Everyone Has A Movie Idea: Why So Few Filmmakers Break Into Features

Recently I shared this thought on building a career as a filmmaker:

  • Everyone has good ideas
  • Very few turn their ideas into films
  • Even fewer make more than one film

It’s critical for every working filmmaker today to understand each of these realities.

Everyone has a brilliant concept

The only thing worse than having no idea of what story you want to tell, is having one you are so in love with that you’re afraid to make it.

Unfortunately this is common practice for many filmmakers.

I’ve met countless filmmakers who have come up with a great story concept, but never executed it because they were too enamored with their own material.

For them, the idea was SO good, that no form of execution (short of a full blown Hollywood production), was good enough.

So rather than develop the idea into a fully realized film – a tangible piece of art that could benefit them – they let it exist purely in the conceptual realm.

Putting any idea up on a pedestal is a recipe for incomplete work and unfinished projects.

Most filmmakers aren’t making films

The vast majority of filmmakers today are not actively producing their own scripted material.

Almost always, this lack of creative output is a result of being too precious, and inevitably leads to procrastination / failure to take real action on projects.

It’s always easier (and more fun) to dream about making a film than to actually make one. 

But there is no getting ahead in filmmaking without creating original material. To break through to this stage, we all need to:

A) Have a unique willingness to scale our big ideas down, or:
B) Develop concepts from scratch with DIY tactics in mind

Many filmmakers get stuck at this stage. Either not wanting to sacrifice their vision (when adapting a bigger concept), or not being willing to write something new on a micro-budget level.

Almost no one makes more than one feature

The vast majority of feature filmmakers only ever make one feature. Very few make a second or third.

In that respect, the most important asset to any filmmaker is not a single film project – it is their collective body of work.

This is especially true for those who want to make higher budget projects down the line. Investors, producers, and other key collaborators are looking for one thing: Consistency.

It’s much easier to attract financing and production support when you are a filmmaker with a track record of making and finishing things.

So if you take anything away from this article, it should be this:

Your body of work is your true north.

The more films you make, the better you get as a director. And the more you stand out to those who can make a difference in your career.

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About Author

Noam Kroll is an award-winning Los Angeles based filmmaker, and the founder of the boutique production house, Creative Rebellion. His work can be seen at international film festivals, on network television, and in various publications across the globe. Follow Noam on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for more content like this!

1 Comment

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