I see more and more of these ridiculous headlines appearing across respected filmmaking blogs and social media these days… 5 Simple Steps to Kick Ass in the Film Industry, or Tips on Breaking Into the Film Industry.
Now I often title my articles 5 Steps… or 5 Things… in relation to the basics of color management, or understanding exposure, or achieving a balanced primary color grade. It catches people’s attention. There are many things that can be broken down simply into understandable, repeatable steps.
However, there are no 5 Simple Steps to breaking into the film industry.
This industry will chew you up and spit out your bones… and that’s if you have the money and connections to get close to it. Be prepared to burn through both. It is complex, inhospitable, niche, elitist, egotistic and at times infuriating.
It is also intoxicatingly addictive, rewarding and fun, full of the most passionate, creative and interesting people you can imagine.
There are so many resources now telling you how to make a film, which is fantastic, but that’s the easy part. Knowing how to produce a film in theory is not going to result in a job or a career.
What you need above all is patience, tenacity, reptile thick skin and an unhealthy appetite for long hours, verbal and emotional abuse, and stress.
If that sounds like fun, you may well stand a chance.
Sure, completing a short film on any budget, zero or otherwise is a valid achievement, but it represents zero authority on any aspect of the bigger picture and near zero relevance to the business of producing (or attempting to produce) economically viable commercial films.
You have to keep making films, and then make more. You have to plug into the larger community and help others make their films. You have to be fearless, bounce back and learn from mistakes. It’s a long term, long haul proposition.
You have to create your own opportunities, and creating opportunity for yourself is all about surrounding yourself with the right people. It’s long-term networking, creating and nurturing relationships that you invest yourself in, so that they might pay off at some point for you in the future. You have to give in order to get.
It’s about passion, persistence and sacrifice.
There are no shortcuts.
If you’re clicking on every blog post that promises “5 Simple Steps” to making it, you’ve probably got no business in this business.
That’s the cold hard truth.
Here’s one that actually is worth reading:
The Six Things You Must Know to Make it in the Film Industry – Barbara Freedman Doyle | Indiewire