October 2, 2014 at 10:34AM

0

Film making Full time

I know there is no definitive answer for this, but I am curious as to when you knew it was time to quit your job and pursue Film full time? I currently work full time and do my film making on my spare time, and occasionally at work I get inspired and shoot a sketch on my phone. I am grateful to be working and have a fulltime job, but the amount of time I spend there I would rather be perfecting my craft creating, and seeking more clients. I dont have nearly enough film work to justify quitting my job yet, but how would I go about it? again I know there is no one answer for this but I would like to hear how some of you deal/ or have dealt with this struggle.

26 Comments

You can find a job like this with jobs like weddings and all stuff.

October 3, 2014 at 3:49AM, Edited October 3, 3:49AM

13
Reply
avatar
Ragüel Cremades
Film producer and director
7594

I knew it was time to quit and do it full time when I tried to shoot a documentary in the Amazon Jungle... during the vacation time I accrued at my day job. I was down there for about two weeks, and it just wasn't enough time. I came out of there with about 15 hours of beautiful footage, and I felt I had done as good a job as I could've, but I just wasn't there long enough. That's when I knew then I couldn't do it part-time!

October 3, 2014 at 3:35PM

11
Reply
avatar
Ryan Koo
Founder
Writer/Director

@Ryan Koo, that sounds like an epic encounter. what is the documentary about? I know for a fact I want to do this full time, it's just a matter of making sure I can bring in the revenue to still take care of my Fiance and myself.

October 3, 2014 at 3:53PM

0
Reply
avatar
Luis Garcia
Director/Editor
227

I'm doing it full time now, retiring at an early age (retired Law Enforcement Supervisor) makes this possible. Less than a year ago, I left a job I took after I was retired which paid really well to persue this. Being in NYC is a plus because I've had the fortune to work with a numerous amounts of really talented people who are willing to "show you the ropes" on how everything works.

October 4, 2014 at 1:15PM

0
Reply
avatar
Enrique Olivieri
Film Maker/Writer/Actor
164

You might see if it's possible to cut back on your full time hours, even working 4 days a week with a pay-cut will free up some time to take on smaller video projects.

October 4, 2014 at 2:54PM, Edited October 4, 2:54PM

12
Reply
Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer
30620

Read entrepreneur.com daily for advice and encouragement. It's the same as launching a startup, the startup being YOU. It takes guts and it takes grits, but if you're doing what you love (as a filmmaker), then making ends meet will be worth it. And you will. You'll get creative. When food and a roof over your head are on the line, you'll figure it out.

October 4, 2014 at 11:41PM

1
Reply

I didn't know that it was time, but I had a really awful experience with a customer and decided leave the customer service industry that day. I started finding work on Craigslist and voila, now I'm shooting full time.

October 5, 2014 at 6:12AM

0
Reply
avatar
Isaiah Corey
Director of Photography
267

try looking for a job that will have you involved with the industry.
i started as a sound mixer in a music studio (quad nyc) then sound mixing for nbc, moved to switch board for live tv, editing, then location editing and coordination, then camera operating.
Started taking projects on the side in my off time.
i had a lot of music contacts from my sound days and this was right when everybody started shooting videos.
there will come a time when you'll know you can take off. of course there is a risk factor but you 'll be able to access and balance confidence vs go vs skill

October 5, 2014 at 12:00PM

8
Reply
Kazu Okuda
Filmmaker
1321

I just quitted my day job to pursue a carreer as a director. I am not going to lie, the beginning is hard, since you don't have any clients or a way to find them. But I believe that if you keep creating GOOD stuff (that's pretty subjective) eventually, people will start noticing your work and maybe will consider you for projects. Living as a film maker is not easy, but personally, I think it is worth it. Once you grow old, you sit back on that comfy chair, you can sit back and watch everything you've done. From your firm short film, to even a movie. Who knows, life is too short not to try. Good luck buddy, and keep your head up.

October 6, 2014 at 2:55AM

10
Reply
avatar
Tommy Plesky
Director / D.P / Editor
1941

Luis, first and foremost one has to have a killer reel.

Second one has to be chased by all of the student film actors and actresses who want that one to be their director / DP.

Anything less and its too early.

October 6, 2014 at 8:49PM

9
Reply
avatar
Alex Zakrividoroga
Director
3815

Do you have the option to go part-time? I went down to three days a week a couple of years ago to make time for film making. I've heard 'go for broke' success stories from those who gave themselves no alternatives to rest on, but this seems unworkable for most people. Keeping dependable employment which could cover slimmed-down living costs was essential for me. There is a lot to be said for promised money in your bank every month. Other people in your life may care about this too!

Perhaps this won't be a concern for you, but also worth considering is the strange shift which seems to happen when you're contractually obliged to deliver something, not just exploring it for your own interests. It's easy to imagine life as a 'creative' and filter out the likelihood that it will involve similar hassles and monotony to the escaped office job.

By way of general advice, being 'the video guy' within some local community - music scene, local charities, local theatre - seems to be a good approach for regular work and referrals, even if you have your sights set on bigger things. And it's easy to spend too much time online drilling technical knowledge and pixel peeping - clients seem to care more about enthusiasm, quiet problem solving and time scales.

Bonne chance!

October 9, 2014 at 8:02AM

11
Reply

Fantastic & thoughtful advice here. ^^

January 4, 2015 at 10:41AM

13
Reply
avatar
Shawn C
Charlotte-based Filmmaker & Photographer
124

@Ben Johnston unfortunately I dont really have an option to cut down my full time work. I am planning a wedding (Holy shit) and have student loans and blah blah blah, you know bills and bills. I know you have to have patience for these things but since I cannot cut down on my work what I have been trying to do is sporadically work on my film stuff while at work and do what I can when I get home..... which can be very exhausting but from what I understand this business is all about sacrificing. I've been looking at some local production companies in my area but unfortunately I can't just go take on a low paying job to get my foot in the door. It's crazy but I know this is what I want to do so I just have to keep at it, and keep creating.

October 29, 2014 at 10:13AM

1
Reply
avatar
Luis Garcia
Director/Editor
227

One option is to look for a job involving filmmaking. I had the luck to get hired at a communication department where they needed a film maker to make communicational/promotional movies and also a lot of e-learning movies. I am educated as a journalist and learned myself to work with movie (in an amature way). But during my work at the communication department I learned so much, about film making, but also about working professionally and commercially. In my spare time (I work 4 days a week) I try to get jobs that I am more interested in personally (like editing a documentary).

I noticed more and more companies are interested in the use of movie. Maybe try to actively contact companies if they are interested in having a film maker in their team. Good luck with it.

January 4, 2015 at 8:15AM

0
Reply
Itam
74

It took me about 3 years. I was working full time in a call centre but started www.treetopfilms.co.uk by filming weddings on weekends and taking days off if a client required filming on a week day. I then asked my full time employer for 1 day off a week which I then used to grow the business. Then after a while for 2 days.

Slowly but surely, I built up a client base and now run Tree Top full time. Now in my spare time, I use the companies equipment to make short films.

January 4, 2015 at 8:39AM

5
Reply

Always maintain that full time/part time job but at the same time, do film making on the side until you are confident enough that film making can become your full time job. That is when you know it's the right time to quit your non-film making job. It's reality, we all need some sort of income to survive.

Doing double duty is not easy and it's not going to be if you truly want to work in the filming industry.

January 4, 2015 at 8:44AM

0
Reply
avatar
VT Lithyouvong
Producer / Director
74

I knew it was time when I decided that it was time to live life on my terms. I'd left film school and was working at a shop to get by, which I hated. On the side I was participating in projects with various companies but I always found it hard to devote the time to them. At some point after discussing it with friends and family I decided it was time. It's come with lots of sacrifices, I now live with my parents because I'm only in the first year of freelance work, but I'm making enough money now to move out. Go with your gut, if it's what you want to do then do it but be prepared to have to work hard for long hours and stressing about getting work. Having said that I enjoy my job and it's made me happier because of it.

January 4, 2015 at 9:12AM

9
Reply
avatar
Jamie Sergeant
Selfshooting Filmmaker, Writer
128

Get part-time gigs or freelancing assignments in the area of film-making that you want to specialise in, whether it be writing or producing. To direct, you'd need to have strong writing/acting or cinematography skills and honing that is really important before just jumping in. Like everything that is a serious hobby, it is fun but it can get tedious and old really fast especially if you're not patient and it becomes a job, so my advise is to take baby-steps and not want to plunge deep into the cold water before figuring out how to develop your skills and inject your creative personality into it i.e to develop your voice. And like VT said, "Go with your gut." It normally is right even though you may not see the results right away. :)

January 4, 2015 at 9:21AM

0
Reply
avatar
Persis Shanker
Writer/Producer and Director & Digital Project Manager
86

I started my company in October 2011, at the age of 23. It was far too early for me, I just didn't have enough experience, enough of a network or enough knowledge of business.

However, I took a part-time job, working three days a week at a local charity. I delivered film and media projects with young people. This was my apprenticeship, I was able to take risks, learn my craft, discovering an aesthetic, and build up a really useful network.

And, I continued to work on business in my spare time. Only taking on projects that I was passionate about.

At the end of this month I leave my part-time job and continue with my company full time. At this moment of time it's incredibly scary. But, I wouldn't change things for the world. I have a number of projects lined up. And, I know the network I have built up over the years will be key to any future success.

The one piece of advice I would give is know what type of filmmaker you want to be. What is it you want to direct/produce and why. I think when money is involved it's too easy to take on projects because they pay the rent.

Good luck!

January 4, 2015 at 11:36AM

0
Reply

I used to work for Apple as "CREATIVE." An extremely fun job that allowed me to teach a lot of what I had learned in film school. I spent everyday teaching people how to create on their Macs, iPhones, iPads and cameras. It felt good to show people that they had the power to create anything they wanted no matter their age and skill level.

I spent almost two years teaching software, photography and filmmaking. I was helping so many people reach their creative goals, but set mine aside in lieu of a weekly paycheck.

One day I called my mother and told her I wanted to make a movie.
She said, "How long is that going to take?"

"If I start writing a script tomorrow...probably two years to put it all together," I told her.

"What do you do need?" she asked.

"I need to quit my job and move back home." I said.

After a brief pause she said "do what you have to do to be happy, I love you and I'll see you later."

That same day I quit my job, cleared out my 401k and my savings so that I could survive while formulating my plan. My film school friend who is now my business partner and I started a production company called Gorilla Ocho Films: Films That Make You Go Ape-Sh!t.

After watching a number of kickstarter campaigns including Ryan Koo's for inspiration we decided to shoot some test footage and start our own campaign. We failed to hit our mark, BUT we did get exposure and people were interested in our idea, so we then tried an indieGoGo campaign. We promised our funders that NO MATTER HOW MUCH MONEY WE RAISED we would produce a full length R-rated superhero action comedy, about two young men who lose their porn-shop clerk jobs, and decide to become superheroes for hire when they accidentally save someone's life. Talk about niche, huh?

On May 29 2014 we set out to make a feature film with only $4,100 bucks, two cameras, a very small crew and limited resources. We had a tiny budget, BUT, hey, we had a budget so we forged ahead, and on November 28th (37 shooting days in between) we wrapped on our film. Was it hard? Yes. Did we have to sacrifice a lot? Yes. At any point did I feel lost while steering the ship? Yes, but I kept going. Making filmmaking my full time job has tested me in so many ways but I'm happy because I set out to shoot an entire feature film on a micro budget, and I, with my small team made it happen.

I'll be in post production for the next six months because I am editing the entire thing myself, but you can check out the teaser on our site which I'll add below.

If you want to do it then find a way to do it. I read some great responses above with awesome advice, but nothing happens if you don't take a step into the unknown first. You can prepare and over prepare, but your intuition will guide you and your self affirmation will be your strength. Know your goal, know your value as a creative individual and improve your skill-set everyday so when you finally venture out you can handle the pressure and blessing of being a full time filmmaker.

Best of luck! Go make a movie!

GC

Here's the link to my teaser, the full extended trailer will be out later this month.

http://28minuteepic.com

January 4, 2015 at 12:31PM

0
Reply

I never quit from my job to be full time in film because I started working in film making since I was student in university, it was just part time job. But after graduated until now I still here, in film field. So, I am full time film making freelancer for more than 5 years :)

January 4, 2015 at 1:25PM

0
Reply
avatar
Kiki Febriyanti
Director
81

After doing video and eventing part time for years, I married a nurse. They make killer money and between my savings and her hard work, I was finally able to create my own steady work and quit working for others.

Moral? Marry up. Always, marry, up... I'm mostly, partially kidding. Sort of.

Honestly, partnering up with my potential competitors in a more collaborative sense made a big impact on the work I would eventually do. Find someone/others to pair up with if you can.

January 4, 2015 at 7:02PM

0
Reply
avatar
Yancy
123

If you want to pursue Film full time you should take a chance and do it instead of waiting and trying to figure out the best time. I used to work part time as a filmmaker and had a full time job in finance and I never was able to create anything that great. I decided to quit my full time job one day and now its been great so far. I am currently working as a freelancer and its been great. It is very competitive and can make you want to quit and take up that full time job that you had but just have a little faith and everything will work out.

January 4, 2015 at 10:22PM, Edited January 4, 10:22PM

0
Reply
avatar
Rejina Sincic
Director/Writer
74

I think one thing that might be missing from this discussion is how to make the leap into freelance or shooting weddings, or doing whatever. Very few are so gifted that they simply "decide" to be a freelancer and suddenly - boom, they have work. Even as I write this, I don't work full time in film. I actually have three jobs, and support a family. I shoot freelance when I can get it, I work as a Film-maker In Residence for a film-making organization (make video content & teach), and still work a retail job. All the while, I still self-fund my own projects and shoot lots of my own content.

What's the moral? Find ways to do lots of work that you care about - in any way you can. Do lots of it, and put yourself on deadlines like you were paid to do it. Meet lots of people to work with. Network network network (Something I suck at, but organizations like Raindance (www.raindance.org) are great for). Eventually you will do good work, and have worked with lots of cool and talented people along the way. I'm still on that journey, and I think my work still has a LONG way to go - but that same plan got me the job at Raindance, films in majors festivals, freelance directing work, etc).

...And the most important thing to remember is this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BI23U7U2aUY&feature=youtube_gdata_player

Good luck!

January 6, 2015 at 1:50PM

1
Reply
avatar
Dale Sood
Director & Cinematographer
79

A comment just to thank all of you, your comments has been really inspiring.

I have a full time job, with good salary, and from the beginning, I did want a job that permits me to make all the things I want artistically. So since I began to work, I spent nights, week ends, holidays on my goals. It's hard sometimes but I'm very happy of where I am today : I've 2 bands which tour well (and been in 2 others bands for some years), I shot a few music videos... And now I feel ready to finally have the courage to try to make films. I'll do whatever it takes to make it happen !

So to sum up, I just want to say that a day job really helps me doing what I wanted, while don't worrying about money. It's kinda luxury.
I think I'll quit my job if one day I realize I don't have enough time to do what I want (it WILL happen, I know) or if I get a triggering opportunity.

Good luck and have a good day !

August 30, 2016 at 3:50AM

0
Reply
avatar
Fabien W. Furter
Filmmaker / Musician
62

You can break the questions down. Firstly, 95% of the people who commented on this thread don't make a living on Fiction/Narrative filmmaking as directors which are the types of films 95% of people want to direct. So client based projects is how directors make a living - one for passion, one for commerce, one narrative experimental short film about what keeps you up at night - one spec commercial..and so on. A reel is pretty much essential as a director, or getting someone to hire you as a director. You can cut a dramatic reel and a commercial reel. Website, business cards, email and social, the works. BUT outside of this end-ish goal you CAN make a living within the industry...it just depends on where you are in life. If you're single, no kids, little responsibility and no major career, then you can volunteer on sets /do apprenticeship and join the union and work as a PA/AD and meet all the people you need to know. Some people can't just move to a film centre and commit to that. I can't stress CONTACTS enough, now with so many people working in this industry to have solid contacts within the actual legitimate industry is so important....not other broke filmmakers, like producers/directors that you can shadow, learn from, mentorship type stuff.....if you work in the industry and build contacts doing crew work it not only puts you in film/tv mecca, it also takes some pressure off of the indie goals...'I always think, if my films don't make it one day, then I'm just a waiter'

January 24, 2017 at 1:31AM

0
Reply
avatar
Matt Joyce
Actor, Writer, Director
1

Your Comment