We’ve all been there. Stuck in between projects, or watching a friends film winning awards whilst yours can’t get above 50 views on Youtube. Or perhaps trying to raise funding for an amazing script you’ve spent three years writing – then re-writing it five more times before even thinking about the pitch. [Or, is that only me? – Ed]
If you can see yourself too , then the fine fellows over at Film Doctors have the correct prescription for your blues. They suggest there are five changes you need to make right now to remove harmful habits and attitudes that stand in the way of your filmmaking career.
1. Stop comparing your work to others
If you’re writing a family drama and a fellow screenwriter has also written a family drama, this doesn’t mean that these projects are necessarily in competition: your work is unique to you, your way of expressing ideas – your voice. How you tell your family drama is not going to be the same way someone else tells their family drama. You also don’t know whether the ‘competing’ project will be produced or reach a wide audience or not.
Stop trying to model your career path on someone else’s, even if it’s someone really successful. How they’ve got to where they are is not necessarily the route you need to take. Every success story is individual. Of course, you can (and should) be informed about other filmmakers’ success stories and what favourable factors came into play – but don’t let it rule your own journey.
2. Stop looking for the perfect first draft
The first draft of your screenplay is never meant to be perfect. It is meant to be the solid, excellent quality foundation, on which to grow your work. Same with the first cut of your film – you need to assemble something good to then make it better. Take the pressure off!
3. Stop waiting
To be discovered. To be appreciated. To be hired for that dream job. To get recognised as a brilliant writer/director/editor/cinematographer, etc. This is not going to happen. What’s going to happen is you will have to show the world what you’re capable of. You need to seek chances/employment/projects/people. Be proactive.
4. Stop being afraid
Of what could happen and what won’t happen. Of opportunities knocking on your door and the ones you might not come across. Stop worrying in advance. Stop trying to predict everything.
5. Stop making excuses
For anything. Ever. When there’s a will, there’s a way. How many of the things you list as obstacles are really in the way? How many things are really out of your control? So maybe, if you keep finding yourself in the same spot, chances are you are just creating excuses for not taking the plunge. Creative progress should come regardless of part time, full time or any time work, family, social commitments, etc. Charles Bukowski laid it out really well in his poem “Air and light and time and space”:
The poem by Bukowski is presented here in illustrated form by the talented Gaven Aung from ZenPencils who was also responsible for Stanley Kubrick Answers a Question which we looked at last week (we appreciate all of the hard work Gavin puts into his illustrations, so be sure to check out ZenPencils when you get the chance).
Feature image: Montreal filmmaker Jason Ambrus (source).