The 5 Immutable Laws of Successful Filmmaking

As an independent filmmaker, the prospect of putting together a project and creating something awesome out of an idea really gets us going. Serious indie filmmakers stop at nothing until the movie is actually in the can – or these days – in your hard drive.

Still if you’ve been working to make movies for any length of time, you know there are days when you hit obstacles, sometimes so seemingly insurmountable that you just want to give up on your project.

successful filmmaking

The 5 Immutable Laws of Successful Filmmaking

Here are five tips to help keep you on the path to successful filmmaking:

  1. Remember Perspective – You’re not performing brain surgery. You’re attempting to make a movie. This is a fun business. This is a privilege.  And don’t freak out because this business isn’t secure.  No business really is.  Why would you ever take a “Safe” job?  You could easily get fired from that.  So, in the words of Jim Carrey, “if you can fail at something you hate, why not fail at something you love?”
  2. Facing Rejection – Always ask WHY. Sometimes your pitch is perfect, but your
    audience is wrong. Make sure you’re talking to people who are actually interested in your type of project. But even still, you may never know the reason you got rejected!  There might have been something going on in that person’s life that made him/her reject your proposal.  Control what you can control.  Work on the elements that you can make as professional as possible, and then let it go, because as long as you’ve presented yourself in the best way, you’ve done your job.
  3. Break down BIG goals – Setting out to make your version of impossible, possible can be overwhelming. It is important to break all of your goals into smaller, more manageable tasks.  I used a To-Do list every single day of my life.  At the same time, I also have a list of my 1 year goals, my 5 year goals, my 10 year goals, and my 20 year goals.  The key is focusing your daily tasks to drive towards those long term achievements.
  4. Make Personal Deadlines – Sometimes you’ll miss these.  It happens. But understand this: deadlines are necessary to get things done.  And if you have a deadline to shoot for, you’re in much better shape than saying you’ll get to it “one day.”  “One day” never comes.  People have spent their lives thinking about “one day.”  So make a deadline, try to stick to it, and if you miss it by a bit, you’re still close to the finish line.
  5. Your Peer Group – If you surround yourself with negative losers, you lose. Make it an ongoing habit to always surround yourself with winners.  Studies have shown that people usually make the same amount of money that their top 5 friends do.  Are you the most wealthy of your friends?  Are you hanging around with friends who are always broke or unsucessful?  If you can change your peer group to prosperous, successful friends, you’ll soon find yourself with those same traits.

Check out this video on how to “level-up” your filmmaking career:

If you like these bite sized filmmaking tips, you’ll want a copy of my indie filmmaker roadmap. This guide will help you “level up” your career.

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Tom Malloy is a film producer, actor, and writer. Over the course of his career, he has raised over twenty-five million dollars to produce, and distribute multiple feature films. If you're ready to "level up" your film producing, make sure to check out Movie Plan Pro. The video training and downloadable film business plan template will provide you with the same tools Malloy uses when approaching prospective film investors.