A filmmaker is also a leader. Your film will succeed or fail based on the strength of your team. And while it is great to know a little bit about a lot, it is impossible that you will be good in everything. Your goal as a filmmaker is to gain clarity on your strengths and understand your weaknesses. You must have the confidence to strengthen your weaknesses with talented collaborators.
Like you, I come from a small town. And when I first started telling people that I wanted to make movies, many looked at me like I was crazy. Nobody knew anybody from Hollywood. Hollywood felt like an impenetrable kingdom. When you come from this type of background, it is easy to believe that you will never make it as a filmmaker.
To make matters worse, I had no money. I mean, I had a job selling garbage disposals that helped me pay bills. But doing that job made me feel like Hollywood was a gazillion miles away. To fight my depression, I spent most nights bowling, drinking beer and getting fat. And my dreams of making movies were beginning to fade.
All of this changed when I realized there was a bunch of small market video companies in my hometown. While not making the next Hollywood blockbuster, these people videotaped weddings, industrial videos and television commercials. I thought that type of work might be better than selling garbage disposals. So I picked up the yellow pages and started calling these production houses. Out of the ten calls, all of the production companies rejected me, except one.
They gave me a job fetching coffee and scrubbing toilets. At least it was something.
In the months to follow, I met a bunch of people who shared similar passion. I found out my town had a small filmmaker community. And these creative folks got together on the weekends and made backyard indies. So I started helping out on these projects. From there, I got to know more people – Which helped me create my own team of trusted collaborators.
(This eventually led to my first job in New York City – You can read the rest of my filmmaking story here.)
Create Your Team
Once you create a team, your next goal is to test your team on short projects. Completing short movies with your team allows you to determine whom you can work with and whom you cannot. While there is a time for disagreement and heated debate, it is never during production.
How To Grow Your Filmmaking Network
- Give before you expect to receive. The universe works this way. I don’t question it.
- Be honest in all dealings.
- If you say you will be there, show up early. Being on-time is late.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for advice.
- If you don’t ask for favors, you don’t get favors.
The way people collaborate on a short film is telling. If somebody does or says something that goes against your values on a short project, they will repeat this behavior on bigger projects. Make sure you surround yourself with good people. Life (and filmmaking) is too short to spend with idiots. Work with people who play nice in the sandbox. Otherwise your chances of success are diminished.
If you would like to find out some tips on how to network and meet rich people, my film financing package might be worth the research. It is designed specifically to show how to grow your filmmaking network.