There is so much noise out there about what it takes to be a working filmmaker.
Everyone has a book you need to read, an event you have to attend, or a movie you should be studying.
There’s nothing wrong with any of that. Except that it very often serves as a distraction from what actually matters…
Doing the work.
If I had to give one piece of advice to any aspiring filmmaker it would be this: Work on your craft every single day.
It may sound overly simplistic, but it is truly the only thing that matters. Everything good that you could ever experience in your career is on the other side of making your art.
Many filmmakers spend the majority of their time dreaming about making something, but never actually working toward it. They have overthought it so much, that when they finally embark on a new project they are faced with a sense of dread and avoidance.
They try to cram a year’s worth of work into a weekend and fall flat. Or worse – find themselves mentally stuck and unable to even begin at all.
This is always the result of far too much input, and nowhere near enough output.
I wish more filmmakers understood that getting ahead as a filmmaker doesn’t have to be that convoluted. It just requires a small (but consistent) commitment to the work, sustained over time.
At the beginning, that commitment can (and probably should) be minimal. A few minutes a day might be all it takes.
It’s no different than exercise.
People have turned their lives around by committing to walking around the block for 10 minutes every morning. A habit that is easy to start, but inevitably leads to more substantial change (and more complex workouts) over time.
The same goes for your filmmaking efforts. Committing just 5 minutes daily can be all it takes to ignite the next phase of your career.
A 5 minute session at the top of the day keeps your project top of mind even while you are out at work. The next day, 5 minutes turns into 20 without you even realizing it. And before long, you are spending an hour or two every day working on your movie.
Inevitably, over time your efforts attract the people, things, and resources that your project needs. It happens organically, without being forced.
It’s the result of focusing on the one thing within your control – the work.
For the past few years, I’ve set an intention to spend time every single day writing, shooting, or editing. Whether it’s for 10 minutes or 10 hours, it doesn’t matter. I just don’t want a day to go by where I lose creative momentum.
Doing this has led to the creation of multiple films, attracted producers and financiers, and has tee’d up a larger budget production in the new year.
But it never would have happened if I didn’t make the conscious decision to create more than I consume. And to work on my art every day, even when there was no real momentum or logical reason to do so.
So by all means – study films, attend events, email producing partners – do all the things everyone typically advises.
Just don’t do them at the expense of your art. If you have time to watch a film or go to a networking event, you have time to write pages. It just becomes a matter of priority.
This week, I challenge everyone who isn’t currently working on a project to commit just 5 minutes a day to their next film.
You might spend those 5 minutes thinking, writing, drawing, listening to music, or whatever else is going to move you another inch forward.
However you spend that time, I guarantee when you look back at the end of the week you’ll be amazed at what a big difference such small steps can make.
Try it out and let me know how it goes 🙂
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