As a filmmaker, taking action is everything. But sometimes this is easy to say, but tough to execute. Over the past two weeks, I have been getting a bunch of emails from Hollywood hopefuls who want to make movies or write screenplays or do something. But for some reason – (insert idiotic excuse here) – these people think they need an agent or someone to give them permission.
One goal at filmmaking stuff is to remind you the whole point of independent filmmaking involves being a rebel. You don’t have to ask anybody for permission. You just need to do the WORK.
Top Filmmaking Excuses and How To Avoid Them
Many moviemakers incorrectly think that their ideas are enough to garner attention… That they don’t have to do the work. That Hollywood is a lottery, and all you gotta do is buy the bus ticket. Here are the types of filmmaking excuses I receive every week.
I have the most amazing idea for a movie. I just need to find someone willing to raise the money
and help me produce it.
Join the club. Everybody has an idea. Your ideas are probably good, but nobody cares. Unless you have a track record, selling a movie idea is nearly impossible. It is execution that matters. Are you willing to take action and make your movie now?
Then I get emails like this:
I can’t afford to make a movie. I don’t know anybody. Nobody will look at my work until I get an agent. Can you stop sending me filmmaking tips? I just need you to introduce me to an agent.
Quit crying. The thing you need to remember is everybody started from somewhere. And despite popular opinion, most successful filmmakers started from scratch. But if you really want an agent, here are some tactics my friends have utilized.
- One friend got his agent after his movie was produced. It is important to note that he was one of the producers. Now that he produced stuff, he is more valuable to Hollywood.
- I have writer friend who couldn’t get a break. So he started a screenwriting magazine. He leveraged his magazine to interview and build relationships with other writers. From these relationships, one writer introduced him to an agent. (He also sold the magazine, but that is another story.)
- My other buddy writes horror novels and screenplays. He started as a roller skate messenger in New York City (which sounds strange, but whatever). One day he delivered a package to a publishing company. Always ready to take action, he laid his manuscript on a pile of manuscripts.Then he got a call, which led to an agent, a book deal and screenwriting work.
All of these people had the guts and creativity to DO THE WORK and overcome obstacles. If you take action, you will increase your chances of gaining attention. Stop investing time in your filmmaking excuses!
I do not have a choice. If I do not find a producer, my movie doesn’t get made.
I understand why you might think this way. But you are only correct if you want to be. And let’s be honest, sometimes it’s much easier to complain, make excuses and never action because you are terrified of rejection.
When we decided to make our first feature, we were scared too. But that didn’t stop us. And neither did the fact that we didn’t have a producer. We simply decided to become our own producers. This is the rite of passage for many first time feature filmmakers.
Think of it this way – if you were starting your own frozen yogurt shop, would you wait for someone to do it for you? Thank goodness Charlie Day didn’t wait around for permission.
Take Action and Make Your Movie
Look. If you want to make movies, you need to put blinders on and go for it. You need to produce the movie you can produce this year. If that means you make a three-minute YouTube short on your cell phone, do that.
A friend told me that YouTube is a silly way to test my ideas and build an audience. He said I should just focus on getting an agent.
I think you should probably find some new friends. While there are no guarantees in filmmaking or any business, YouTube offers a great way to have your very own portal to the world. If you are talented, you should be able to scale a few backyard indies to fit the format.
Quit waiting for permission. Hollywood doesn’t care about your ideas. Sorry. The people who run that town only care about one thing – making money. And in doing this, most Hollywood heavyweights are seeking people who are actually producing stuff, not just talking about producing stuff.
If you are sick of waiting for Hollywood, I recommend you check out some of my professional filmmaking tools.