July 3, 2016

Nobody Cares About Your Film, But Here's Why You Should Still Make It

How does it feel to know that after all the time, effort, and money you spend crafting a film, you might be the only one who truly believes in it?

Though it's not the positive, inspirational message we all want to hear, it's true: nobody really cares about your work. It's not because it's bad or because people are mean and out to get you; it's because we live in a time where the over-saturation of media causes the audience to have exceptionally discriminating tastes. In the past, when only a few dozen films would hit theaters (and there weren't a whole lot of leisure activities to choose from), being picky wasn't a luxury most audiences could afford. Now that the internet and digital filmmaking has democratized cinema, the influx of content is too much for anybody to keep up with, so viewers become increasingly selective. 

So, what do you do? Choose between selling your camera or making films no one will ever see? Sounds kind of sad—and certainly not the kind of circumstances that would motivate many filmmakers to continue exploring their craft. There is one thing, however, that might keep the fire lit inside you to keep pushing through the impossible obstacles in order to reach the level of success you aspire to reach in your film career, and photographer Ted Forbes explores it in the video below.

So, it's not all doom and gloom; there is a light at the end of this exceedingly long and depressing tunnel. The idea that the world doesn't need any more artists—photographers, writers, or filmmakers—is prevalent, and it's easy to understand why this "bitter default" resonates with consumers and creators of content alike. But that dark precept is only partly true, because whether or not you believe the world does or doesn't need more artists, I think we can all agree that the world needs more work that matters.

This work, particularly these films, make us think. They challenge us, inform us, inspire us, and move us. They create awareness for causes and bring issues out from the darkness. They transform and entertain us. They give us something to talk about and something to do. And sometimes they just make us feel a little better than we felt before.

"Our survival as a culture is dependent on work that means something."

That is why you shouldn't give up. That's why you shouldn't sell your camera and hang up your dreams. If you've got something to say, you owe it to your beloved art form to say it. Yeah, the market may be dripping with videos and shorts and features made by filmmakers who may not be making "transcendent" work, or who may not be pushing themselves or the form to new heights. But it's not about them; it's about you. Are you that filmmaker? Is your work going to make us think? Is your work going to challenge, inform, inspire, and move us? Is your work going to be the thing people gravitate towards because it's unifying, transformative, or just plain entertaining? 

Nobody cares about your film. But it's your job to show them why they should.      

Your Comment

18 Comments

Very Motivational! Loved it. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

July 4, 2016 at 12:44AM, Edited July 4, 12:44AM

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nadeem abbas
Director,cinematographer
74

Hi there... This is the first of your videos I've seen - by chance... I absolutely agree. I've been writing and directing films for 20 years. I'm only now just beginning to gain some (however small) recognition or rather my films are. I enjoy films that just entertain (and there's nothing wrong with that) but I've never been interested in making films that just entertain. I knew I wanted to be a film maker when I was nine after I saw a film that made me think about life, my place in it and how I could make it better... and I strive everyday to make films that do the same. Otherwise I wouldnt do it. My industry (particularly at my level) wants only certain kinds of films (action/horror/SciFi)... I love all genres but the industry has focused in on these genres in a very simplistic way as they have become aware of how to sell higher numbers of units of these genres to the public. It's all about a quick buck. I'm not comlaining. I'm very fortunate as I am able to make films very cheaply with high production values, so no one is able to justify stopping me making the films I think should be made or seen. Which are films that matter. Who knows if they will be seen by the masses either in my life time or after. What's important is that I make them. Period. If they have any value they will find their place in good time. All the best to you my friend.

July 4, 2016 at 4:19AM

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Christian Dines
Film Writer, Director, Editor
81

"Who knows if they will be seen by the masses either in my life time or after. What's important is that I make them. Period. If they have any value they will find their place in good time"

Perfectly said! When I studied film in college, I studied some films that didn't get recognized until long after the director had passed away...and chances were, they even got criticized for it when they were alive! But the thing is, the content mattered..and now those same films/directors are praised!

August 8, 2016 at 2:52PM

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Nima Tajbakhsh
Writer/Director
243

I make films/videos because I love to. Whatever come afterwards is a bonus.

July 4, 2016 at 6:42AM, Edited July 4, 6:42AM

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Jerry Roe
Indie filmmaker
898

Now, I record sport matches for my loved amateur team.
For free. They need it. (for analyzing, rewatching)
I connected 2 of my hobbies, I'm pretty happy with that :)

No creativity needed there, but it is useful some way .

July 4, 2016 at 8:35AM, Edited July 4, 8:36AM

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N. Peter
Community / Filmmaker Website leader
86

I don't mean to be the bearer of bad news, but the answer given in the video is kind of a non-answer. I mean is anyone who is making films actually setting out to make something that doesn't matter? On top of the fact that "the world needs more work that matters" is a completely subjective and totally vague statement to begin with because what matters to me may not matter to you. So even when people make things that matter, most people may not care about it.

That said. I am a strong believer in the idea of smaller niche audiences. Not all films or artwork need shoot for the stars and become the next big blockbuster success.
Sometimes a film is made for a certain audience and that audience may only be a handful of people or a few hundred or a certain subculture interested in a certain thing.

For example, I cold make a movie about paintball players that is very technical and precise and would appeal to paintball players or I could make a more general movie about paintball that is less technical and has more mass market elements in it like a love triangle. That might appeal less to paintball players because they'll look at it and see all the mistakes and laugh at how that's not what the scene is really like and dislike how it doesn't drill down into the technical details enough. But it will appeal to more people who have never played paintball, maybe even turn them on to the sport.
However if I set out to make that general paintball movie, I need something to pull those general audiences in, big name stars, very high production value, etc. Otherwise a general audience isn't going to understand why they should see it. But if I make that niche paintball movie that appeals to only paintball players I could probably be forgiven for not having big name stars or a big production budget based purely on the fact that I'm being specific to their sport and highlighting things they care about. Maybe even using people in that movie who are celebrities among that sport but are unknown to general audiences who would care nothing about them and would rather see them replaced by Tom Cruise.

I've also come to realize that it's very rare to make big money and success off of small budget projects. These moonshots happen and we all focus on them because they are so spectacular when they do. When suddenly a Blair Witch Project that cost nothing to make takes the nation by storm and makes a fortune. But the chances of that happening are next to nil. From what I can see in most situations your budget generally reflects your success potential. Not always, there are plenty of flops. But generally if you spend $100 million to make the movie you're going to profit in the hundreds of millions or billions. If you spend $10 million to make the movie, you're probably going to profit in the tens of millions, maybe a hundred or so. If you spends thousands, you probably are only going to profit in the thousands if you get lucky. But the less you spend the less you have to lose as well. So for a lot of us in the thousand dollar league of filmmakers we can really only hope to make our money back and maybe some profit. If we get lucky our film will become a resume to get us a job in the big league doing something on a bigger budget. If we get super lucky, we get a moonshot. But I don’t think you should aim for the latter two, you really have to focus on the first and I think you can do that best by finding a niche audience. But I could be wrong.

July 4, 2016 at 10:13AM

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Mike Tesh
Pro Video / Indie Filmmaker
679

>>>I mean is anyone who is making films actually setting out to make something that doesn't matter?

Probably not, but there is a ton of garbage being produced by both Indie and Hollywood filmmakers.

I go to see the Hollywood films for the fun rollercoaster ride, and I go to see Indie films for the great ideas and emotional heart.

July 4, 2016 at 10:57AM

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Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer
31694

What is the garbage produced by indie filmmakers?

July 8, 2016 at 8:14PM

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Enrique Godinez
Director/Producer/Actor
420

You've got to be kidding if you need to ask that. There's 5,000 garbage indie films for every good one.

July 10, 2016 at 9:00PM

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"Finding your audience versus general audience" is a very good point. I often have the same problem. Should I create something that everyone understands or should I create something a selected few will understand and appreciate...If you're good you can do both I believe.

August 8, 2016 at 2:56PM

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Nima Tajbakhsh
Writer/Director
243

FROM THE THE FIRST PARAGRAPH:
Though it's not the positive, inspirational message we all want to hear, it's true: nobody really cares about your work. It's not because it's bad or because people are mean and out to get you—it's because we live in a time where the over-saturation of media causes audience to have exceptionally discriminating tastes.

I have to disagree....if audiences truly had exceptionally discriminating tastes we wouldn't have stuff like KEEPING UP WITH THE KARDASHIANS or ZOOLANDER 2...its the exact opposite of taste...now I am not some film snob who believes only art house projects of merit should be produced...but when 75% of all tv and film content is nothing more than disposable fast food storytelling (or worse) is produced for people who honestly don't care about what they are watching its hard to make me believe that your claim of "exceptionally discriminating tastes" is really at the heart of the matter here.
Bottom line....great content and story telling always finds a way to get noticed....people do care about that...don't ever forget it.

July 4, 2016 at 11:58AM, Edited July 4, 11:58AM

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"Art is not an occupation. It's an exercise to make your soul grow." - Kurt Vonnegut

July 4, 2016 at 7:28PM

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Jesse Yules
Director
219

The idea of uselessness have kept me from doing anything 'creative', even if I wanted too. It still stops me a bit. Only this year I could begin to write something, at least for personal pleasure. MOOCs helped a lot.
It's tricky the new democratisation of filmmaking,writing, etc: now almost everyone can make a film, short, anything, but that easiness of doing increase the flow of pieces, increase noise and makes any small work harder to find.

July 6, 2016 at 7:36AM

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Abi Stricker
Student
387

As long as you care about what your making, that's what's important. It doesn't have to mean something to others. Who cares about them. Be selfish. Make what you want.
You may spend tons of money and time making your movie then nobody will want to pay to watch it which will suck. Eventually you'll put it on YouTube for free and people will watch it, maybe even like it.

July 8, 2016 at 5:37PM

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Anton Doiron
Creator/Filmmaker
741

I care about my projects and that's enough for me to do them.

July 14, 2016 at 4:10PM, Edited July 14, 4:10PM

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Ryan Gudmunson
Recreational Filmmaker
153

Agreed. I do it for the fun of doing it, the creative challenge. I post my videos on youtube. If I get 30 views or 5,000 it's the same to me. I don't monetize or want to make any money on them. It's a hobby and in the true sense of the word I'm an amateur, one who does the work for the love of doing it.

July 15, 2016 at 8:19PM

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bobspez
Retired unix sys admin
124

Exactly. This is why this is a topic that I have no anxiety about. I don't believe in the competitiveness of this field either because of the points he made. The visions that needed to be told came to me first, not the other way around.

June 24, 2017 at 12:36PM

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This video resonates for me. I dont think there is anything wrong with creating something for fun, or as a hobby on the weekends, or even so people will like it. However, at some point if the creator wants to be taken seriously, the stakes have to be raised. My belief is this is done through the artists consideration. That is, that they consider, deeply, what it is they do and why. Eventually, that should influence every choice that is made on a project within which they are engaged. From the camera selection, to actor, to the script, to colour of boot-laces the main protagonist is wearing. It all matters and means something. Everything must be a part of the story they are trying to move forward. They need not explain it (Bob Dylan never does) but the intention will certainly inform and shine through.

June 24, 2017 at 2:05PM, Edited June 24, 2:07PM

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Christopher
Director / Writer
1