How To Avoid Your Biggest Filmmaking Mistake

The biggest filmmaking mistake you can make is waiting for someone else to give you permission make movies.

Believe me. I’m speaking from experience.

Okay, I have to go WAY back for this story… like 2002, which is 18 years ago! I was pushing to get this RomCom made. I had shown the script to a “Producer” who had recently made a comedy, and told me he could get the financing and make it happen.

The problem was, the guy was a terrible liar and a terrible person. Though he had managed to produce one film, he positioned himself as this powerful decision maker, when he really had no power at all.

But that didn’t stop him from leading me on, making promises he didn’t keep, and putting me through hell, all for a project that was never going to happen. My mistake was putting my faith in him.

Finally, having had enough of a two year journey that was going nowhere, I made the decision to produce my own film. Now, 18 years later, I just produced my 16th film.

That “Producer” who put me through hell? He’s out of the business that he was never really in. Don’t even know what he’s doing these days, but it ain’t movies.


Your Biggest Filmmaking Mistake

You have the passion to make movies, but you have no idea how to get started. You don’t have a Hollywood network. You don’t have money.

These excuses will stop you if you let them.

To be perfectly frank with you, these excuses almost stopped me. But one day I heard this quote from the famed success guru Brian Tracy. He said: “You can have anything you want in life if you are willing to pay the price.”

Quitting would have been a mistake.

I wasn’t sure what it meant to pay the price. Again, perhaps like you, I didn’t have much money at the time.

The key was, once I made the decision to take the bull by the horns and make my own movie, I felt a freedom. It was like I had convinced myself that I could do it.

That’s really all it takes. You need to believe you can do it. One of the quotes I live by: “Whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re right.” – Henry Ford.

You might be working a dead end job to pay the bills. I’d love to tell you that you can quit right now and jump into the movie world, but I know it’s not that simple. You need income.

So then it becomes a question of “How much are you willing to put effort in?” I know you’re exhausted. I know you may have kids driving you nuts. I know you feel a lack of time. But whatever time you have, even minutes, take that time and apply it to movies.

I was recently explaining to a colleague, who’s starting to become successful, about a transition that I went through that he’s now going through. That transition is this: you hate taking a vacation or going out “for fun.”

What I mean is this. I got to a point where I was working so much in movies, and really busting my ass, but LOVING it. And, in my free time, I would develop new ideas for movies or to advance my business. Any time I would go out “for fun,” I’d feel guilty that I was ignoring my creative pursuits! It truly comes along with success.

Now, that’s not to say I never take a break. For me, time with my kids was the best escape, and I have other hobbies (like Jiu-Jitsu). But any time I’m facing with non-productive time where I’m not learning or doing something I love, I’m just not interested.

So you have to get to that space.

  1. Convince yourself you can make your own film.
  2. Allocate time, whatever you have, to advancing this.
  3. Enjoy the success, and start to LOVE your work.

If you’re ready to stop making excuses and start making movies, I invite you to explore these professional filmmaking resources.

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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.