Career Guide: What Is Your Goal?
It’s amazing, but many people start pursuing their filmmaking dreams without a specific goal in mind. The film industry is magnetically alluring. Many people say they just love movies and want to “work in the industry”.
But here’s the truth: there are janitors working in the film industry.
If you aren’t specific, and you don’t understand the pathway to your goal, then you end up in Film Production limbo: working ancillary jobs without getting to your dream position. Or, like many film school grads, you might end up leaving the industry altogether.
However, if you’ve never been on a film set before, or you’re brand new, it’s completely natural to be unclear on what these positions are, what they entail, and how to get them. And also, many positions require that you understand the entire picture of how a movie is made. A good Director also needs to understand editing, lighting, etc.
Do you want to be a…
1. Director – I’ve talked with hundreds of filmmakers over the years, and I’ve found that honestly and truthfully, most people want to direct their own movies, but they don’t know how to do it. Or they don’t believe it’s possible, so they end up settling for more subordinate careers or positions within the film industry.
Directing is sexy, there’s no denying it. It’s your vision, your movie, your name goes on the titles. But just because everyone wants to direct, few do. Did you know fewer than 1% of film school grads ever even make a feature film?
There is no “ladder” to climb to become a director. In 2013, there’s never been a more direct route available to direct your own full length movies. To learn more about what a Director actually does and how to become one, click here.
2. Producer – The truth is that even if you just want to Direct, in your early productions you will more than likely have to take on some Producing roles. Producing is basically being “the person who gets stuff done”. That’s it. It requires hustles, drive, problem solving skills, passion, and a commitment to the Director’s vision.
It doesn’t require a degree; in fact a degree can get in your way and hold you back.
If you’re considering Business School, a Masters or an MBA in Producing, click here to learn more about the reality facing grads of these programs versus what the schools promise.
There are different kinds of Producers, which you know if you’ve ever watched the credits of a movie. Associate Producers, Executive Producers, Producers, Line Producers… what do all these names and what exactly does a Producer do and how can you start doing it right now?
3. Screenwriter – You don’t have an appetite for camera lenses or production, but you have an active imagination and dream of having your stories brought to life on the big screen. You want to come up with the scenes, the plots, the great lines of dialog that a Director and Producer will absolutely be delighted by and want to invest their time and energy into making a movie.
You want to be a Screenwriter, and that’s tough. There are roughly 40,000+ spec scripts written a year, and fewer than 1% are ever optioned or bought in full. Screenwriting is very alluring because it seems like anyone can do it; all you need is a computer and some software, right? Not really.
Majoring in Screenwriting in school is about as wasteful as majoring in Philosophy. The good news is that there are resources available to learn Screenwriting faster and smarter than in school. And, if you’re creative and resourceful, there are other ways of getting your script produce than praying that it’s bought by a Hollywood studio.