How Not To Get Screwed By Filmmaking Partners Who Suck

Finding filmmaking partners you can trust is an essential component of making movies. And this makes sense. As a collaborative art, your success relies on other people willing to help you realize your vision. The problem is, many would-be filmmakers surround themselves with toxic people.

The great motivational speaker Zig Ziglar always says: “You can’t fly with the eagles if you continue to scratch with the turkeys.” And I believe this to be totally fair.

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How Not To Get Screwed By Filmmaking Partners

Take a moment and think of any prospective filmmaking partners you want to spend time with. Will they help you or hurt you. For some filmmakers, the partner you spend the most time with is your significant other. Is he or she supporting your filmmaking aspirations? If not, then you have to make tough decisions.

Good filmmaking partners to work with you on the funding and producing side of your projects. But you won’t know if these people are good until you work on a project. And this is yet another the catch 22 in the indie filmmaking process. (How do you know if someone is going to work well with you, until you work with them.)

So before you jump into BIG filmmaking projects, I recommend working with prospective filmmaking partners on weekend films and other, backyard indies. From this experience, you can determine if anybody’s social imperfections (coupled with your own imperfections) will derail the possibility of collaborating on bigger projects.

Small Problems Become Big Problems

A long time ago, I worked on a short movie with a terrible filmmaking partner. Long story short, I found out the guy was being untruthful about money. He had hired one of my friends to build our movie website. But he failed to pay as agreed. When confronted, he shared an outlandish story about Western Union sending the money to the incorrect address. This was completely stupid and untruthful. Because he was a “friend,” I let the whole thing go. (Big mistake.)

Three years later, I found myself working with this guy again. And guess what? He figured out a way to steal a few thousand dollars from the movie budget. When confronted, he left Los Angeles for Kentucky or some other place. He emailed a few times, apologizing. That guy was not a good filmmaking partner.

Sometimes you uncover facts early on that could save headaches later. And finding good filmmaking partners is all about having a clear perspective. Small frustrations on small projects will be amplified on BIG projects to become BIG problems. So if you don’t want to get screwed by filmmaking partners who suck, do your due diligence.

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ARTICLE BY Jason Brubaker

If you'd like more tactics like the article you just read, make sure to grab a copy of the filmmaker checklist. You'll get 65 useful steps you can employ to produce your next feature film.
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