Stop asking permission to make your first feature… Or for that matter, any movie!
In Hollywood, power is measured by your ability to get a movie made. Most people don’t have the power to make movies. In fact, most people only have the power to say “NO!” And if you’re a filmmaker working to make your first feature, you’ve probably heard this word.
“NO, we don’t accept unsolicited submissions. No, we don’t work with first time filmmakers. No! We don’t think there is upside to helping you make your first feature. No, we will not fund your movie. Go back to Idaho.”
Stop Asking Permission And Make Your First Feature
You know what? I hate asking permission to make movies. Asking permission makes me feel like a little kid. I also hate getting rejected, especially if the person rejecting me is some mid-level executive with an impressive title but no movie credits.
There was a time when rejection from these people caused headaches and sleepless nights. But this changed when I worked alongside an independent producer in New York. There I discovered a secret that has forever changed my life. And if you never read anything else, here is the secret:
The Powerful never ask permission to create their world.
It’s true. When powerful people want to accomplish something, they do it. So if you want to be powerful, and make your first feature, you need to stop asking permission.
Powerful people never ask: “Will you read my screenplay,”
They say: “I’m producing a feature.”
If you’re working to make your first feature, your mindset is the number one thing that needs to change. If you think you can do it, you’ll find a way. If you think you can’t make your first feature, you’re right.
“Given the resources you have right now, what is the feature you can make this year?”
This little question forces you to think creatively. Answering it allowed me to get my first feature made. Unfortunately it took me several years to figure this out. Hopefully you can make your first feature in much less time than me.Going beyond this question, the big reason you may not make your first feature is fear. If you’re like most creative types, you’re afraid of failure. What if you make your first feature and you find out you don’t have talent? What then?
This sort of fear is based in fiction. The truth is, any movie you make this year will suck in ten years through the lens of your experience. So you may as well make your first feature… And besides, even if your movie fails miserably in festivals and never garners traditional distribution, there are still many outlets through video on demand distribution.
I believe success is possible for anyone smart enough to read this. And if Hollywood power is defined by your ability to make movies, then there is only one course of action: You need to make your movie now!
If you’re not ready to make your first feature, you can do something today. Shut off your computer and get your hands on a small camera-phone and start making short videos for YouTube. Focus on creating funny shorts that can take place in limited locations with few characters.
You’re welcome to get ambitious. This will help you find cost effective, creative ways to tell your story without money… That is precisely the point of this exercise. If you condition yourself to stretch dollars on the small scale and still create compelling stories, these skills will be invaluable on the big scale.
When it comes time to make your first feature, your objective is to start small, build your experience and find ways to create an internet following. If you can engage your audience successfully on the small scale you can do it on the BIG scale. Make your movie now!