This is one of the most frequently asked questions and the main dilemma many contemporary filmmakers face at the beginning of their career. The answer may be rhetorical for many of us, but the reality is a little bit different. It’s more like Catch-22 type of situation, where you want to quit your 9 to 5 job and devote to things that you love doing, however, you quickly realize that there are bills waiting to be paid and leaving your job is not the best possible option at this very moment. So, what can you do then?
Well, a good practice in the first place is to look around and try to find other people who already have been in a similar situation, sharing and learning from their experience. At the end of the day, you are the only person who can make the right decision for yourself, and being prepared and well-informed is half of the job that needs to be done before you finally decide to make the switch.
Here is the inspiring story of the young American film producer, screenwriter, and director James Cullen Bressack, who shares his experience of quitting his job and finishing his debut feature film My Pure Joy.
We’ve already heard many familiar stories. However, one of the essential takeaways here is that filmmaking isn’t judged by how great filmmaker a person could be, yet a career in filmmaking is judged by the ability to persevere. Of course, you shouldn’t need to tattoo something on your knuckles to stay away from your 9 to 5 job.
It may sound deceptively simplistic, but everything you should do is being persistent in pursuing your goals and never giving up your dreams. So it is crucial to recognize, reward, and celebrate even the small accomplishments down the road. Set your goals, and don’t stop until you get there, step-by-step. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes as well.
Here is a fraction of the things that might go wrong at the beginning of your journey.
Filmmaking is a collaborative process, indeed. So, may be writing, directing, shooting, editing and color grading your debut film only by yourself aren’t a very good idea unless you are someone extraordinary talented people like Steven Soderbergh, Alfonso Cuaron or David Fincher, for instance.
Make sure you have a good story to tell, hire an experienced DP, find the best actors available, lit your scenes well, be extremely cautious with your sound, listen to what your crew tells you and trust yourself. Confidence and self-respect are as important as your love and dedication to filmmaking.
Ultimately, if you want to turn filmmaking into a full-time job, be prepared not only to shoot movies and promote the hell out of them, but it’s also important to be aware of the hard moments when you won’t be doing this for a particular period. It’s not always going to be as easy as it may seem, so make sure you prepare yourself for the ups and downs of this amazing journey.
[via Film Courage]