Luck plays a huge role in the success of any filmmaker. Whether we like to admit it or not.
No matter how hard you work, how talented you may be, how consistent you are – the element of luck always plays a part.
It’s why some extremely talented filmmakers go their whole careers without breaking through, and why those with less ability or work ethic still land major film and tv projects.
That’s not to say that hard work and artistic talent don’t matter – of course they do. But there are many talented filmmakers out there, equally deserving of success.
Luck is almost always the defining factor between those who cut through the noise and those who don’t.
Thankfully, we can increase our odds of luck by taking action in the right areas. Here are a few ways to do so:
- Consistently put out work
- Give other people opportunities
- Share your knowledge & story publicly
Luck tends to find you when you do these sorts of things.
Let’s briefly expand below:
Consistently put out work
If you are not creating new work on a regular basis, you are not creating an effective surface area for luck to find you.
Luck is about being in the right place at the right time.
It’s about your DIY film getting into the hands of the right festival programmer who you met at an event you almost didn’t go to. Or striking a deal with a distributor you met through an actor you cast last minute on your movie.
You can’t plan for serendipity, but you can increase the odds when you are hyper-consistent with your creative work.
Luck doesn’t find you when you are thinking about making a film and not taking action. It comes after you’ve already willed your projects into existence.
Generating activity (by creating your own work) can’t help but result in an expanded network, new relationships, and more opportunities that you wouldn’t have otherwise had.
This is where luck is born.
Give other people opportunities
Filmmakers can be very self-interested, especially early in their careers. It’s all about me and what I can do and how much talent I have.
But over time, you realize filmmaking is really about everyone else. It’s about the relationships that you build and the collaborations that emerge organically over time.
Many of the best creative jobs (or even commercial projects) that I have landed over the years were a result of giving, not taking.
They were referrals from a cast member or new opportunities shared by a crew member.
They didn’t come because I asked someone for a favor, or cold-emailed a producer asking for a handout.
It’s never about forcing relationships through networking events or emails. It’s about creating opportunities for others, so they are in a position to support you too.
Share your knowledge & story publicly
A huge factor in finding luck is just being visible. That’s really half the battle.
It’s why (as we’ve gone over) you need to consistently put out work, and create new projects to give people opportunities. Both of those actions increase visibility.
But you can really throw fuel on the fire when you share your story in a public way.
For me, it’s my blog, podcast and newsletter. By sharing my journey as a filmmaker for many years now, I’ve been fortunate to meet so many incredible people in the business – many of whom are my closest collaborators to this day.
Not everyone needs to produce content like I do, though. There are many ways to share your story and generate awareness.
You could set up interviews on podcasts, work with a PR rep, write a book, teach a workshop, speak at an event.
The options are endless. And it really doesn’t matter how you do it.
As long as the approach suits your personality, you will attract likeminded people and put yourself on the right path for luck.
So in short:
Make films, and be highly consistent with them.
Use those films to create opportunities and new relationships.
Share what you’ve learned publicly, and let the right people find you.
When you’re ready, here are 3 ways I can help you:
1. Make a feature film today: The No-Budget Feature Film Blueprint
2. Build your network and sharpen your craft in our community: The Backlot
3. Color grade & polish your footage with my post-production tools on: Cinecolor