I was reading a post over at Buffoonery Workshops and stumbled across an article about actors treating themselves as a business. I think the same can be applied to directors/filmmakers.
Once you know what you want to do, do it.
School is the time for experimenting. Shorts can be an experiment. But once you are out reality needs to sink in. Why make a cool horror movie if you want to make romantic comedies? Focus your energy to what you want, not what you think would be cool. Doing something for the sake of “cool” has backfired on many a person I know including myself.
Above all else ask yourself these questions:
Is it interesting? Would I want to watch this?
And the one that gets overlooked the most:
Is this a (your name here) story?
I’m not saying that branching out and doing different genres is a hindrance. Education is great. Learning is essential. But when you are actively trying to build a career you have to start weighing up what will benefit you the most (unless you have sugar daddy parents, then do whatever you want). Get really good at one thing, not twenty.
Period. Don’t stop. Some people will reach a certain level and scorn those they consider beneath them when it comes to collaborating. You never know who is going to be the successful one in the group and you never know if you will be seeing all those same people on the way down.
Just be a good person. Pretty solid life advice.
Some people I know are completely embarrassed of their old work, myself included. However, I always like to be reminded of it. It reminds me I am not invincible, nor my ideas. Watching younger filmmakers I can say, “I remember when I was at that level. Wow, it won’t be that long till ___ grows to where I am now,” or even “I better get my s*** together because they are going to be/ are better than me in these areas already!”
Stay humble folks. We are privileged to do what we do.
As my good friend Jemma Jones would say, “Get it together!”
There can be no better advice than to take care of yourself. Once you are in LA you will be actively seeking work to stay afloat. Are you ready for that? Do you have enough money saved up? When you are working 12+ hour days AND looking for your next job can you honestly say that you will have time to sit down and write or the money to direct something? If yes, then by all means go. However, if you are still refining your craft then keep creating and saving. Put yourself in an optimum position rather than playing catch-up.
Don’t confuse commitment with recklessness.
When I was thinking about moving to LA this summer I asked myself about all the subjects above. I postponed it for a year in order to write three screenplays and to make another good short or two for my reel. I don’t want to work up the ladder and be presented an opportunity only for the question “What else you got?” to come out of someone’s mouth.
In everything you do or prepare to do always ask the question:
“Is this world-class?”
This includes the way you treat yourself and your life. Value it.
Article link to Acting as a Business: