As a young filmmaker it’s not just the business you have to worry about when working on your project, but the rest of the world as well. Many things will get in your way including yourself. These 11 tips will help you set a strong foundation.
1) Filmmaking is a business.
So make it your business to know how it works. Knowledge is power. Google is your new best friend. Absorb everything you can by subscribe to newsletters, reading articles and attending events.
2) Show and tell is for children.
You may be young but don’t act like it. No one needs to know your age or how much you’ve accomplished to be their boss. People respect seeing the talent not hearing about it. Believe me they already did their research.
3) Know the budget.
And never forget it! Ask yourself, “Do I really need helicopters?” There is always a cheaper way! There is almost nothing worse than going over budget, so keep an eye on it and you'll avoid unnecessary headaches.
4) Don’t let them see you sweat!
Veterans you may get the chance to work with will always test you. Don’t be intimidated, they are working with you for a reason, remember that. Listen, but it’s your decision not theirs. The best filmmakers have a vision and are able to take advice without compromising their work.
5) Everything will be against you, so get ready to fight!
Don’t expect the world to stop turning because you are making a film. Between your personal life and career advances, not to mention the time allotted to shoot the movie, there will be tons of surprises. Instead of not thinking about them, be prepared for them. Have plans B and C for everything. Not just for the film but for your personal life as well.
6) The audience will never notice that fancy shot.
As a young filmmaker we are so caught up in the shots. The audience only cares about the story. Shoot the story first and think about the fancy shots second. Just because you envisioned it one way doesn’t mean that’s the only way. Roll with the punches. You lost a location, oh well, envision the scene somewhere else you have access to. People appreciate a quick thinker and problem solver.
7) Think about marketing the entire time.
It’s wonderful when Mum calls you and says she can’t wait to see your movie. But let’s be real...Mum was always going to watch it. Set your sights on the world. Yesterday is already too late to build a fan base. Social media is a great place to start - building a presence during the filmmaking process so that when you release you have an audience who have come on the journey with you.
8) Be nice, honest, punctual and dependable!
Believe it or not people respect a nice person more than a feared one. Be honest with people about everything (of course on a need to know basis). Be the first one there and last to leave. 15 minutes early is on time. Be dependable, not a flake.
9) Work harder than anyone else!
You’re there to work not take selfies. Leave that to everyone else. You need to always be "ON" and make sure that things are in motion. You should not have down time. If you do, I guarantee you right now there is something that is in disarray that will affect you later in the shoot. That said, delegate to those you trust; they're part of your team for a reason, so don't drown in the minutiae if you don't have to.
10) Get out of your own way!
Don’t overthink things, don’t be dramatic, and don’t give up. Understand that no matter how much you plan things won’t go your way. Don’t become married to anything in the script. Allow yourself to collaborate with the individuals you’ve hired. We all see things differently. Utilise the hundreds of eyes you’ve hired to make sure you’re seeing things clearly. Leave your personal life in the car. The set is not a place for the leader to fraternise, gossip or freakout. If you hire your friends make sure they understand that when you’re on set you’re no longer their friend, you’re their boss.
11) Keep the end goal in mind and enjoy yourself.
Whilst it's important to remain professional, that doesn't mean you shouldn't enjoy yourself. You're doing something you love, right? Let your passion shine through and inspire those around you. In everything you do, every decision you make and curveball you dodge remember what the final product will be, so you can remain focused and not get lost down the rabbit hole.
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