October 29, 2016

4 Things You Can Do to Stay Productive When You're Not Making Films

What should a filmmaker's downtime look like?

Even though a lot of us would like to be making films nonstop, there is always going to be a period of time when you're not working on a project. But instead of spending your days playing video games in a bathrobe, you could be doing things that help further your career and keep you creatively productive. In this video, DP Matthew Workman shares 4 ways you can make the most of your downtime between films. Check it out below:

  • Shoot spec work: Practicing your craft is super important! Shoot something, anything, then edit, color, and upload.
  • Network: Go to parties, events like NAB and IBC, workshops, etc.
  • Hang out with crew outside of work: Common interests go a long way professionally.
  • Document your process: Being prolific on social network sites like Instagram can get you work.

I've always liked to keep busy when I wasn't working on a project—even pulling out my phone to make a short little video of me making coffee at a restaurant as I waited for my friends to show up—but I also think that relaxation should be another thing on this list.

You'll be full of creative fervor at different times in your career, but sometimes you'll need a season of rest. Take that time to reenergize yourself, to gain a little clarity, to do something that isn't related to filmmaking. Since my job has me thinking about cinema and filmmaking from the time I wake up until the time I go to bed, the only break I get from that world was during my (maybe) four hours I sleep I get a night. Sometimes this can feel like an overload, so I allowed myself to develop smaller passions, like cooking, that I can focus on when I need a cinema time out. When I'm in the kitchen trying to perfect a recipe, I get that respite from the thing that occupies 90% of my time, then when I'm back at my desk, I return with a renewed sense of enthusiasm. (And I made bomb ass teres major steaks last night, so...)

What are some things you do to stay productive during your downtime? Let us know in the comments below!      

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2 Comments

That was very good tricks that I have never known before. I will follow to these tricsk to stay productive and to be good film maker in the future.

October 29, 2016 at 10:45PM

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I haven't achieved that so well so far, but it should be "creating" good moments for our friends and family. We spend most of our creativity to make worlds and stories for others to enjoy, but we tend to starve our own world and people of joy and good times. Let's push some "productivity" there for a change.

October 30, 2016 at 4:50PM, Edited October 30, 4:50PM

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Panos Economou
Director / Editor
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Great tips. I would also add that I like to take my "down time" (which, let's face it, is not that much...) to get inspired by other creative works. I don't just want to make films about...films...so I make sure to go to museums, galleries, music performances and all kinds of other performances to get creatively inspired!

October 31, 2016 at 1:29PM

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Liz Nord
Editor-in-Chief & Lead Producer
Documentary Filmmaker/Multi-platform Producer