A few years ago I worked with the director confident in his ability. He had gone to film school, had directed many shorts and he was very talented. But I learned what they don’t teach you in flimmaking class.
The problem was, outside of being a good director – our ex-friend lacked integrity. On one short project, he hired a web designer to create a movie website and never paid for it. For weeks, he assured everybody that the check was in the mail. But it never arrived. Since I knew the web designer from college, I paid for his work. Besides, it was only a couple hundred bucks. And why would a fellow film loving filmmaker ever intentionally rip someone off? I gave our director the benefit of the doubt. Big mistake.
Fast forward to a few years later – After producing a much larger project, we found out that our director friend was stealing thousands of dollars from the cinematographer. When confronted, he lied about it. But the evidence was undeniable. Then late one the evening, our director friend packed his car and drove back east. He slipped out of Hollywood like a thief – Because he was a thief.
A few months ago, I heard he was back in Hollywood. He found a few friends and talked them into starting a camera company. Upon hearing this, I knew how the story would end – And it didn’t take long to validate my assumption. Last week his partners found out our ex-friend was stealing money from the business. And when confronted, he once again skipped town and vanished.
Filmmaking is challenging, but also fun. So my advice is this: If you ever find out that someone in your production crew can’t be trusted, fire him or her immediately. It is important to remember that your network is the only thing that will guarantee your success. You cannot become a successful filmmaker alone.