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.

Learn Filmmaking Without The Fluff

As a filmmaker, you may start your career learning how to fetch coffee.

As a filmmaker, one of your first jobs might be fetching coffee. Image via Wikipedia

When I was first starting my filmmaking career, I thought long and hard about the prospect of film school. At the time, I figured a degree from one of the top film schools would increase my odds of garnering success. Now, after having worked in the game for awhile, I can honestly tell you that very few people, if any, have asked me where I went to film school.

Here are 5 Filmmaking Tips So You Can Learn Filmmaking Without The Fluff:

  1. Your Film School Degree Will Collect Dust: Nobody cares where you went to school. They just care if you can contribute value to their professional lives and their movie projects. (By the way, I’m not saying you shouldn’t go to college. I’m just saying that unless you plan on becoming a film professor – get a degree in business.)
  2. Learn How To Sell: In the film business, people with sales skills can write their own ticket. Start learning how to sell.
  3. Your Material Rules: Control good material and you’ll have something to sell. What is good material? Great screenplays. Seriously most screenplays suck. If you’re confused about this one, refer back to #2
  4. Be Nice To Everyone: The PA fetching coffee today will control your job tomorrow. (Or one day, in addition to making movies, he might just own one of the most prolific filmmaking website in the world.)
  5. Don’t Ask Permission: I say this over and over, but many of you are still knocking on doors, hoping that somebody will discover you. Don’t do that. Unless you have GREAT MATERIAL, that everybody wants, chances are nobody cares about your movie project more than you.

Anyway – If you like these tips and want more of them, I am giving away my latest book for free. I do this because it helps you avoid all my silly filmmaking mistakes. And it helps me promote myself. To claim your free Filmmaking Book, go here:

If you like this filmmaking stuff, make sure you tell your friends that Los Angeles based indie producer, Jason Brubaker gives away some great filmmaking stuff!

Advice For Filmmakers who Want to Make Movies

Early in my filmmaking career, I made a lot of mistakes – Many of these mistakes are attributable to a real lack of advice from people with experience. The following video featuring Quentin Tarantino, offers great advice to new filmmakers looking for guidance. (And for those of us filmmakers who have produced a few features – This is still great advice!)

In addition to the filmmaking advice offered in the video, here are 5 things you can do today to accelerate your filmmaking career:

  1. Write down your filmmaking goals. What do you want to accomplish in 5 years? Be specific.
  2. Who do you know who knows someone working in the movie industry. How will you contact that person?
  3. Plan at least one short project you can do each month. Examples would be: music videos, short movies and action sequences.
  4. Set up a profile at YouTube. I believe YouTube will become a major outlet for your eventual feature films. You may as well start building a fan base now.
  5. Set up filmmaking page on FaceBook – And then join us at FILMMAKING STUFF FACEBOOK PAGE

Keep in mind the movie industry is changing. In the past – in order to create your own movie business you needed a gazillion dollars and a traditional distribution solution. But those days are almost behind us. You must now think of your movie making as a global business. You no longer need to ask permission to become successful.

If you want to make a movie, make it! Then build a life-long fan base that will enjoy and pay for your work.

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How To Find Investors For Your Movie

If you ever wondered how to get money to make your movie, you’re not alone. As filmmakers, many of us would rather focus on our filmmaking – And if we had it our way, we would save the go-get-movie-money for a producer.

Back when I started my filmmaking career, I crossed my fingers a lot, hoping that some producer would magically appear in my life, discover my  brilliant material and give me a million dollars to make my movie. Of course the reality is: you get nothing in life until stop allowing other people to give you permission.

In my situation, I did not know producers. I did not have money. And I didn’t know any rich people.  But I knew I wanted to make movies. And I knew I needed money.

Then later, as I expanded my network to include other filmmakers, my nagging question was always in the back of my mind. “How do I get the money to make my movie?”

While asking around, most people told me I needed to find a willing doctor or dentist and ask them for money. UGH! That was so frustrating. The reason? Because it’s old thinking. In the past, movies were a good tax shelter for wealthy self employed professions. Not so much anymore. (Of course I learned that the hard way!)

It wasn’t until I moved to New York City and worked with a producer when I finally learned how people REALLY finance their movies. I learned there is a well defined, systematic approach to getting money. And it doesn’t involve self employed dentists and doctors.

If you’re looking for movie money, here are some tips:

  1. Ask around and see if you have rich people in your network. Then meet them.
  2. People make money in different ways. As employees, self employed, big business owners and investors. Make sure you know how your prospective investor makes money. Then form your pitch accordingly.
  3. Despite popular thought, most prospective investors were not born rich. Many are self made. They value hard work. And they will be looking to see what you can do for them.

As you go out and build relationships with prospective movie investors, just remember – Your independent movie is YOUR business. Respect it accordingly.

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If you are wondering how to get money for your movie – Almost every resource will tell you that you need a business plan. Very few resources will tell you how to actually go out, find prospective investors, qualify them, contact them, get a meeting and build a relationship.

Since getting money for movies was such a frustrating experience for me, I spent the last few months creating: The Independent Producer’s Guide To Financing Your Movie. In it, YOU will gain valuable insider experience so you can avoid my past mistakes, find investors and make your movie. To learn more CLICK HERE

Filmmaking Training From a Mentor

Mentors are role models who take a vested interest in your success. Sometimes, you meet your mentor when least expected, and they will help guide your filmmaking career.

A mentor will provide insight and will often direct you toward a successful outcome. This doesn’t necessary mean your mentor will enter into a business relationship with you, but he or she may offer necessary encouragement, advice and influence which will help you get closer to your goal. Your mentor will be there to answer questions.

Have you ever heard the phrase: “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear?” Even though this sounds mystical, for me, finding a mentor has always happened without planning.

When I graduated college, one of my most influential mentors appeared in my life. After sending a resume and cover letter to every film and video company I could think of (and getting no response), I finally landed an interview with a guy named Joe Surges. Joe gave me my first job in the motion picture industry.

It didn’t pay very well, but Joe was willing to teach me everything he knew. He coached me through the easy times and pushed me through the tough times with unrelenting encouragement. When I planned my move to New York City, Joe made some phone calls.

Joe connected me with a friend who then connected me to another friend who offered me my first job.

Later, I was working on a feature. When our project completely fell apart, I found myself stuck in New York with no money and rising bills. I thought it was the end of my movie making world. Heck, I even thought it was the end of my apartment. But at that time, it was Joe who told me to quit complaining and get back to work.

His advice was the best.

Then, a year later, prior to his passing, Joe told me something that’s been rolling over and over in my mind ever since. He said, “You never know which ripple will hit the shore first.”

Since that time, whenever I’m hit with a new challenge, I play those words over and over in my mind. And through this practice, I’ve conditioned myself to find the opportunity in every obstacle.

While Joe taught me a lot about writing, directing and producing, it was his values, his life standard and his expectations which influenced me to create a higher standard in everything I do.

If it wasn’t for Joe’s mentoring, I would have never gone to NYC, would have never made a movie and would have never fell on my financial face—and recovered. Consequently, I would have never made the move to California, produced features or written these words.

Mentors have been there. They reach out and help you grow as a person. And I believe mentors are essential for our success.