What They Don’t Teach You In Flimmaking Class

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.


  1. winter says

    fortunately in my trade, which is outoor utilities and a union memeber. if we come across a someone who is a thief and bum, he’s kicking rocks and we did let the word out on this guy. Which Brings me to my biggest peeve about filmmaking there are way too many donkeys, thieves, loafers etc. I do say something about them and i’m told that’s not being Professional. i thinkyou should stood up and pointed this guy out to that other production company

  2. BSamson says

    You are so correct on your last paragraph. On our current project we had a lead actress that missed four separate shoot dates and was five hours late to one where there were over a hundred crew, actors and staff present delaying us til 1am. She was summarily dismissed the next day causing production to be extended 45 days but well worth as it has turned out. The ex-actress simply couldn’t understand how it wasn’t our fault that she couldn’t be trusted..

  3. Michael says

    So the driving assumption for this article is that if you have been to filmschool you’re easier to become a thief and liar?

    How can you tell that integrity and also the worth of teamplay isn’t told in Filmmaking classes? They do were I am from.

    There are black sheeps in every business on every educational level and background.

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