and nonfiction) can be enjoyed even when you are doing some other unrelated work. Multi-tasking can maximize the time you spend learning the craft.

develop an entrepreneurial drive

As an aspiring filmmaker, you are very much focused on making a great product. You want to find the best shots, cast the best actors and make the movie you’ve always had in your mind.

All those things are absolutely vital for filmmakers of all skill and experience levels. However, you also need to make sure that you are treating your projects with an entrepreneurial spirit. You should strive to build relationships with all the big names across the industry so that you can get your foot in the door.

Perhaps you already know this, but this entrepreneurial mindset will have to persist for the rest of your career. You can never start giving half-hearted effort or you will lose your audience and your supporters just as quickly as you gained them.

never stop learning

Early in his career, boxer Mike Tyson was known to film his opponents for hours before every match. He soon became one of the most skilled and powerful boxers out there. But Tyson knew that if he relaxed and rested on his laurels, he’d fall flat on his back (incidentally, that’s what happened later in his career).

Filmmaking is no different. If you get too comfortable with your skill set and don’t continue to learn new techniques throughout your career, your projects will suffer.

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respect all

This tip (See Number) comes from iconic director Spike Lee.

When you’re making a film, you’ll need to work with large groups of actors and get permission to use certain locations. If you’re rude and arrogant as you go through this process, you’ll quickly find that the actors won’t want to work with you and the property owners won’t let you back.

For this reason, you should always respect everyone involved in a film production project, no matter how small or big the role they play.

Think Like a Business Person

As stated in the preface, filmmaking should be seen as both a creative pursuit and an opportunity to earn money. In the end, as much as we all don’t want to admit it, money makes the world go round.

Odds are, you’ll need to convince several people to invest in your project. In some cases and for certain subjects, you can receive charitable investments from people who believe in your mission. But most of the time, the people who have contributed to your project want a significant return on their investment.

For this reason, you need to learn business and negotiation skills. You should spend some time learning how to talk to investors and persuade them to believe in your project. You will not get great success in every single project of yours. But you should go ahead with each one believing that you’re working on the next Star Wars (or whatever famous, high-grossing movie you love).

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Most important: never give up

I’m sorry if this sounds harsh, but you’re going to fail. And, you are going to fail again and again. You will have critics who will totally influence your film. Plus, people who can comment on you that will prompt you to reconsider your passion.

So what?

Don’t let this negativity get to you. If you really love filmmaking and want to make something that the masses will love, you are going to face rejection. And you’re about to feel like a failure. But never mind: never give up on your dream.

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