What Is It Like To Be An Independent Filmmaker In 2014?

A few days ago on Vimeo, I saw an awesome and inspiring short video called “Making Room” produced by The Music Bed.

It features the infamous UK-based cinematographer Philip Bloom and his journey to success as a freelancer. Building a career as a filmmaker has shown him that the greatest rewards in life come when you’re creating space for the relationships that matter most.

Here is the video I am talking about:

Making Room from The Music Bed on Vimeo.

In his post 10+ steps to becoming mega successful in video production and probably winning many awards whilst becoming super rich!! Philip Bloom shares his ideas on how to become a successful filmmaker. Here are some of the major points he makes based on his own experience:

  • The work will not come to you. Getting the big break while sitting around waiting is about as likely as winning the lottery.
  • Don’t be a snob. Very little is beneath you. Even though you shot some fancy short film on the Epic last week, if someone offers you a gig to film a corporate event then unless you are rolling in cash take it.
  • ALWAYS give every single job your everything.
  • Don’t do it all yourself, find a good team to work with.
  • You WILL fuck up. Guaranteed. Accept it. Fucking up whilst in a staff job is better since, unless it’s pretty serious, you will still have a job.
  • Love your job.
  • If you are not getting creative satisfaction out of the work that pays, your bread and butter, what is stopping you making something that fires you up in your own free time?
  • An expensive camera won’t make you a better cameraman.
  • Learn how to do EVERYTHING. Learn how to produce, to direct, to edit, to shoot, to do graphics etc .
  • If you really have no talent at all yet still enjoy shooting for fun, keep at it. Eventually you will get better, and if it makes YOU happy who gives a crap what the critics say?
  • Promote the crap out of yourself, make specs spots. Do people favours. Do anything you can (almost) to get the work.
  • Don’t listen to the trolls.
  • Never believe one opinion.
  • Do not give up if the work isn’t coming in when you start.
  • You NEVER stop learning.

There are many great stories of people like him who managed to succeed in a similar way. Most of them are very different, however there is a distinguishable pattern that is present each time in all cases. All of those people came to the point in life when they feel the necessity to step out of their comfort zone.


No matter if they were laid off or simply quit their day job, all of them have made a conscious decision to change their life and follow their dreams in that certain moment.

Here is another example this time from The American Dream Revised Docuseries that features Caleb and Jen Wojcik as they share how they became entrepreneurs and how they navigate the challenges of being married to a fellow business owner.

The transition is not an easy one though. You have to be prepared and be patient. There will always be ups and downs, bumpy roads and heavy winds. The life of a freelancer is a tough one, but very rewarding, if you work hard and never give up.

What is it like to be an independent filmmaker in 2014? Here is a great advice from Sheri Candler who is the Director of Digital Marketing Strategy for The Film Collaborative and also an independent consultant. 

I think breaking into the business means actually getting started on your own. Once you cross some milestones and see some success with your own efforts, you won’t need to break in, the business will come to you. I have seen this many times with films that have planned and started executing their own distribution paths. Once they book cinemas and start getting positive publicity and build up a sizable fan base on their own, suddenly calls from distributors who wouldn’t talk to them previously start coming in. Start making work on your own and if it is remarkable and you start building an audience and gaining some recognition, you will find it much easier to get help from the industry.

It’s obvious. The paradigm has shifted. Now, everyone can take control over the process of creating art from the beginning to the end. We’ve already talked about which medium is best for indie filmmakers in this post. There are no more objective obstacles that can stop you to succeed. Everything depends on your free will to take the leap and initiate the change.

We would like to hear your story. Feel free to share in the comments section below.

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