When I first started along the path of being a filmmaker, I had no idea of what I was getting myself into. In those days, we were still shooting with Beta tapes and doing linear editing. I first got started when I was in high school where my mom encouraged me (after I told her I wanted to be a rockstar) to enroll in a Television Communications course at my local vocational school. Although it looked like a lot of fun, my main reasoning for enrolling was that I got to leave school during the day. Even if I was simply hopping on a bus and going to another school, it was the act of physically leaving my high school to go elsewhere which made me think I had it all going on.
We all have different paths we take in life as we pursue our individual endeavors. For modern filmmaking, there are literally dozens of methods you can take to get started. In the end, it all comes back to one simple question. What is your why?
What's your reasoning for wanting to be a filmmaker? Is it the idea of creating a story out of thin air? Is it the creative process? Working with other media professionals? Telling a story? Helping others to share their own unique stories?
If you answered yes to any of those questions, you're in the right place.
What is your why?
However, if you're only entering this industry because you think you'll make a quick buck, you'll be happy to know that I'll probably be the one buying your equipment from you within six months after you get burned out. I used to work for a company who wanted to start a video production division within their existing company. They had no love of the creative process and only saw dollar signs. It doesn't take a genius to figure out how that ended.
We always hear about how fun the process of making videos is from either local video production companies or even from watching some behind-the-scenes footage of our favorite movies. Everyone seems to look like they're having the time of their lives on the film set. What you don't see is the long hours, the bloodshot eyes, the early mornings, late nights and sometimes ill working conditions. Ever filmed an outdoor wedding during a toasty Texas summer day?
In the end, it all comes back to one simple thing.
This is my why. I love the process. All of it. I love finding clients, talking with them to find out what they're looking for, showing up, filming their event and then putting it all together in post-production. There are oftentimes dozens of hours in between each of those sentences but the reason I continue to do it is because I love it.
If video production is something you're interested in and you genuinely feel like you have the passion to stand behind the camera (or in front if you're a YouTuber/Vlogger) and make people shine and tell interesting stories, then welcome to the journey of a filmmaker. Just like your life, it's unique. And just like your story, it advances as quickly and efficiently as you allow it. My advice: Take your time. Enjoy the journey and the process. There are a lot of difficult decisions you'll need to make but my goal through this blog is to help you navigate this sometimes crazy world of being a filmmaker.
There will be highs and probably even more lows (doubly so when you're first starting out). You will succeed a lot and you'll have resounding failures. One thing that keeps me going is that every new project is a chance to start over. You're only as good as your last project! It's not an easy path nor is it for those who are cheap (you have to invest in yourself). But if you're willing to take constructive criticism and never get the mindset of "I've arrived", you're on your way to being a successful filmmaker before you've even turned on the camera.
Stay tuned for more blog posts on getting started as a filmmaker!