Depending on your level of skill, finding a film mentor could be similar a producing partner. If you have a mentor that’s going to show you the ropes, that could easily be a Producing partner. If you’re bringing some kind of value, whether it’d be financing or a killer script or something that that is leveraging value, you could hire somebody to work with you as a partner.
That person becomes a partner and a mentor at the same time, which is the best of both worlds. I will say that everybody successful that I know in some way, shape, or form has had a film mentor.
What Kind Of Film Mentor Do You Want?
When it comes to finding a film mentor, you should seek out somebody who is doing what you want to do. And it doesn’t have to be a formal relationship where you’re like: “You’re my mentor and I’m paying you this or that.” It could just be somebody that you’re paying attention to, so you can learn the professional filmmaking process.
Some of my initial big movie set experience was working as a background player. I wasn’t going in with any desire to get on camera behind a celebrity. I wanted to be doing lines with the leads. So for me, getting on a major movie set was simply a fact finding mission.
I looked around and paid attention to all the people working around me. I remember seeing these big time movie stars, taking direction from famed directors. Even though they didn’t know it, I was using all of them as film mentors. And I learned a lot about major motion picture production.
Hire Producing Partners
Later in my career, I took things to the next level. I didn’t want to wait for someone to give me permission to make movies, so I started pitching a film idea that I wanted to produce. Through networking and relationships, I ended up raising some film funding. Because I was new to film producing, I took it upon myself to hire two experienced film producers to mentor me.
On paper those producers technically became my partners in the project. While working with them, I simply paid attention. I humbled myself. I listened and I learned. And that brings me to my final piece of advice…
If you’re new to filmmaking, please don’t pretend you know what you’re doing. I unfortunately experience this a lot. Someone comes onto set and tries to pretend they know what they’re doing. Maybe it’s an insecurity or a posturing thing? But the bottom line is, it’s much better to just be silent. And when the time is right, ask questions. With this in mind, what kind of film mentor are you looking for?