The Film Business

Rule #1: Don’t Be a Jerk

Photo by Perry French

Acting like a pretentious auteur is not going to get you far in the film industry. Okay maybe you can act like a douchebag if you’re the king of the world like James Cameron, but chances are you are not him. If you are a first time filmmaker and you present yourself as an entitled prick, you will lose friends fast.

Indie film in particular, but film in general is a business of relationships. This is often why you see the same actors work with the same directors, or director/producer partnerships that last for years. People are comfortable working with what they know to be familiar to them and with people that are positive influences in their lives and careers. If you make an ass of yourself on and off the set people will not want to work with you on future projects. Just because you are the director on a production doesn’t make you any more or less valuable than the PA who’s running around fetching coffee for everyone. Filmmaking is a collaborative effort and it takes everyone doing their job well to pull off a great shoot. As much as you think you’re treading new water as an indie film director, and that what you are doing is a visionary achievement in filmmaking, chances are you aren’t, and it isn’t. You have your entire career to be the next Hitchcock, but for now you should just try to be the next Uwe Boll and get your movie financed, made, and seen.

Make your presence known in the community in a positive way. Attend and lead workshops. Go to festivals and support other fimmaker’s projects even if you don’t have a film there. Retweet and repost things for people on Twitter and your Facebook profile, and write blog posts about what other people are doing. Work on other people’s sets or offer to help with their promotional efforts and learn from their successes. Every time you help someone else it builds your cachet as an asset in the industry. If will be good practice for you in your own career as well.

Doing other people’s jobs on set can be a great learning experience and offer great insight as you direct your own crew on your own sets. It is often recommended for first-time directors to take an acting class so they can understand the process that many actors and actresses go through in their roles. It certainly couldn’t hurt to do any of these things right? It can be a humbling experience as well.

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1 Comment
   Denny Mac said on November 18, 2011 at 7:54 pm

Also, don’t film sideways…

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