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Things I’ve Learned as a Moviemaker

Things I’ve Learned as a Moviemaker

Articles - Cinematography

It’s not the means or the money, it’s the passion
and ideas.

If you look at the biggest indie breakouts
over the past decade, they were all films done on shoestring
budgets with passion and
vision. And if you reach back to Cassavetes—and even further back
to the European neo-realist and New Wave movements—you see films
that were poor on production budget and rich with texture, authenticity,
ideas, insight and cinematic mastery.

It’s not who you know, but who cares about what you care about.

You’ll get support at every juncture of the
filmmaking process if you have a point of view about film and
the world that those
of like minds can rally around. You can "network" all
you want and meet "connected" people, but they are useless
to you if you are not useful to them. And then you are serving
them instead of yourself.

Educate yourself and have something to say.

These two notions go hand in hand. Of course
educate yourself technically and artistically about filmmaking.
Absolutely. However,
also educate yourself about the world. Develop a point of view.
And with that, learn how other creatives have expressed their points
of view—not just cinematically, but in other artistic disciplines.

Inform your cinematic communication with a broad palette of creative
alternatives and life experiences. This is the fastest way
to get the world to stand up and take notice of you as a filmmaker.
Standing out from the crowd may be lonely at first, but it is the
surest way to develop an audience for you as a filmmaker.

Budget for the entire filmmaking process.

Especially if you are a beginning filmmaker, don’t just budget
through production. Budget for marketing the film at festivals
and to distributors and even minimal theatrical distribution and/or
DVD self-distribution in case no one picks it up. The point of
making film is for it to be seen by audiences. It is insane that
filmmakers have never included the exhibition part of the filmmaking
process in their budgets and just hoped that someone would pick
it up. This is not sound business strategy and needs to be changed
now at the filmmaker level. This will change the face of distribution
in ways that are unimaginable right now.

Forget the industry. Just make great films.

Don’t waste your time looking for them. They will come to you,
trust me. Then you can decide what, or what not, to do with them.

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