Ted Hope has some filmmaking tips that bring us back to what really matters.
If you don't know who Ted is, he works tirelessly as an independent film spokesperson and he writes a blog that always contains insightful or meaningful content. Ted's goal is to make film accessible to everyone and to help remove the shroud of secrecy that surrounds show business. He gave some great tips for independent filmmakers while speaking at the Athena Film Festival, and in a move common for Ted, he graciously tweeted that information to the world.
Thanks to Cole Abaius at Film School Rejects for posting this. Here are Ted's tweets:
- Set the agenda.
- Beware of their unexpressed agenda.
- Use passion to open doors.
- Find your community and activate.
- Create tools now for use later.
- Be honest in your communication.
- Walk on a tightrope with conviction.
- Be strategic.
- Don’t ask for permission.
- Embrace the fullest definition of cinema.
- Help people envision themselves as a force of change.
- Know the someone you make the movie for.
- Find a way or make one.
- Let the audience ripple wider.
- Create atmosphere of inevitability.
- Must have great intention.
- Be authentic to yourself.
- Be distinct in the marketplace.
- Make sure you have friends to support you emotionally.
- Look beyond the feature film form.
- Support each other.
- Do your research.
- Build a coalition.
- Establish your brand (what makes you unique).
I particularly like these:
"Be strategic, Don't ask for permission, Find a way or make one."
These are some of the basic ideas that I try to live by in my own filmmaking and they are valuable lessons for people starting out. Making movies is very, very hard. If you happen to be one of those people who doesn't think so, either you aren't doing any of the work, or your final product is probably not anything of worth. If you're working in the creative fields, it's always going to be difficult. You need to come up with a plan for how you're going to execute, but no one should be telling you what you can or can't do. It's your story, stick to your guns and tell it however you think it should be told.
If you come up against obstacles (again if you haven't, then why even read this blog?), find a way to push through them. Filmmaking is a marathon, not a sprint. By being methodical and by working through each problem as it comes your way, you can overcome any of those roadblocks. I've had my share of issues while making films - cars being towed, actors getting sick, potential frostbite, car accidents, losing your only location - but by never getting down on myself, pushing through, and problem-solving, I've been able to complete all of those films.
"Make sure you have friends to support you emotionally"
Surround yourself with like-minded individuals. If your only friends are non-filmmakers, while the emotional support could be beneficial, they honestly don't have much of an idea about what you're going through and the stress you're under. If you're one of the lead creatives in a project, it's going to take a major toll physically and mentally - but if you've got friends who understand the pitfalls of making movies, they can help guide you when you can't see the light at the end of the tunnel. Also, don't surround yourself with negativity. If you've got friends who always say you can't, or won't do something, it's counterproductive. Find positive people who think you can do anything as long as you persevere.
Ted also gives some great insights about the new filmmaking culture - specifically about building and supporting a community, and establishing your brand. These are all important lessons we have to understand. Movies are now accessible to anyone, anywhere, and with that comes quite a bit of overcrowding. The best way to excel is to find people and other filmmakers out there who are just like you, who share the same tastes as you, and work with or support them. Thanks to the internet, you can find and build a community all over the world. This blog is a great example of that.
Establishing your brand sounds a lot like marketing, and in some ways, it is. To me, establishing your brand is about sticking to what you know, being honest with yourself, and putting yourself out there. We all have qualities that make us unique, and it might take a lot of soul-searching for you to find them, but when you do, it's incredibly rewarding, and people will respect you more because you're not trying to be anything you're not.
Got any other tips? What are your favorite pieces of advice and why?
Link: Ted Hope @tedhope - Twitter
[via: Film School Rejects]