We all have big dreams of becoming (better) filmmakers, but how do we know if we actually have what it takes to be one?
In this video, Film Courage offers up an answer in an interview with filmmaker James Kicklighter, who shares some indispensable knowledge about the harsh truths about what it means to be cut out for a career in filmmaking.
Kicklighter makes four crucial points about the differences between "strong" and "weak" filmmakers (a little Darwinian for my taste, but I digress) that will help put your career into perspective:
Is filmmaking a long-term or short-term thing for you?
This is one of the best points Kicklighter talks about, namely because it's a little obscure. If you're working on a project right now, do you know what your next is going to be? If your answer is yes, have you determined how your current project will help you make your next one? This seemingly simple question will open your eyes to the difference between filmmakers who are hobby-minded and those that are career-minded.
Do you have the stamina to make films?
Developing, planning, shooting, editing, marketing, releasing -- making a film can take years, so this work is not for those who don't have endurance. Kicklighter makes a great observation in the video; he says that there isn't a finish line when you make a film, but a series of them. Filmmaking is an arduous journey, and you have to be able to persevere through the many, many mental, emotional, and physical obstacles that will be set before you.
Do you have the capacity to troubleshoot?
Everything goes wrong during every stage of production, and your ability to solve the problems that come your way will determine the kind of filmmaker you are. Having a Plan B, C, D -- Z is essential for being successful, because one snag -- a corrupt file, a difficult actor, an empty bank account -- can derail your whole production.
And remember: don't go to bed angry -- with your film
Filmmaking is a marriage. You will get stressed. You will get depressed. You will second-guess every single decision you make. There will be days where you will be convinced that your film is out to ruin your life, and you will want to abandon it. But one of the biggest differences between a career filmmaker and a hobbyist is maturity. Are you going to let every stumble, problem, and piece of bad news frustrate you to the point of quitting, or are you going to tough it out long enough to remember why you started making your film in the first place?
What qualities do you think make filmmakers career-minded? What has helped you on your journey? Let us know in the comments below!