Filmmaking – The more you do, the more you do


The more you do, the more you do
Gustavo The Great, Angeles National Forest, 2011

A great friend of mine, who is also an accountant, reminds me regularly of the importance, as I am essentially a freelancer, of cultivating and maintaining multiple income streams. She is right of course, and while I would like to have a larger multiple of streams of income than I have at present, it also got me thinking about multiple streams of creativity.

More fun, less money!

Right now I am a little run off my feet, with a couple of writing outlets to maintain, a feature screenplay project in full swing with two other writers, a short film to complete shooting, one to begin pre-production on and a recently acquired partnership in film co-op group to submit ideas to, as well as a family and too many animals to look after, oh and I am working on my MA, phew, long sentence!

But the upside of all this mayhem is that it seems as if the more creatively busy I am the more creative I become. The busy seems to stimulate the juices, so to speak.

So the more you do, the more you do, if you know what I mean.

I suppose this may not work for everyone, but creative people usually thrive under pressure and sometimes pressure is exactly what is needed to kick ourselves up the bum, take a chance and really get out there.

Believe me I know well enough how daunting it can seem when everyone else is up to something and you are not, but remember that’s mostly because they just get on with it. As Woody Allen says, “eighty percent of success is showing up.”

As a very, very independent filmmaker getting busy can mean a myriad of things. Writing, location scouting, which I do constantly whilst running around taking part in life in general. You could be watching movies, or “researching” as I remind my kids I am doing when I am parked in front to the TV. You can read about filmmaking, watch interviews with filmmakers, always an invaluable source of inspiration, and there are a million ways to busy oneself online of course.

But the most valuable ways to involve and include yourself in the independent filmmaking world is not only to do it, to make something, but to actually put it out there and tell people about it.

We all like to make something for ourselves, but you will learn a lot form including a “viewer” in the equation. If only to panic less and less when someone sees something you have done. After all a film is not like a painting in the attic, it certainly won’t keep us young a beautiful hiding away from the world!

I had a great meeting today with a very wise and much younger filmmaker who I am collaborating with on a project. we talked about how people talk a lot about what they want to do, but rarely do it, and what a shame that is. But it’s just human nature, there are dreamers and there are doers.

The trick is, I think, to be a dreamer that ‘does.’

Right now there are in production several TV shows specifically designed to inspire independent filmmakers like you and me.

Project Green Light, the reboot whose submission deadline is next week.

The Pursuit of Truth, a documentary filmmaking reality show.

The Chair, pitting two directors against each other with the same script.

I know these shows may seem a farfetched way of working, and you are probably right, but they will at least make interesting viewing and you can always learn from someone else’s mistakes!

It’s also going to be interesting to see how a little money can help or hinder a filmmaker’s vision.

There are also many filmmaking sights/coops encouraging you to submit your ideas etc. My current favorite is Juntoboxfilms, mostly because they keep tweeting my articles…but also because they support, inform, guide and eventually actually produce independent filmmakers, just like us. You should check out their website, it’s really interesting.

All this programming, all these short films, long form shorts films, web series, indie features sizzle reels, filmed pitches – whatever you want to call them, they shouldn’t discourage you from your goal of filmmaking.

Right now it feels like 15 years ago in the music business. Everyone has a laptop and a studio in their living room and can make an album/movie.

But we all know that just because you can and have, doesn’t mean everyone should. Many terrible dance tracks have taught us this, if nothing else!

All this ‘noise’ should tell you one thing, that what you have is all the more special, all the more real. And ‘real’ is ‘truth’ and ‘truth’ is ‘authentic’ and ‘authentic is what touches people and that’s what we all want in the end, to touch people, even just a little.

So bring something to the conversation, add something new to something old.

Make your film, and make your mark and take a chance.

For as the very wise and very wonderful Mr. Mike Nichols once said…

“The only safe thing is to take a chance.”