The 5 Pieces of Advice That Will Destroy Your Film

Oct 28, 2022

Read time: 3 mins | YT Video

In today's issue, I'm going to take you through the 5 worst pieces of advice you can listen to as a filmmaker.

It's important to know these so that you can avoid them like the Plague (trivia: also the name of my first film). If you do, you will increase your chances of making a feature film. If you don't, prepare to spend months (or years) going in the wrong direction.

Now, let's dive in.

1. Don’t invest money in your film.

If you're not prepared to invest in your film, why would someone else?

Now, you might be thinking: I invest my time and energy, so I shouldn't have to also invest my money. Here's the thing, everyone invests their time and energy. So you're not doing anything different to get an advantage on the competition. In fact, you're at a massive disadvantage to those who are investing their money, on top of their time and energy.

The money you invest can be a small amount, it doesn't need to be huge. You empower yourself the moment you start pushing your project forward.

2. You can’t make El Mariachi today.

Inflation, inflation, inflation.

It's the word on everyone's lips right now. And it's an important one, because if we adjust El Mariachi's $7k budget for inflation we get a budget of $15k. About the budget of Paranormal Activity.

The point here is not that we have to make a film for $15k. The point is to go through the exercise of making a film for the smallest amount of money that we can raise. It will cause us to stretch our imagination, problem solve and create unique ways to tell stories.

3. Develop lots of projects so one hits.

Don't get me started on this one.

The idea that you can develop many projects while working/running a business, is nuts. What happens when you get to the end of development? Do you start raising finance on five projects? Unlikely. Financing one film is hard enough.

Or do you go back and develop more projects to add to your ever growing slate?

If you're using development as a way to avoid finance, remember: until you master it, it will always hold you back.

And if you're working on many projects, are you sacrificing quality over quantity?

4. It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.

In the age of the internet, everyone is reachable.

Gone are the days when a Rolodex was valuable. If you want a Rolodex to every person on earth, you can use a platform like Seamless or RocketReach. And if you want an industry specific one, try Cinando.

But, you say, it's the relationship that is the relevant factor here, not the contact details. I have a relationship with festival selectors at most of the major film festivals. But if my film is no good they don't select it. The what I know is way important than the who. Don't let this trip you up before you even begin.

5. You need a Proof of Concept

Sometimes, yes. But often, no.

Here's how it plays out. You finish development, you're pumped, now you need to raise money. Well that sounds pretty hard. So you watch a Youtube video about filmmaking and you see that Whiplash was a proof of concept before a feature. Shooting a proof of concept sounds way easier than raising finance, so you go do that.

If your POC is not a standalone short film, then it's another marketing asset. And if you have an existing body of work, you don't need a proof of concept. You can use the body of work as the marketing asset. If you don't have a body of work, it can be useful.

Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.

Whenever you're ready, there are 2 ways I can help you:

1. Develop your filmmaking skills [FREE] here (890+ subscribers).

2. Join our Producing Accelerator program to produce your debut film (October sold out; 1 spot available for November).

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