A Few Tips on Creating a Tribe of Constructive Filmmakers
We all get by with a little help from our filmmaking friends.
If you work with a group of talented, hardworking, and positive individuals, then count yourself lucky, because many in the filmmaking community haven't found such creatives with which to collaborate on any kind of consistent basis. However, if you're looking to join a creative team, or are wanting to start one from the ground up, that will not only push you creatively but also give you the warm fuzzies, then give this video a watch. In it, travel filmmaker Teppo Haapoja talks about what makes his own tribe of filmmakers work so well together and offers some advice on what you should look for when joining your own. Check it out below. (He starts in on the topic at about the 2:20 mark.)
Gravitate toward positive people
The filmmaking community is soaked in negativity and people who tear down each other and their work without any intention of being helpful. Beware of this. Find people who not only offer constructive criticism but also support and encouragement, because guess what—filmmaking is really, really hard. You're going to make a mess of it, you're going to make noob mistakes, you're going to have really terrible ideas, but you're also going to want to get better and learn new things and have your good ideas acknowledged. Positive individuals understand all of this and always try to work toward solutions rather than simply point out problems.
Find people who are different than you
It's easy to forge relationships through common interests and skills, but you should really try branching out and finding people who are different than you. This could mean meeting people who are super into stuff you've never dipped your toe in, like virtual reality or stop-motion animation or directing music videos, but it could also mean making connections with people from different walks of life, who don't just have different stories to tell but will also tell them differently than you ever would.
Learn from the best
One of the most surefire ways of getting better at filmmaking is by actually making films, but don't rely on your personal experience alone to teach you. Work with people who are better than you at different skills, who have had more experience, who know where your weaknesses lie and can reveal them to you (in a positive way, right?). It's like working out or playing the JV team against the varsity team—you put yourself up against a challenge, learn about your limitations, and push yourself to overcome it.
Do you have a tribe of filmmakers that make your journey as a creative better? What do you look for in collaborators? Let us know down in the comments.