The Biggest Filmmaking Mistake

The biggest filmmaking mistake I ever made was waiting for someone to give me permission to make my movie. It’s true.

After college, I spent a whole lot of time sending out resumes to production companies. I thought the only way I could be taken seriously as a filmmaker was to work for a major studio like Warner Brothers. Except, back then, I didn’t live in Los Angeles.

It was easy to make excuses. Nobody in my small, rural, farm filled hometown knew anybody in the movie industry. And every time I sent a resume to New York or Los Angeles, I was ignored. I could have quit…

My experience is like a lot of filmmakers. You have the passion to make movies, but you have no idea how to get started. You don’t have a camera. You don’t have a Hollywood network. You don’t have money.

These excuses will stop you if you let them.

These excuses almost stopped me. But one day, this guy Brian Tracy said: “You can have anything you want in life if you are willing to pay the price.”

I wasn’t sure what it meant to pay the price. Again, I didn’t have money. But what I had was time and the willingness to do whatever it took to get what I wanted. For me, that meant finding a local video production company. They didn’t have any availability. They were not looking to hire.  But that didn’t stop me…

I talked the owner into letting me work as the janitor. He hired me to scrub toilets and mop floors!

Many filmmakers would be insulted at the prospect. Many would pass up the job. But I saw it as opportunity. Cleaning the office got me in the room. And once in the room, I made friends with the production team. I started going on set and participating in productions. And months later, the owner of the company put me in touch with a former intern, turned New York producer. This producer hired me for my first job in New York.

From there, I made friends with a new production crew. Those connections led to an indie producer. I became his assistant and learned how to make movies. I learned how to stop asking permission. I learned how to make things happen. I stopped making excuses. And that made all the difference.

What is your excuse?

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