October 3, 2015

The True Cost of the Filmmaking Life (Are You Ready to Pay It?)

What are you willing to pay in order to make a film?

Not talking about money here. It's an issue that isn't talked about nearly enough in our industry -- or in any industry for that matter: how much are you willing to sacrifice in order to achieve the level of success you want? The answer to that question gets more difficult to answer, it seems, the more the success demands, as well as the more you have to sacrifice to get it, but young filmmaker Simon Cade delves into this subject for his latest video for DSLR Guide.

Warning: it's about to get a little personal.

When I first started on my filmmaking journey I was willing to do almost anything to progress my career -- and I did. If I wasn't sticking my nose in a textbook or studying a film, I was staring at a computer screen to finish a screenplay. Needless to say, my closest relationships with family and friends began to suffer -- even end. I was never available. I was never around.

But now, after a handful of years being able to be a distant, but very passionate workaholic that could hop on a plane any time I wanted for a "change of creative scenery," I'm finding it much more difficult to just be okay with dedicating myself completely to my creative endeavors. I've got responsibilities. I've got a family. My daughter asks me, "Mama, can I help you work?"

Surely many of you can relate to these issues and have often asked yourself how to balance work and home life, and really -- there isn't a clear answer. Some people will say, "Sacrifice everything, because the people at the top got there by doing just that," while others will say, "Yeah, but those golden statuettes and accolades won't keep you warm at night."

Living a life making films is difficult; it demands so much of you. So, the only thing we can really do is try to, first, define the balance that works for us, and then take the steps to acquire it. Maybe for you that means spending less time vegging out in front of the TV and more time working -- maybe that means spending more time vegging out and less time working. Maybe that means establishing traditions at home that you refuse to miss. (For me, that's putting my daughter to bed every night and finding at least an hour out of the day to dedicate to reconnecting with my partner.) And if you're like many of us trying to do it all, just know that, more often than not, you can -- but you can't do it all very well.

There's no right or wrong way to do this -- everybody is different and has different priorities. If you're able to be 100% dedicated to your filmmaking career, kudos to you! But if you're like most filmmakers who have families and friends and other responsibilities, the struggle is real, but knowing that others are struggling along with you might help you as you try to find the right balance.

Also, you should probably thank your friends and family for putting up with your shenanigans. You should do that right now. 

(Thank you.)      

Your Comment

34 Comments

I wonder how many of us will think about this. I know most of the guys in their early 20s I work with (and women, although they're mostly guys, and of course that's another issue that needs to be addressed) just cannot grok doing anything but going full-speed, 24/7, all-filmmaking, all-the-time. But I hope it won't always be that way for them. That said, it took some acts of God to slow me down and open my eyes: a child whom I love with all my heart, is one.
I had a client last week in NY who was formerly married to an 'A-List' director, and who privately told me: "you guys are not easy to be in a relationship with". And it's true. And that's for the "well-adjusted" of us!
But I'm finding, like you, that life/theuniverse/God/fate often pushes one toward the realizations that one needs at the time, towards the priorities that matter. Above all, I feel that living a LIFE is the best thing a filmmaker- or any creative person- can do. It not only helps you be a real, relatable human being, it also helps you tell stories that matter. I've sat through so many really, really bad stories from filmmakers obsessed with the art/craft but with nothing to SAY.

And I keep thinking about the ending to Oliver Stone's "The Doors", or maybe it was the beginning. It's been awhile:

You've seen your birth, your
life and death; you might recall
all of the rest — (did you
have a good world when you
died?) — enough to base
a movie on?

And f&*k. I've lived a life that could fill a bunch of movies. And I hope all of you have, or will, too.

October 3, 2015 at 10:33PM, Edited October 3, 10:38PM

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Patrick Ortman
I tell stories. Sometimes for money. Sometimes, not.
569

Also, films made by people who know about nothing but filmmaking and have done nothing else with their lives are usually quite dull. You need life experience in order to have anything worth saying.

October 8, 2015 at 7:36PM, Edited October 8, 7:36PM

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L. Gabriel Gonda
Director
76

Yeah, your right Christopher Nolan's films are all "quite dull" right? This must be due to all the time he spent making movies during his developmental years. Go watch more movies before you start making uneducated blanket statements like that. Plenty of great filmmakers who only have life experience making films.

October 8, 2015 at 11:54PM

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You're right to an extent, but you can definitely get "life experiences" making films as long as you choose your projects wisely -- but especially if you do your own projects.

October 9, 2015 at 8:14PM

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zetty
Filmmaker
679

This is a very important topic to sit with. Thanks for the post, and for sharing some of your own experiences, V.

October 3, 2015 at 11:01PM, Edited October 3, 11:01PM

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Samuel Neff
DP / Editor
620

Indeed, one of the most insightful articles I've read on the subject--thank you for providing this!
It goes without saying that those of us who intend to make a life of film, will pretty much give our lives for it. Myself included, but what has been helpful for me is a sentiment taken from Larry Turman: You've got to live life to be inspired by it!

That said, we can never deny how our personal experiences imparts something special on our work, so we have to have relationships, adventures, sadness and jubilation.

Finally, don't forget you're health! Mentally, physically and emotionally.

"

October 4, 2015 at 2:20AM, Edited October 4, 2:20AM

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Kalief Pleasants
Producer
74

Nice video. I've been making films proffesionally since I was 18, back then it was freelance. I'm now 25, I started my video production company 4 years ago and since then it's been non-stop. On top of working with multiple clients at once whilst also finding future clients and marketing my business, it's very hard to find time to do the creative work, actual film making, the reason I do everything I do. My otherwise 'free time' is occupied by this.

If you want a work-life balance trying to do what you love for a living, it's just not going to happen in the early years. I've learnt that you just have to embrace this and except work is life, I'm lucky that my girlfriend does this with me, she loves filmmaking as much as I do, so if there is a way to include your loved ones in your work, find out how and do it.

If I don't spend time on my creative work and feel like I'm making no progress on my ultimate goal in life, I get very down, unhappy and frustrated, I'm not a great person to be around in that state anyway. It may be a very selfish way to live but I'm addicted to filmmaking and stories. I know I'm not alone in this feeling, I'm sure many can relate to this.

I'm just a big believer that if I work every hour that is given to me now, I may be rewarded with a bit of extra time later in life.

I just try to enjoy the journey and live as much in the moment as possible, which is no easy task.

This type of life isn't easy, but if it was everyone would be doing it. :)

October 4, 2015 at 6:47AM

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Sean John Dyer
Filmmaker
74

Great episode Simon. I have often thought about this myself. People also need to consider what is their definition of success? What makes someone a filmmaker? I would say that if someone makes a film, puts that film out there for others to watch (delivers his/her art) then that person is a filmmaker and every bit as much of a filmmaker as Scorsese, Hitchcock, Godard and the rest. I'm like you Simon and I suppose like every other filmmaker, I can start a project and time seems to evaporate. I'll start an edit at 5pm and the next thing I know it's 4am, but it feels like I've only been at it for 5 minutes. When you do what you love it isn't work and time somehow speeds up. Making room for an artistic endeavor doesn't feel like sacrifice to me. Some people are fortunate enough to make a living doing what they love and attract massive audiences, but that doesn't make them anymore or less a true filmmaker as people like us; the crowds of people who pay to watch their films are no more legitimate of an audience than the people who watch our films on Vimeo, Youtube or other mediums.

I really like your vlog Simon, keep 'em coming!

Here's a book you might enjoy:
http://www.amazon.com/Icarus-Deception-How-High-Will-ebook/dp/B0090UOLEW...

October 4, 2015 at 8:06AM

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Christopher Rivas
Filmmaker
81

thanks Christopher! I love this way of thinking - that big advertising deals or award winning films don't have to be the way we define success. So easy to fall into that mindset though, and to scoff at people who don't make 'proper' films but still call themselves filmmakers. I know I've done that before

October 5, 2015 at 6:18PM

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Simon Cade
Filmmaker
237

oh dear...the most insightful article...but i want to quote onething...!! " what if you decide not to work hard in the middle of climbing the filmmaking mountain...it makes the sleepness nights and the hardworking years into useless meaningless things.... but as i ve seen and read about all the masters, they have a terrific balance between life and work... and once during my college days, i met a legendary photographer,who was then 85 ,who is still doing photography,..he said "photography is just my serious hobby....my career is living my life "..!!!

October 4, 2015 at 8:39AM

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sathanand
Director of Photography
81

Painful parallels in this quote from Lauren Holiday (US Women's Soccer world cup team). She just announced her retirement from soccer, at 27: “I feel like as awesome of a lifestyle it is, it’s also a very selfish lifestyle. Your schedule is predetermined. I can’t go a day without training or thinking about training and I feel like professional athletics is very you-central and I feel like I was ready to serve other people” ... She and her teammates miss “the most precious things in life,” she says – the weddings, funerals, births – due to life on the national team. It’s a lifestyle that players choose and one that bonds them together, but it can be taxing." [Lauren Holiday]

True for me. All of what she says.
Thanks for posting and for the honesty, V Renée.

October 4, 2015 at 9:49AM

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B. Gudgel
Documentary Director
86

wow, that's a whole new level I hadn't thought of - is it selfish to put everything into building our own careers? Probably. Another good reason to keep the balance in check.

October 5, 2015 at 6:20PM

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Simon Cade
Filmmaker
237

I'm getting sick of seeing this guy's face, but he is good!

October 4, 2015 at 11:26AM, Edited October 4, 11:26AM

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Matt Nunn
Amateur
363

I think this post is great but is also missing the following point: many people who are going to try to make films, I'm talking about independent films here, are going to put their lives in danger. I know many people, most of them in the US who are not going to be able to actually take care of themselves because they want to make films. Let me explain. I know some people didn't study in college engineering, math, biology or some other subject because they thought they were going to make a living making independent films. Most of them are not making a living doing that. Instead they do make small films that don't go beyond being seen at festivals and they are stuck in very low paying jobs. What are the consequences for these people? First, they are not really saving for retirement. It's very romantic to actually tell people, go ahead, pursue your dreams, do it, blah, blah blah, but eventually you are in your forties, you haven't contributed to Social Security too much, so when it's time to retire you have a very small check and you have not IRA or 401K. Nobody saw your films, you are totally unknown and suddenly your life is extremely tough. I'm sorry to say that and I'm going to be called "negative" but I happen to know many, yes, many people in this particular case. If you think you are going to be interested in making independent films you better know you're going to be good and that people are going to be able to relate to what you say in those films or frankly you will pay dearly for your passion. Go ahead, slam me, call me negative, a dream destroyer.

October 4, 2015 at 11:37AM

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I don't think you're negative, merely realistic.
Yet, I think it's important to know who you are and what you're in for. If you're in for indie filmmaking then I guess it is the experience that enriches your life, not your pension. To make something - whether financially successful or not - is what defines a filmmaker.
Experience, expression and self-fulfilment prevail over other considerations as often Art does, which entails considerable sacrifices such as family life - unless you find someone involved in the creative arts too...
Filmmakers know what they're getting into nonetheless they brace difficulties, opposition and they discard conformity in order to turn fiction into reality. To "get involved" - at any cost. To live consciously their dreams. Still, nobody forces them to do so therefore i'd say that the "are going to put their lives in danger" is slightly exaggerated.
If you want security then be on the studio/producers payroll and study what "works" and be talented enough to climb the Everest.
It's that simple.
You mention many filmmakers not studying anything other than their craft. That "no plan B" approach is risky, so again, one's better tremendously talented and not be elusive since behind the curtain of illusion, there's actually science. People don't call Spielberg a genius for nothing.

October 4, 2015 at 1:41PM

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LPhnix
Philo/Wrter/StoryMaker and so on.
60

I think I was slightly misunderstood. Most people who choose the independent film making option don't just give up financial stability. Most of them will be in trouble and poverty. There is a difference between not making a huge amount of money and spending your "golden" years with almost no money because all the money you could have saved was used to buy lenses and cams to make movies that nobody watched and since your SS check is just 700 bucks, you're you're 65 and in real trouble and you are in a movie you never thought you be; you main lines are "Paper or plastic!"
Not making 100K or even 50K a year because you are following your dream is not what I was talking about. The "filmmakers" I know don't make any money at all and many are nor 30 anymore. If it's the price to pay, I'm not sure.

October 4, 2015 at 4:51PM

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I understood you...
And if I may, our generation is lucky because filmmaking has been democratised. It doesn't cost much to film anymore and the knowledge is accessible to all (this wonderful website and the always excellent articles of V Renne are proof of that). So I don't see anyone being broke these days over decades as a mean to satisfy their passion unless they're being unrealistic/delusional or simply as romantic as Rimbaud was. As an exemple, I have a friend who just contracted debts to buy further pro equipment. I'm not quite sure where the line is to be drawn between passion and addiction. Again, filmmaking is the materialisation of an artistic but selfish, storytelling impulse. Nothing more, nothing less. If one regrets at 65 to be in a precarious situation having sacrificed much to filmmaking then perhaps they should blame no one but themselves. Nobody else is responsible for that. Destitute filmmakers aren't victims but the cause of their fatality if such resentment emerges. Regrets - in that regard - seems to be the price to pay and that would be pretty sad because it'd imply that the experience, overall, wasn't worth it. But let's not all be so dramatic, choices define who we are.
Stories - as long as they're told - live on.

October 4, 2015 at 10:44PM, Edited October 4, 11:00PM

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LPhnix
Philo/Wrter/StoryMaker and so on.
60

Your comment here really is sad and obviously misses the true essence of being a filmmaker or any artist in general.

If you don't risk everything for your art, your art will be amateur and lacking vision. any decent filmmaker has made these sacrifices and I have yet to see it not pay off in some way.

In life if you only seek financial comfort, you have no passion. A life without passion wouldn't be worth living to me, I need to be pushed to my limits and it has always worked out for me.

If you have this attitude, you are right, no one will see your films because people like art from those willing to die for it.

It's not easy, I work over 100 hours a week usually for free. This has put me in the hospital several times and you're right I don't have the money to pay for most of this.

I just can't quit, not knowing that big opportunity was just around the courner. When I'm old I may be broke but I will have no regrets like you will.
A life spent only in search for material gain is a life wasted in my opinion.

October 5, 2015 at 8:53AM

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Hi...
You know, one of the first thing a lawyer learns is that she should be able to argue on both sides of a case and that she ought never to hold arguments without substance.
Two things that stroke my mind in your comment - or fantasist interpretation: my comment is really sad, missing the true essence of filmmaking and secondly, that apparently I will have regrets.

Well... Thanks...

I shall invite you to read the whole conversation again - as well as the article if it made sense to you as I recall it enlightened the struggles of filmmakers- and perhaps you'll quit that prepuberal monologue and enter the realistic dance with us and comment on Phillip Orlando's perspective instead of twisting what I said for the purpose of writing an open letter subliming you undertakings, however dramatic they sound.
And again, I shall repeat myself, if you work 100h/week plus and end up at the hospital I feel sorry for you, choices define who we are. And there's nothing noble in that. Medecin sans frontiere staffs risk their lives everyday to save others and they witness true horror: they don't brag about it. I guess that altruism as opposed to selfishness.
Finally I appreciate your opinion on my filmmaking and artistic values. I think one of the reason elaborate individuals favouring a constructive conversation without being attacked on serious grounds - such as life ethics - are obviously deterred from ever delivering their opinion on websites since somehow, somewhat, they know it won't do them any good.

Regards.

October 5, 2015 at 8:27PM

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LPhnix
Philo/Wrter/StoryMaker and so on.
60

I feel sorry for you. I would never want to work with someone lacking any passion as you do.

If you are not willing to sacrifice everything to make it, there will be thousands more qualified for your "dreams." We don't live in a cushy world like things were 15 years ago, things are tough now.

I know my work ethic will push me far in life, hope your bad attitude helps you.

October 6, 2015 at 7:44AM

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I totally disagree with you. If everyone thought the way you do then there would be no art left in the world. Artists have always been poor, and this idea of becoming a rich and famous artist is a rather recent, and rare occurrence, a by product of mass marketing (which is dead). Artists can't change the fact that this is who they are. They hold aesthetics in the highest regard the way an ascetic holds god in the greatest of esteem. Money is not the goal of all things, only business, if that were true many great inventions would not exist. Living your life worrying about your 401K and social security is a truly pathetic first world problem. That's living in fear and it's no kind of life at all. Even with your 401K and social security check you are going to end up like everyone else, inevitably dead. And, along the way you will probably rack up a bunch of chronic illnesses and wind up sitting around in old age looking back trying to estimate if you lived your life to the fullest. If your desire was to make art then at least you can look back on your art and say this is what I made and who I was. As a scared wage drone, trying to be a good slave on a money plantation, you are going to have nothing, but a couple of acorns you stocked away, and that won't be enough with the rise in the cost of living and your consumption rate. Even the home you'll own will be little more than your coffin ultimately. The only real value and worth to your life is the one you give it, not some numbers on a ledger. I can laugh at your opinions comfortably. I am one of those people with a Ivy Engr. degree/s and I still make film. In fact, I'm more of a filmmaker than an Engr. I spend all my money on my art and I wouldn't think of living any other way. I'm a creative, that's why I'm an Engr. and also why I'm an artist. Everyone needs to accept who they are and stop trying to be who they think others want them to be. I could care less about being Spielberg, winning academy's or any other egotistical external bauble. This art is about me and for me. It's philosophy made concrete. Oh yeah, I have two kids as well. We live in the most expensive city in the USA and somehow I'm doing all of this and sticking to my dreams. I want my kids to believe in themselves and not be a boat-rower. Anyone reading this should do the same and don't let these fear-mongers destroy you. Only dead fish swim with the current.

October 9, 2015 at 12:10AM

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vishnu
EP / Writer / DIR
81

Bravo! Finally someone said it :)

October 9, 2015 at 8:17PM

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zetty
Filmmaker
679

I relate to what Simon is saying and thinking with somewhat painful clarity. I'm 42 and feel like I have only just recently found myself as a film maker, it is no accident that this coincides with me also finding out in a much more profound way who I am as a person. It takes time to do both.

From the age of 21, I wanted so much to become a great film maker. To make it. To reach the summit and to be crowned as a famous director - I longed to have that golden baseball cap lowered regally onto my brilliant head. I wanted to sit all day on my Chapman dolly throne, next to a Panavision camera the size of a fridge and look majestically down a two foot long viewfinder, (why are those hollywood viewfinders so long, surely that's just showing off). I read every biography I could, tried to glean every grain of dvd extra, behind the scenes gold that I could in order to get there. I worked for years, decades - 6 day weeks in dark back lot sheds, crawled about on sound stages all over the world and blew my wages on making ill conceived short films that never lived up to my lofty expectations but I didn't and couldn't realise then that what I was really doing all those years scrabbling about at the bottom of the heap wasn't failing but evolving.

Something we are all taught, quite wrongly is that every life, every golden career is methodically worked toward, that it is sculpted by its owner into the perfect finished thing we see before us. This is not the truth or at least not the whole truth. The truth is far more beguiling and far, far more rewarding. We do not become who we wish to be but instead evolve into who we are best at being. We eventually fit our environment and our lives perfectly. You find yourself as a film maker just as you do as a person, you don't make yourself into one.

I think maybe the reason we don't take this on at first is that it requires a certain amount of letting go and we are taught to fear this sort of approach. It sounds too much like some quasi spiritual instruction to do nothing and see what the cosmos gives back to you. Letting go though is not the same as giving up. Evolving into the film maker that you are meant to be requires letting go of the persona of other famous film makers who have gone before you. The only thing you need to give up on is ever being them. Terrence Malick is already doing a pretty good job of being Terrence Malick.

Another way of letting go that's important is the realisation that we are image shepherds, not sheep. Driving and herding ideas and pictures, not giving birth to them. Often the best stuff is, or at least seems to be, accidental - to wander out of thin air and stand there blankly chewing its cud, as if to say 'Yep, I'm a great idea and you spent two years failing to come up with me, so what."
I used to hate that, now I've learnt to really love it.
It's pretty magical when you get over branding everything as yours.

I think however the biggest thing to give up on is a creative identity. Sometimes we adopt creation I think partly because we want to be admired for it. Being worthy and loved becomes linked with a thing you make outside of yourself.
One minute you're drawing a tree, tongue out without a care in the world, just because, damn you really love that green crayon, then someone says, "wow, you're a really good drawer" and bam, your drinking cheap wine in some down town bar and lamenting the tragic fact that nobody will ever discover you as the greatest painter the world has never known.
At first it feels good to be praised for your superior crayon wielding skills, but you develop a hunger for it. No amount of external creative success will ever sate that appetite though because this form of exhibitionistic creative need stems from a deep self doubt that without this external crutch, (this I am a film maker) you are, maybe, not worthy at all, perhaps, in actual fact, a little unlovable. There are scores of unhappy, famous, 'successfully' creative people chasing this external affirmation. But really, who wants to feel they actually might live or die by something as fickle as the box office. We should all try and remember we are not film makers but people who make films or want to make films. The most important part we need to conquer first is the people part, not the medium we choose to express that personhood with.

What we forget and need to remember, is what first sparked that creativity before it became so enslaved to our identity. At first we didn't attempt to be good at something we just revelled in the wonder of the world, made little mountains out of gravel and flew over them in our minds. This spirit of rapture in the world is what creativity in its purest sense is, this is why we should be creating. Taking things apart and putting things together.

Best of all there is no failure or success in this joy of exploration, only the joy of doing. If we can approach film making in this way, as a thing that is not an extension of our need to be seen but rather our need to see then perhaps the time we spend on it, late into the night and the things we miss out on by doing it will not be so much a sacrifice - a failure to reach someone else's summit but a personal, celebratory experience of being alive in the world.

Don't worry just get back to really loving that green crayon.

October 4, 2015 at 1:26PM, Edited October 4, 1:48PM

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Paul fern
Film maker
152

Really well said Paul.

October 5, 2015 at 3:07PM

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Tommy Plesky
Director / D.P / Editor
1774

"What we forget and need to remember, is what first sparked that creativity before it became so enslaved to our identity. At first we didn't attempt to be good at something we just revelled in the wonder of the world".

That's quite inspiring Mr Fenn * I'd love to read more of your writings.

October 5, 2015 at 8:58PM

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LPhnix
Philo/Wrter/StoryMaker and so on.
60

Filmmaking isn't a good career choice as the pay does not equal the effort. A film school graduate can't easily get a $50,000 a year job right out of college like an engineer or programmer. I got an Electrical Engineering degree and work as a programmer because I get paid $95,000 a year to work 37.5 hours a week, get good benefits, and have over a month of vacation time a year (for family and filmmaking). I've had worse jobs with longer hours and fewer benefits but the pay has always been high and finding the jobs has always been easy. There's no way I could do that with filmmaking. I make films in my spare time for fun. It takes a bit longer to complete them but I don't have to ignore my family or starve. Space Trucker Bruce ( https://youtu.be/kcOaAqGBWLo ) Took me six years to make working on it in the evenings and weekends. It was fun. With the explosion of content and everyone making features on their iphones, the best decision a filmmaker can make is to find another career they like that pays the bills then make movies in their spare time. The balance is to do what you need to do so you have time and money to do what you love. So when you get home from work, don't waste time watching TV, on the internet (like me), or playing computer games. Make your movie instead.

October 4, 2015 at 4:19PM

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Anton Doiron
Creator/Filmmaker
626

I wish I'd had the insight of this guy when I was 17. I feel that at 31, I'm still grappling with the same questions he's raising here.

October 5, 2015 at 5:37AM, Edited October 5, 5:37AM

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Jake Gorton
Producer
323

I like it, but if you mute the video the dude looks like he is having a seizure. :)

October 5, 2015 at 4:05PM

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Csonka Olivér
Wannabe anyone
107

Simon you are very wise for your age which is refreshing to see! It's such a great point because this can happen in all different career paths. I'm still trying to figure out the balance being 28 and having worked in the industry for five years now. Keep up with your discoveries and never stop learning new things! Cheers Mate!

October 6, 2015 at 12:37AM, Edited October 6, 12:37AM

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Brian Roth
Cinematographer
81

This reminds me of a Louis CK bit of standup. He said that he really started to get good at comedy when it wasn't ALL that he was focused on. He had become a father and the lives of his two little girls really, really mattered to him. Something that was actually important! as opposed to making jokes about the shape of his dick. So yeah, find something in your life that really completes you, makes you happy, etc. so your creative endeavors are not your sole source of happiness (because then you'll be miserable if your movie/music/painting/etc. does not get your fame and riches). So that's what I've been trying to do. Be happy, and then your art will follow. I mean, Louis CK must know what he's talking about, haha...

October 6, 2015 at 12:48PM

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nolan merchan
Writer-Director
81

Insightful, but I heard this at a 99U conference a few years ago or last year, or was it AdobeMax, or Siggraph or a bunch of other creativity conferences I've attended=) Not claiming anything he said isn't true. But c'mon, dispensing advice as if you have the experience to back it up, rings sort of hollow and at least he admits it at the end this time...kudos. Some of the other videos, not so much. Props for the effort in sharing with those who don't pay to hear it from guys/gals who have been out there and already succeeded.

October 6, 2015 at 5:32PM

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Josh.R
Motion Designer/Predator
774

I'm personally more on the TV Production Side for over 25 years
where Corporate Clients pay the bills, so i am VERY LUCKY in
that respect where I can actually make a living.

On the TRUE FILMMAKING side of things, if you're in your
early 20's FORGET ABOUT having a real life! Your passion
for making movies will be all-consuming and friends, family
and relationships MUST fall by the wayside if you want to
fight your way to the top. And you WILL be fighting tooth
and nail becuase this is a game where it truly IS about being
the last man or woman standing. The key to being a top-notch
Cinematographer or Director or Producer is to simply outlast
everyone else! Then by default (if you have actual talent!),
the studios will be choosing YOU for projects and your minimum
Director's Guild fee of $17,000 Per Week can be put to good use!

( i.e. Search for DGA Rate Cards 2013 - 2014)]

But BEFORE that happens you will literally be crawling over the
dead bodies of your comrades as they drop out of the race one-by-one
to get "Real Jobs" until you are the only one left at the top of the
Directorial and Cinematographic heap!

It takes 10,000 HOURS and TEN YEARS to become a Master
at your craft, so start EARLY and STUDY/WORK HARD at your
craft...You'll have time in your 30's to find love and have kids!
But In your twenties --- Fugeddiboutit! --- You life will be nothing
but DIRECTING, CAMERA WORK AND EDITING --- THAT'S IT!

October 7, 2015 at 3:36PM

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Henry A. Eckstein
Director, Research and Development
199

I'm not Simon Cade's biggest fan, but this episode gave me immense respect for him. I don't know if it was just me but his maturity about his film lessons placed him about 20-21 years in my mind. A bit older than me.

Then this successful figure with a popular Youtube channel and a lot more knowledge about film than I have tells me he's 17. Shocker.

Like, what the hell have I been doing with my life?

October 8, 2015 at 12:00PM, Edited October 8, 12:00PM

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Torsten Pearson
Writer-Director-Editor
455

I just read these posts and thought I should tell you the end of the story not the beginning. I am close to the end being well over 60. I went to SVA in NY worked in advertising on big accounts and smaller boutique businesses. Created an award winning design company. Taught a few hours a week at Art institute to help creatives. Started producing doing big sales meeting staging shows with celebrities, and full show sites in many locations. Multiple screens and video shoots production on site and thousands of people attending. Video was a part of these shows and using full crews and post houses made many productions. Did charity work struggled 20 years ago making doc about homeless. I always had still camera's and camcorders. About 5 years ago I started doing my own documentary producing with triathlon's, marathon's museum opening, dance recital etc. Looking for and making projects. Had to learn much more about the camera's my crew's shot with. Went to NAB every year. Am a decent editor now. A story teller. Easy with my experience.
Advisor the a famous chef reviving her Emmy award winning tv series.
I am struggling with finances grandson is special needs my daughter needed help.
I have also run my own businesses since 1980. I have viewed life since being a teenager as creative. Have directed/called live shows. worked with some incredible talents in tech and production. OK you are saying is this bragging??
No it is a life. Never easy. Shot 3 day sport event other day got a few shots with my shotgun in corner frame. I hear I am a filmaker. It will be a life of no material stuff. The gear is too expensive. How will I retire. A conspirancy to make my life hard. I love it but....
My career was not that successful in my mind. It was a journey. it still is a journey.
I hear so much anxiety. Their is so much to be done in documentary. It is a game changer many times when it is well done. Walk down the street and look for some people who look like they are really struggling. Shoot, shoot and shoot more.
We have to separate serious film shooting from run and gun story telling and news.
Multiple camera's filming a concert of a huge business show. A commercial with intense production on every second seen.
Being creative is a gift of fascination and being an observer. Embrance it. Live it. Do it all the time or part time. Don't push yourself take your time to create your life.

October 9, 2015 at 12:28AM

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Tom Daniels
Producer New Eyes Productions & Meeting Concepts Inc
81