I have returned to the States for the time being. I am in the trenches. Fighting the battle that every filmmaker has to fight: Funding.
This is the hardest battle for every one of us. This is where most people loose themselves and their hope. It never goes as quickly as you think it will; finding money never does. Everyone says it is hiding in plain sight, but where, I don’t know. I mean, we are only trying to raise $80k, how hard could it be?
We are all working hard. I have had a number of meetings, phone calls, and skypes with various key people. I am happy to say after all of that I remain hopeful. There is a lot of interest in Children of Wrath; although the fishing expedition continues.
This brings me to a key point that I tell all younger filmmakers: You have to be passionate about what you are doing. You cannot go into this field with the mindset that you are going to somehow become famous, make a lot of money, or even have security. These are all the wrong reasons to follow this career. These can be achieved but there are no guarantees and certainly no short cuts.
I have read stories of filmmakers who have been trying for 30-40 years to catch a break. Some have been able to make a few feature films throughout that time but nothing came of it. There are others who have been waiting that long just to make their first feature length movie. The movie industry likes to tell you that they are over-night successes. Just remember that one night may have taken them 40 years.
I have been fortunate enough to be able to produce one feature film already. Did I make any money off it? No! It actually cost me my job and a lot of money. I am happy to say I bounced back from it. There was another job that came along soon enough, a better one than I had before… But then, of course, I quit that job to go after another film. Two to be exact.
What I did get from making A Band of Rogues was a world of connections that I didn’t have before and the confidence to do it again, and again, and again. It helped me realize that it was possible and that a group of people with passion can make anything happen.
THAT is what I look for in anyone I work with: Hunger to create, passion, and longevity. Skills and talent are helpful too… But honestly I can work with someone who is under-developed and eager as opposed to someone who has a ton of talent and zero independent spirit. That “indie-spirit” is what made the film industry what it is today. It’s what made the USA what it is today!
Last point; don’t let other people slow you down. I was watching an interview with director David Fincher the other day, (Well known for: Se7en, Fight Club, Social Network, Gone Girl, to name a few), and he gave to key points of advice:
1. Don’t fall victim to other people’s laziness.
2. Sometimes taking risks pay off in big ways.
(You can watch the full interview here)
I can say from experience that both of these are true. As I am well into year two of La Última Noche and Children of Wrath, I can still say: Continue to take chances guys! Don’t let anyone say you can’t or shouldn’t do something that you know in your heart is right. And, never let your passions be drowned out by doubt or age.
This is a message to everyone who has a desire to DO SOMETHING! Anyone who is tired of accepting just “what they can get” and never looking out beyond the break-room and paid vacations. Whether you are a filmmaker, a degree carrying entrepreneur, or a grass cutter who dreams of owning your own landscaping business; you have to be strong and work for your own personal enjoyment and development. If not you will get burned out before you even start to win.
Hint for when you are feeling down about your passions: Read about other people who are doing the same thing. Find the things that motivate you. Remind yourself why you love what you do. Continue to do it good!