Money and Fame and Very, Very Independent Film

Money and Fame and Very, Very Independent Film

As stalwart as I am in my belief of the ‘art’ of filmmaking, I can’t pretend that I don’t sometimes fantasize about huge budgets and awards and, yes, money.

But seriously, as I reminded myself just the other day while I was furiously balancing my checkbook, if you want to have loads or even some money, then don’t work in the arts.

For that is what we are doing after all, art. So it goes without saying that large, or even small amounts of money are harder to come by than if we were say, dentists, not that there is anything wrong with dentists. I actually know one who spends his spare time making films.

So what to do…

I was asked by a young, budding filmmaker just the other day about how they should go about getting attention, making ‘buzz’ networking and the like and my answer was this:

“You had better be bloody sure that what you have is ready for all that.”

In retrospect, I was perhaps a little terse, but only for their own good.

What I really meant to say was spend less time worrying about increasing your ‘followers’ and more, much, much more time working on being excellent at what you do.

If your films are wonderful, honest, gorgeous and unique to who you are then all the rest of it and yes, even money, will follow.

Do you think Andy Warhol worried about money when he…well maybe he is not the best example.

I truly believe that you have to totally submerge yourself in what you do. Spend every last minute you have on it. Lock yourself away, become a hermit, be the most obsessed person you know with whatever it is you are working on and only emerge when, and this is key, you can emerge triumphant…or at least with something actually completed.

Once you are ready to share what you have made, that funny wonderful short, that brilliant and disturbing feature or whatever. Once it’s time to send it out into the world then you can put all your energy into marketing and ‘buzz’ and all that jazz.

What creative energy you have must go into the film. I have tried to do both, concocting clever and elaborate or funny and simple ways to promote and get ‘fans’ etc., while the project is in every other form than finished. For me, it just becomes a huge distraction and, worse, it can actually begin to have an impact of the story. If we had them do this or that here or there then we could get some great PR out of it…oh, who cares!!

In the end, your film must be a part of your soul, or your heart or your essence to be good, so unless an emoji turnip is the perfect interpretation of that then my advice is to steer clear of the whole thing until the time is nigh/

Lord knows I’m the laziest at self-promotion, I would rather clean the house and that’s saying something. If you know me you will understand this reference very clearly. But I do understand the need for it, of course I do, but at the very, very independent end of the magical world of film, with limited resources, stamina and creative energy, the most important thing is the film itself. Once it’s finished then you can hire your cousin who’s just graduated with a degree in social media to make you famous and get you loads of money…simple!

Samantha Simmonds-Ronceros
Author: Samantha Simmonds-Ronceros

Samantha Simmonds-Ronceros is a British writer and filmmaker living In Los Angeles.