January 26, 2016

Filmmaking's No Cake Walk. Here Are 5 Ways to Keep Yourself Creatively Motivated

There are tons of reasons to make a film, but there are even more reasons to abandon it all, sell your camera, and accept that job as an accountant.

Okay, there's nothing wrong with being an accountant -- they do important work -- but if your passion is to make films, you should probably stick with your gut, heart, or whatever it is that drives you, and make those films. The rub here, though, is that there are a bunch of things that can bring you down and take away your motivation to do it: no money, no skills, no audience, no blah, blah, blah.

But Darious Britt has once again provided you with some excellent advice on how to get (re)motivated and reignite your passion to make those movin' pictures. Check out his video below:

Here are the tips that he says helped him in his dark, unmotivated days:

Learn the backstory of influential figures that you look up to

"Hey! If they can do it, so can I!" Damn right! Some of our most celebrated artists were just complete losers, you guys. Learning about their humble beginnings might help you feel less hopeless about your humble -- right nows. Just look at Wes Anderson and Owen Wilson at their first Sundance Film Festival -- they're just two green, excited, inexperienced, but very talented guys who got the greatest news of their lives. This photo has helped me push through my doubt, my hopelessness, my ennui, and get stuff done.

Wes Anderson & Owen Wilson at Sundance after signing a deal to make 'Bottle Rocket'Credit: MUBI

Surround yourself with other filmmakers

There's nothing quite like the constant, humming activity of a creative community to get you off your ass. Hanging out with a bunch of filmmakers can help motivate you, because their collective creativity will drive projects forward (and you'll never run out of requests for you to help them in their own projects). This doesn't even have to be a huge community either. Even having a writing partner helped me get out of the creative funk I found myself in while writing my latest screenplay. Try and find your creative soulmate.

Do side projects

Okay, maybe you're not motivated enough to tackle that big feature film you've been working on, but you could be motivated enough to tackle that comparatively simpler short film you've been thinking about. There's just something about seeing a project, no matter its length, quality, or legitimacy to your reel, all the way from beginning to the end. It helps make you feel accomplished -- like you can see something from start to finish. It provides closure -- no more half-done projects gathering microdust inside some hard drive somewhere.

Do something every day

Work, work, work, work, work, work, work. That's what you gotta do. I know it sounds kind of dumb to tell an unmotivated person to go out and do stuff when that's the opposite of what they actually want to do, but listen -- it's about doing something small for a short period of time. For writers, write a paragraph about your character, or write a line of dialog that you think flows nicely. For directors, watch some commentary on your favorite movie. For DPs, go out and take some pictures around your neighborhood. It doesn't matter what you do as long as you do something.

Just do it

Even when you're tired, alone, broke, and out of ideas, sometimes you gotta be like Mike and just do it. Get. It. Done. Don't have actors, a crew, or any money? Been there -- still finished a movie. Don't have any time to shoot a movie? Full time job, full time school -- still finished a movie. Sometimes you have to suffer before you can enjoy the splendor of a completed project, but it's worth it. It's always worth it.      

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4 Comments

I like this guy and his tips. short and on point

January 27, 2016 at 2:56PM, Edited January 27, 2:56PM

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Daniyar Seisenov
Filmmaker / Editor / Writer
141

Lot's of really useful advice!
I don't agree with hanging out with other filmmakers or doing side projects. Other filmmakers may just want to sit around talking about projects and not actually doing them. In fact I actually took time off from my project to meet with them and do nothing. Side projects are a great way to distract yourself from your main project. I work on different parts of my main feature so I can stay busy all the time. If I can't film I write or set build or storyboard or create props. Staying busy is important but so is focus.

I like his advice about doing something every day. That builds the habit and teaches you to stick with one project. I worked on my film Space Trucker Bruce every day even if it was only 15 minutes.

I loved his costumes and fast editing. This was a very entertaining video.

January 28, 2016 at 12:27AM

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Anton Doiron
Creator/Filmmaker
654

Most projects are 90 percent prep work and 10 percent actual filming. I found that all of my "quick and easy" side projects simply distracted me from my main film that I really want to do and I get further by focusing one one project at a time. I've also found that alternating between the physical activities (prop, costume, etc) and the mental (scriptwriting, storyboarding) helps avoid the rut feeling.

As far as money, having a day job is good for two reasons. 1. You have money for your projects. 2. Spending your day doing mundane work is a great motivator. You can go home and actually enjoy working on your film because it is so enjoyable compared to what you do all day. Do the pre-production nights and weekends and shoot during vacations. After you start making money on your films, then quit and do it full time.

January 29, 2016 at 1:15AM, Edited January 29, 1:17AM

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Ryan Gudmunson
Recreational Filmmaker
355

I totally agree! I work my day job to support my film habit. I'm lucky enough to be a programmer which I also love doing so I have fun being creative and writing code during the day then go home and set/prop build, or plan for my weekend shoots at night. It works pretty good. I've liked the results of my side projects but kicked myself for wasting a week of time on a short comedy skit for a local open projector night. I fight focus issues all the time. it's hard to not distract yourself with little meaningless stuff or the internet.... (realization pause) crap! signing off.

January 31, 2016 at 1:30AM

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Anton Doiron
Creator/Filmmaker
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