There comes a point in any craft were the artist hits a plateau and becomes unable to improve on their own. But if you’re just starting, it is best to focus on getting to that point. I’m not saying don’t get instruction, but I am saying don’t wait to start making your first movie now. The instruction you get will sink in faster if you already have experienced the process. The serious filmmaker must create opportunities to practice and to perform for the garage audience again and again.
Most of us are familiar with the phrase “wax on – wax off” from the movie Karate Kid. “Wax on-wax off” illustrates the power of learning through repetition.
Repetition is where muscle memory and skill is formed.
To get you started on the right track, these should be your 4 main goals in directing your first 3 movies:
- Find people with a similar level of interest you have.
- Get exposure to the infrastructure of film-making. Remember early in this post I said “we don’t know what we don’t know” and your first step is finding out what that is.
- Develop a track record. Others will respect your ability to get things done and the “How to Make a Movie” knowledge you’ve accumulated.
- Identify someone who will act as the producer on future projects. More than likely you produced your first movie but, if your desire is to do more directing, you’ll want to find a producer and the earlier the better.
Become or Find a Band Leader
Filmmaking is a collaborative effort and people love being involved, especially for the acting parts.
The less work someone needs to do the more interested they are in being involved. This goes double when it comes to preparation work. But, that’s ok just because they don’t want to work doesn’t mean they have nothing to offer.
My point is two-fold:
- Making your first film should be more fun than work. Lower your expectations for making a “great’ movie” and put more energy into making it a fun process.
- Do your best to help others move toward their own film-making goals and together you’ll grow.
Many people take a class or hire a coach, read books and blogs. These steps are inevitable and important, but it doesn’t replace process of practicing and making your own mistakes. For a filmmaker that means making films numerous short films. Most books and people who make films will tell you film-making takes a long time, it’s important to plan well. The military adage “Proper Prior Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance”. I agree 100%, but getting REALLY GOOD involves making mistakes. Fail fast learn what you did right and do it again.
Making your first movies fast and furious. Getting REALLY GOOD is not about about performance it’s about practice and many beginners never practice enough. They are paralyzed believing they need to make make a good film. You first three films don’t have to be “good”, they just need to be completed.