How budding filmmakers can make a name for themselves

The film industry can be notoriously difficult to break into and budding filmmakers often find it very tough to kick-start their career and get their work noticed.

The good news is that there are a number of avenues that budding filmmakers can take to get experience and get their work out there.

Producing a short film

Filmmakers need to be making films, even short ones, and many famous names got their careers started doing just that, including the likes of George Lucas, Martin Scorsese and Wes Anderson, so any aspiring moviemaker should consider doing the same.

Making a short film allows filmmakers to gain experience in any position they want, including director, writer, actor, editor and even cinematographer.

In fact, it is almost inevitable that a filmmaker making their first short film will have to wear several different hats during the course of the production, and putting together a short film between 10 and 15 minutes will provide an understanding of many of the different aspects that make up the filmmaking process.

Write

One of the most productive things that a budding filmmaker, such as Nicholas Otto-Bernstein, can do while waiting for their big break is to write a screenplay of their own.

This not only ensures that your creative juices continue to flow, but also allows you to explore an aspect of the filmmaking process that you may otherwise never venture into.

Networking

There is never a bad time to be meeting and networking with fellow filmmakers all over the world.

Filmmakers who are trying to find other people to collaborate with on their next project, get a little bit of freelance work on the side, or get in touch with experienced people in the industry can do so via a number of superb online platforms.

Networking is of crucial importance to all filmmakers and most filmmaking jobs arise from set meetings with people who then recommend others in future productions.

It is also important to remember to always be nice to people as those who are unpleasant or disagreeable will eventually find it a struggle to find work, so it is best not to burn bridges.

The industry may seem enormous, but it is surprisingly small in many ways, and a poor reputation can have serious long-term consequences.

Freelance work

There are a number of different ways that a budding filmmaker can go about finding freelance work, including by writing, filming stock footage videos, filming music videos, editing promotional material and making visual effects.

Freelance workers are the very backbone of the filmmaking industry, with everyone from actors to writers, cinematographers, directors and PAs normally being hired on a project-by-project basis.

This proposition can be frustrating or exciting, but it is the way that the industry works, thereby making it very important to become familiar with the system.

Upskilling

The process of filmmaking is a complicated one that requires a number of different capabilities and skill sets, so all budding filmmakers need to make sure that they have various strings to their bow.

A breadth of knowledge and the ability to be flexible are crucial, so filmmakers should make sure that they have writing skills and knowledge of the likes of Photoshop or After Effects.

It is important for filmmakers to focus on the type of filmmaker they want to become and come up with ways through which they could achieve those goals.

Do not be a solo act

Filmmaking is not a hobby like writing or painting that can be done on your own.

While it may not be impossible to deal with all of the duties involved with filmmaking solo, it will almost certainly be an incredibly frustrating experience and result in work that is less than stellar.

Even with independent productions that have a budget of less than zero, it is far more productive to find people with the same passions as you.

Experience is less important than enthusiasm and commitment, and the more people are on board, the more you will learn, as well as the more fun the entire experience will end up being.

Be patient

Being a professional filmmaker takes time and effort, and may entail spending time in camera jobs or as a low-end runner before you are able to make it into more senior positions, though you will be ahead of the game if you attend film school and have recognizable qualifications.

Lucky breaks can happen but should not be relied on, and it is more important to keep focused on honing your talents and ensuring that you put in the hours to allow opportunities to arise more naturally.

Filmmaking success cannot be guaranteed by following any one particular path. However, making use of best practices will ensure that the journey is less strenuous and increase your chances of success.

Huynh Nguyen

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