Filmmaking Tip: How to make it in Hollywood.

The Lumiere brothers

Filmmakers with a strong vision for what they want can make it. Image via Wikipedia

Making movies is both awesome and incredibly challenging. And becoming a professional filmmaker requires a certain amount of dedication that is easy to talk about – but not always easy to live by.

In my filmmaking career, I’ve experienced heartache as well as the surreal, super exciting moments that come when people get to know me and my work. Making stories and building an audience that supports our work is the reason we do what we do.

But in order to get from point A to point B, it is essential that you create a clear and exciting vision for your filmmaking future… Because (believe me) you’ll need something exciting to focus on, should things get challenging…

… And as a filmmaker, things always get challenging.

I have known many people who started out their filmmaking careers with all the movie making passion, energy and enthusiasm in the world, only to drop their dreams at the first sign of trouble. Other friends have disappeared without ever making a movie. And one of my friends went crazy, stole a bunch of money from his filmmaking team and left town.

Why? Because creating a dream for yourself and paying the price, (no matter how hard) to realize your potential –  that’s the tough part.

I’m serious about this. Making a career making movies is a long term game. It won’t happen over night. In fact, success probably won’t find you on your first feature or your second feature film. So you have to get tough.

Here is a strategy worth applying to your own life: One of the mental attributes that all successful people share in common is a never ending ability to keep their eye on the prize. And if you’re looking for the secret formula for all your filmmaking success, it is this: patience plus unyielding persistence in a face of adversity will get you through a tough spot. NEVER give up!


Here is what separates the professional filmmaker from the horde of crybabies.  They have goals. And you should too. And I’m not just talking general stuff, like “Hey, I want to make movies and get rich and all the crap.” Who doesn’t (on some level) want the things that sort of lifestyle offers?

But what I’m asking you to do today, dear filmmaker is to set very specific goals for your filmmaking future.

What does your ideal future look like?

In order to create meaningful success in both your filmmaking career and your life, you MUST get a clear idea of what you want. This will involve not just setting goals for yourself, but actually taking out a pen and writing them down.

The following actions will help you hone in your movie ideas, your money ideas and also help you paint a picture of the wonderful life you want to live:


  1. Take out some paper and write down three ideas for movies you want to make in your lifetime.
  2. How much money would you like to have?
  3. How much money do you have now?
  4. What will you do to get the money you need?
  5. The people you hang out with will influence your success. Are you hanging out with people who share your vision? Or, are you hanging out with negative people?

After this, you’ll get a pretty good idea of where you are and where you want to go. From there, you can begin to take steps in your desired direction.

Here is an affiliate recommendation. A few years back, I stumbled upon the following audio program and even though it talks about general goal setting, I totally thought it was a great tool for helping me refine my own filmmaking goals: Master Strategies for Higher Achievement: Set Your Goals and Reach Them – Fast! (Your Coach in a Box)

I don’t know if I’m hitting a nerve with you or not. But long before I made my first money making movies, I can remember driving around my small home town dreaming of a time when I would not only have a few features under my belt, but I also dreamed of a time that I could share my experience with you.

If you find yourself faced with filmmaking self doubt, you’re not alone. The important part is that you at least get a picture of what you want that is very specific. Then you should take time to work backwards. And who knows, maybe a decade from now we will be working on movie projects together.

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