To become successful in filmmaking, you must build a reputation. Everything that you do or say will either help you build your reputation, or demolish your credibility. Your goal is to surround yourself with a group of collaborative filmmaking friends who complement your vision. Then together, the whole of your group will push you forward.
There is strength in numbers.
A quick story about how NOT to build a reputation.
When I was in high school, I knew this guy who always tried to borrow money. He had this reputation for borrowing money from people and then never paying them back. I knew the guy pretty well, and he seemed cool.
So one day when he asked to a few bucks, I happily gave it to him. (I knew he probably wouldn’t pay it back, but I wanted to test the theory.)
“Great. I’ll pay you back Friday.”
Friday came and went. Then a month went by. And then a year.
The funny part was, there were a few times when he tried to borrow money again.
Guess what? I didn’t give it to him.
He did not build a reputation of someone who paid people back.
(To this day, that dude never paid me back.)
This story taught me a lesson that has served me well in the indie movie scene.
Another quick example:
I knew a guy who “borrowed” this woman’s slate. He said he would return it a week later. But then a week went by, and guess what? No slate.
People don’t forget. Ever.
Making friends and forming alliances with other in the movie industry is essential for your success. From the first time you set foot on a movie set as a production assistant, to a time when you start production on your fifth feature – you will need to enlist the help of other people. And if you do not cultivate a good reputation for yourself, from day one, garnering success will be considerably difficult.
The following actions will help make you more likable. Over time, being known as a hard working, likable person will help you navigate Hollywood in a more positive way:
- Shake hands with a firm handshake.
- Smile. Seriously, people forget to smile a lot.
- Talk about uplifting and positive topics.
- Do what you say, promise 100% and deliver 20o%
- Never, ever, arrive late.
Your reputation and how you present and sell yourself is everything. If people don’t like you, it will be very difficult to realize your filmmaking dreams. So you should start working today to become more likable, more well rounded and more helpful in everything you do.