As a filmmaker, taking action is everything. But sometimes this is easy to say, but tough to execute. Over the past year, I have been getting a bunch of emails from Hollywood hopefuls who want to make movies or write screenplays or do something.
But for some reason (insert YOUR idiotic excuse here) these people think they need an agent or someone to give them permission to make it in Hollywood. Hint… You don’t!
Our goal at Filmmaking Stuff is to remind you the whole point of independent filmmaking involves being a rebel. And even though you may not have aspirations to “make it in Hollywood,” at least in the traditional sense – Odds are good you’d still love to make some movies in your lifetime.
Here’s the deal. You don’t have to ask for permission to become a filmmaking success.
You just need to do the WORK.
3 Reasons You Won’t Make It In Hollywood
Many filmmakers incorrectly think that their ideas are enough to make it in Hollywood… That they don’t have to do the work. That Hollywood is a lottery, and all you gotta do is buy the bus ticket. Here are the types of filmmaking excuses I receive every week.
Excuse #1: You’re too lazy (or you’re an idea person.)
I have the most amazing idea for a movie. I just need to find someone willing to raise the money and help me produce it.
Join the club. Everybody has an idea. Your ideas are probably good, but nobody cares. Unless you have a track record, selling a movie idea is nearly impossible. It is execution that matters. Are you willing to take action and produce your own movie?
Excuse #2: You don’t have the money or an investor.
I can’t afford to make a movie. I don’t know anybody. Nobody will look at my work until I get an investor. Can you stop sending me filmmaking tips? I just need you to introduce me to investors.
My buddy Tom Malloy raised over 25M to make his movies. But when he started out, he didn’t know anybody. That didn’t stop him from networking like crazy, always making the pitch and working his butt off to meet high net-worth individuals. Sure this may involve cold calling successful people. So what’s stopping you?
Excuse #3: You don’t live in Hollywood.
Hey Jason. I wish I could make it in Hollywood. But I don’t even live there. I don’t have plans for moving. I’m wondering if you could just produce my movie for me and send the checks?
Hopefully you now realize that you no longer have to move to Hollywood to make it in Hollywood. There is this awesome thing called video on demand distribution. And because video on demand aggregators exist, you can now make, market and sell your movie from anywhere on Earth.
So given the resources you have right now, what movie will you make this year?
The thing you need to remember is everybody started from somewhere. And despite popular opinion, most successful filmmakers started from scratch. Here are some tactics my friends have utilized to make it in Hollywood.
- One friend got an agent after his movie was produced. It is important to note that he was one of the producers. Now that he produced stuff, he is more valuable to Hollywood.
- I have writer friend who couldn’t get a break. So he started a screenwriting magazine. He leveraged his magazine to interview and build relationships with other writers. From these relationships, one writer introduced him to an agent. (He also sold the magazine, but that is another story.)
- My other buddy writes horror novels and screenplays. He started as a roller skate messenger in New York City (which sounds strange, but whatever). One day he delivered a package to a publishing company. Always ready to take action, he saw a pile of manuscripts and dropped his on the stack. Then he got a call, which led to an agent, a book deal and screenwriting work.
All of these people had the guts and creativity to DO THE WORK and overcome obstacles. If you take action, you will increase the odds that you will make it in Hollywood. Stop investing time in your filmmaking excuses!
I do not have a choice. If I do not find a producer, my movie doesn’t get made.
I understand why you might think this way. But you are only correct if you want to be. And let’s be honest, sometimes it’s much easier to complain, make excuses and never action because you are terrified of rejection.
When we decided to make our first feature, we were scared too. But that didn’t stop us. And neither did the fact that we didn’t have a producer. We simply decided to become our own producers. This is the rite of passage for many first time feature filmmakers.
Think of it this way – if you were starting your own frozen yogurt shop, would you wait for someone to do it for you? Thank goodness Charlie Day didn’t wait around for permission.
Take Action and Make Your Movie
Look. If you want to make movies and make it in Hollywood, you need to put blinders on and go for it. You need to produce the movie you can produce this year. If that means you make a three-minute YouTube short on your cell phone, do that.
A friend told me that YouTube is a silly way to test my ideas and build an audience. He said I should just focus on getting an agent.
If you have friends like this, you should probably find some new friends. While there are no guarantees in filmmaking or any business, YouTube offers a great way to have your very own portal to the world. If you are talented, you should be able to scale a few backyard indies to fit the format. In fact, I’d say YouTube offers a great way to get noticed and make it in Hollywood.
The world is changing. Hollywood isn’t waiting to hear your ideas. Sorry. The people who run that town only care about one thing – making money. And in doing this, most Hollywood heavyweights are seeking people who actually produce stuff. And if it isn’t totally clear, the real secret on how to make it in Hollywood is actually getting your filmmaking career to the point where you don’t actually need to make it in Hollywood!
If you are sick of asking permission, check out some this professional filmmaking resource.