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How and Why to Become a Filmmaker

How and Why to Become a Filmmaker

Videos are ubiquitous in today’s environment, appearing on television sets, movie theater displays, and computers and cellphones. While some promote goods and services, others champion political and social concerns. Numerous films are created to educate or entertain an audience, and some accomplish both.

Since videos may include both images and sound, they can swiftly transmit a large amount of information, making cinema a very effective communication medium.

If you have ideas or tales to share with the world, you may like to pursue a career as a filmmaker. According to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, the typical wage for producers and directors in the United States was $76,400 in 2020, which forecasts that the number of film producers and director employment in this nation would increase by 24 percent in 2030.

Meanwhile, the bureau reports that the median wage for camera operators and film or video editors in the United States was $61,900 in 2020 and that employment in that field is expected to grow by 29 percent by 2030.

The Different Types of Filmmakers and How They Collaborate

The filmmaker is a broad word that incorporates a variety of occupations within the film business. It could theoretically be used to apply to anybody engaged in producing a film. At the same time, experts say the phrase usually refers to someone who is either a director or a producer. Jobs in the film are diverse, ranging from technical occupations such as lighting design and sound engineering to creative ones such as animation and screenplay.

While both directors and producers are classified as filmmakers, their jobs are unique. According to experts, directors usually take the lead on aesthetic decisions, and producers typically have the last say on all financial and logistical issues. A director’s objective is to make the picture as fascinating as possible, whereas a producer aims to maximize the film’s profits.

According to actress, writer, and filmmaker Jennifer Lieberman, a director’s role is to “breathe life into a tale, take it off the page and transform it into a cinematic experience.” At the same time, a producer’s responsibility is more administrative. If you need more cash to start a business of filming you can visit a popular Direct Lenders site like Bridge Payday.

The Film Industry’s Entry Points and the Reasons for Making Films

It is possible to succeed as a filmmaker even if it was not your life ambition. Brent Florence – who wrote, produced and acted in the award-winning films “Eagles in the Chicken Coop” and “A Girl, Three Guys, and a Gun” – claims he found his gift for filmmaking by accident while pursuing his love in surfing.

Florence was touring the globe as a semi-professional surfer and wanted to highlight his sport in a film; the video he ultimately produced – “One Track Mind” – garnered worldwide notice.

Florence, a graduate of the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts, believes that someone who is captivated by a specific subject has a unique perspective on it and is not afraid to voice a unique viewpoint has the potential to create a riveting film. The most critical trait that a prospective filmmaker must possess is the capacity to view the world differently and the guts to communicate that perspective without concealing one’s eccentricities.

Florence adds that a curious and adventurous mentality is also advantageous.

“You develop your perspective on something, you’re pulled to it, you see it the way you see it, and then you trust it and allow yourself to act on it,” he recommends.

According to several filmmakers, their ambition to produce films began throughout their youth. Rodger Pittman, an award-winning screenwriter, director, and producer who created Scarborough Pictures, claims his love for movies started when he was a child.

“My family is from India, namely Mumbai, which, as you’re probably aware, has a thriving movie culture thanks to Bollywood, and it’s always been a significant part of my life,” says Pittman, who obtained a Bachelor of Fine Arts in film production from York University in Canada.

“Movies always surrounded us, and we had an abundance of VHS recordings. My father is an avid moviegoer. Thus, it developed into a passion for me at a young age, and it continued with me when we moved to Canada.”

Ervin Chan, a prize-winning documentary filmmaker whose latest feature-length film “This Ain’t Normal” was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Social Issue Documentary, says his creative motivation stems from his conviction that some elements of society are often overlooked. “By spotlighting tales that have been overlooked or disregarded in the past, I’m attempting to give voice to the underprivileged and underserved.”

Chan, a Trinidad native and graduate of Boston University’s broadcast department, adds that one of the ways he got his start as a filmmaker was by making movies for a community access television station. He advises other young filmmakers to follow suit.

According to experts, although attending film school is not required for a career as a filmmaker, it is often helpful, particularly for those who can acquire a film degree without incurring considerable student debt. Film school may improve networking, offer access to cutting-edge film equipment, make entry-level jobs in the profession more accessible, and provide invaluable training from expert filmmakers.

“It is quite possible to succeed as a filmmaker without formal education, but you must be a self-taught student of cinema,” director and Baltimore native Richard Robertson noted in an email. “Constantly observing, practicing, gaining access to sets, and attempting your hands at all levels. Nobody becomes a director overnight (well, very seldom), so you must work your way up and establish yourself as a trusted contributor.”

Jennifer Lieberman – an actress, writer, and filmmaker with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and English literature – chose a writing-related degree over a film degree because she hoped to employ her writing abilities while creating films. Regardless of a prospective filmmaker’s academic background, Lieberman, creator of “Make Your Break,” an organization that assists independent creative workers in developing their employment possibilities, adds.

“In my experience, the individuals who have the greatest longevity and success have grabbed the reins, developed their projects, established their production businesses, and are not dependent on others to provide them with work,” she adds. “They create jobs for themselves. They are self-employed.”

Numerous enormously successful directors have founded their production firms. Tyler Perry Studios, for example, was founded by millionaire entertainer Tyler Perry, producer of blockbuster films such as “Diary of a Mad Black Woman.”

How to Choose a Film School and Get Accepted

Potential filmmakers who are confident of their interest in a particular sector of the film business, such as advertising, television, or feature films, might use this information to reduce their selection of suitable film schools. As Florence advises, prospective film students should seek institutions in intriguing areas where they feel at ease since the site of their studies will serve as the “primary character” in the tale of their time in film school.

One of the pleasures of film school for aspiring filmmakers is the chance to “be thrown into a bunch of likeminded individuals,” Florence recommends, adding that film school classmates may become long-term collaborators and friends.

Pittman, who was rejected from film school the first time he applied but was admitted on his third attempt, believes the first rejection was a gift in disguise since it gave him time to decide what sort of artist he wanted to be before enrolling.

“Getting into these institutions is tough,” he explains, noting that his film program exposed him to “global cinema” and gave him access to high-quality equipment. “They have their stringent techniques of gatekeeping. They may be rather expensive, which creates significant concerns of privilege when it comes to attending film schools.”

The majority of top-tier film schools ask prospective students to submit work examples. For example, applicants to New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts’ undergraduate film and television program must submit a five-part creative portfolio; the same is valid for graduate students applying to the school’s Master of Fine Arts in the film production program.

The First Steps Towards Becoming a Filmmaker

Determine what you want to convey through audiovisual medium and begin trying. “Decide why you want to produce films and what tales you want to convey,” self-taught filmmaker C.M. Conway stated in an email. Conway, who wrote, directed, executive produced, and co-starred in the upcoming feature film “How to Fail in Hollywood Successfully,” recommends beginning with a short film. “Many individuals are capable of recording with a contemporary phone and editing using free, open-source software. You may cooperate with other filmmakers by contacting a film club or community.”

Begin filming everywhere and whenever you get the opportunity. According to Harry Wilcox, a filmmaker with over three decades of expertise specializing in commercial production. He stated, “ABC: Always Be Creating in one email.” “Whatever your age, if you want to pursue a career as a filmmaker, you should seize every chance to produce material. You have no reason not to, given that your phone is equipped with a high-quality camera. 

Indeed, the camera on my phone is superior to the one I began using when I initially entered the firm. Free applications allow you to edit directly on your smartphone, and if you’re connected to a network or have WIFI access, you may share your work online. It’s straightforward.”

Consider attending a reputed film school. If this is the case, compile an attractive portfolio. “Going to college will provide you with insider access to jobs that others do not,” Wilcox explains. “You’ll get access to internships and other paid jobs that are not visible to the general public. In this game, experience is everything. You need the experience to get further employment, but you cannot obtain an additional job until you have experience. Catch-22.”

Create a reel to demonstrate your abilities to prospective employers. “No one, and I mean no one, will employ you until you can demonstrate your ability to produce work,” Wilcox adds.

Develop marketable talents for the film business. Conway adds that filmmakers must be adept at not just technical elements of filmmaking, such as camera kinds and recording procedures, but also at storytelling and marketing. Robertson believes that a harsh temperament is required for a job as a filmmaker, given the occupation often needs irregular hours. 

“You must also be a good listener; a good set leaves no place for ego,” he adds. “Everyone, from the production assistant to the director, is there to contribute, so accept advice from everyone you meet. You will never, and should never, believe that you know everything simply because you do not.”

Acquire a low-level film job, demonstrate your abilities, and progress to higher-level ones. “Whichever path you choose, you must recognize that you must begin at the bottom and work your way up through time,” Wilcox explains.