How To Stand Out As a Filmmaker In The Most Saturated Market Of All Time

In the last year…

17,000+ films were submitted to Sundance.

100,000+ new films were produced or released.

1,000,000+ filmmakers actively worked on original material.

And in the next few years these numbers will only grow exponentially.

Most filmmakers ignore the realities of how saturated the market has become. They put everything into a single film, submit it to a festival, and convince themselves it will break through.

That may have been a plausible strategy 20 years ago. But it certainly is not today.

It’s never been more important to stand out. 

Some understand this, at least in principle. But many look for solutions in the wrong areas, or assume their approach is more unique than it really is.

Making an amazing (and highly original) film is a prerequisite for success. But that’s just the starting point.

From my perspective, these are the variables that matter most:

  • Executing films with your original voice
  • Making multiple films, consistently over time
  • Building wide awareness for yourself as a filmmaker

This is the ultimate trifecta.

It begins with making a film that only you can make. One that can’t help but stand out, and is unlike anything that has come before, with no regard for current styles or trends.

But it can’t end there. One film is not enough. True success comes from a body of work that represents you as an artist with staying power.

And if you are able to build awareness for yourself – through audience building, social media, podcasting, YouTube, or another method – luck will start to find you.

The more self sufficient you become, and the less you rely on gatekeepers, the easier it will be to land financing, get programmed, or achieve whatever end goal you are after.

All of this, simply because you’ve made a concerted effort to stand out.

Imagine 2 – 3 years down the line…

You’ve consistently made films in a style that only you can execute. And you’ve built a fanbase for your work that all but ensures you will always have a creative outlet.

This has made you rely less on contests and festivals and gatekeepers, while ironically making them more reliant on you.

You’ve built a model you can sustain. And while it’s not always be easy, the rewards make it worth every ounce of effort.

So let’s all be original – not only in our work, but also in how we operate.

It’s the best chance of rising up above the noise.

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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

  • Cas127

    I understand that the 17,000 annual submissions to Sundance number might come from Sundance itself…but I was wondering if you have a particular source for that 100k+ films *produced* each year number.

    Since even micro-filmmaking is a costly endeavor ($10-$20k+ that might otherwise go to eating or being housed…) that 100k figure surprises me a bit. Even the 17k applications to Sundance number might include films produced across multiple years…

    That said, I really appreciate your numerical/analytical takes on film-making, because it highlights *just how much work* is required to get anything done, while simultaneously pointing up key ways to make the process a little easier.


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