3 Reasons You Will Fail In Filmmaking (Avoid The Excuses)

Do you want to know the top 3 reasons you will fail at filmmaking? Or better yet, would you like to know how to avoid the excuses and become a filmmaking success? If so, you’re in the right place.

Every week I share my filmmaking thoughts in a newsletter broadcast to over 10,000 filmmakers. And if you’re serious about filmmaking, my newsletter offers tips and tactics on how to get your movie made, seen and sold without waiting around and asking permission.

(I can’t stand asking for permission to make movies.)

With that said, whenever I do an email blast, I get a lot of responses from filmmakers. And while most of these responses are positive – I also get a lot of email from filmmakers telling me why they can’t make a movie. These responses are full of limiting excuses.

And in our short time together, I’d like to help you avoid these.

3 Reasons You Will Fail In Filmmaking

Photo © olly / Dollar Photo Club

3 Reasons You Will Fail In Filmmaking (Avoid The Excuses)

In order to save you the trouble, I thought I would take a moment to echo the top 3 reasons you will fail as a filmmaker.

Excuse #1 “I Don’t Have The Money

I get this one. This was my excuse for almost a decade. Then I got smart. I started hanging out with other filmmakers and instead of focusing on what we lacked, we started focusing on the things we had. One question changed everything: “Given the resources that we have right now, what is the movie we can make this year?” Answering this question enabled us to produce our first feature.

And this was before crowdfunding. Do you understand how crowdfunding changes everything?

Excuse #2 “I Don’t Have The Equipment”

A decade ago, I saved up an entire summer and bought a used Arri BL 16mm camera and a few rolls of 16mm film. I then spent a weekend shooting my first short. After that, I spent the entire fall and winter saving up enough money to process the film, transfer it to video and then edit it.

These days, you can get an inexpensive movie camera for a few hundred dollars that will produce footage without the fuss of film. The days of saving all summer to capture footage are over.

Excuse #3 I Don’t Know Anybody In The Movie Industry”

This is probably the excuse that makes me the most concerned for your future. Do you realize that you don’t need to know anybody in the movie industry? At least not yet. For your first few features, forget about Hollywood. Instead focus on building your audience.

Utilize crowdfunding to raise money and test your movie concept. Build your mailing list. Then tap into internet movie distribution. Seriously, does it matter how your movie gets into iTunes?

The truth is, everybody starts at the same place. You get an idea for a project. You get an idea for the person you want to become. You wonder if you are crazy. Then your friends and family make fun of you. But you decide to take action anyway. You pick up a pen and paper and make a check list of how to make your movie.

A big reason filmmakers fail at filmmaking is because many believe the excuses. But not you. You are smarter and more creative and capable of making movies.

The question is – will you take action?

Or will you sit around coming up with excuses why you can’t make your movie?


  1. Stacy Cox says

    I have been reading all of the content on this site, and I love it all. I will admit that I have been procrastinating for years. Now, I have a finished screenplay, and I am more than ready for the next step. I don’t have any excuses, and I won’t allow myself to have any excuses. But my only question is, is my project too far fetched? This will be my first feature film. I will categorize it as a Horror, Action, Thriller, Suspense. It is very in depth and will definitely not get made this year. This I know for sure because it is a very high-packed film and will need a lot of time and planning. The kind of film that will need the help and assistance of some professional people. Even though this will be an independent film, the purpose is not to be a cheap backyard experiment. I don’t expect it to have a theatrical release, but I do expect the highest quality as possible. My mental vision of the movie won’t settle for a cheap backyard experiment.

  2. ramsy says

    Money is a huge problem. I don’t know where to start but have super awesome true story.

  3. Jeffrey says

    Jason, I recommend the Glengary Glenross monologue by Alec Balwin for people who write you with doubtful emails. Film making is for closers.

  4. yosra says

    thank you for your article, you give me the important reason that make me inactive to make a short film.
    so i`ll start to do my first film that i wrote after 2 week ISALLAH.
    :) :)

  5. says

    Thanks for this article Jason.
    I agree that you don’t have to know someone to get started but you do need money. I still believe, no money, no movie. Several years ago, I bought a cheap consumer-level camcorder and started making short films and posting them on youTube. I recorded parades, free events, and piano recitals. I did this because I didn’t know how to use a camcorder so the short films gave me a way to practice using it. I also wrote my first screenplay – 90 pages. I would like to turn it into a movie -specifically an anminated film but that costs money. I got a laptop, actors willing to work for free, and the script has a copyright but I just need money for the software. Once I find that, I can proceed.

  6. Vinod Kumar Rawat says

    Thank you so much Jason for the articles. Whenever I feel disappointed, I find that you have already mentioned and given solutions to it. I had planned to go into the field of “fiction writing” and when one day some film maker will realize that a film can be made on my story, then I would get my first film. After going through your articles, at least I have cut short one decade :) Where my friends and other team members have focused on making more “short films,” it took everyone by surprise when I announced that I will go for a full length movie. I asked a director that I want to get my movie title registered and when I was told that I should have at least a budget of Rupees 25 lacs (approx. Rs 50=1$). So, my friends and I started drafting a story with zero budget, the locations we have, the actors we can get. Cheers.

  7. says

    Your articles are so helpful to those of us getting started in filmmaking, Jason. I love this one. It’s so true. As the saying goes, if you really want to do something, you find a way, if don’t really want to do it, you may excuses. I’m happy to report that I shot my first short this fall. It’s in postproduction and I will have a final cut in a few weeks Was it easy? No. Was it worth all the effort? Without a doubt! Thanks, Jason.

  8. says

    Thanks so much for your articles. They are very helpful funny and inspiring.
    I am wondering right now if it is best to take my pilot show and self distribute online or try and get picked up by a network. Seems both have their advantages but at least going independent you are in control of what happens. Any thoughts? I am not scared of the hours and work it is going to take. I just want it to amount to something as time goes by.

  9. Justin Newcomb says

    Hi Jason,

    I just stumbled upon your site this evening looking for tips on marketing a short film. I really enjoyed your excuses article because it’s relatable to almost all walks/jobs in life. I think people give in to easily and have know some very talented individuals as well. I just wanted to let you know that I look forward to following you on a regular basis. I appreciate all that you do for those of us who need your help. I hope you have a great year and thanks again.



  10. Ty says

    Seriously just got so down on myself that I just googled, “people fail at film making.” You nailed it, especially the family thing. Thanks for the encouragement!

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