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The Journey of a Filmmaker

The Journey of a Filmmaker

The journey of a filmmaker is unique in ways that only those of us who are on that journey can sympathize with. This journey, whether grand or mundane, is a difficult one.

One that involves closed doors, missed opportunities, late nights, the occasional pounding of the head against one’s desk while waiting for something to render. Entering into this journey is not something that should be taken lightly, but those who enter it are in for a quest that spans not a few years, but a lifetime.

 Frank Capra, director of It’s a Wonderful Life and a host of hit films in the 1940s and 50s said;
Others in Hollywood have compared the movie makers desire to a bug that bites you, and once you have been bitten, there is no turning back. What is it about making movies that drives us to keep wanting to make movies or to begin the journey in the first place?

It is seldom done for the recognition. Perhaps it is the satisfaction of creating something that will be enjoyed by others. Maybe it is the only outlet of creative juices that bubble inside your head ready to burst at any given moment. It may in fact be the love of art and seeing all the details of a masterpiece come together in a hugely unique way.

While you may never be able to explain this bug to your friends and family, who wish you would just get a “normal” job and get your head out of the theater, take heart that you are not alone on the journey. The men and women who have shaped cinema through the years have gone through the same struggles, criticism, and hard work.

During a Hollywood Reporter interview, Director Oliver Stone spoke about his personal journey in filmmaking by saying; “It’s tough. It’s a long haul. You go through a lot of defeat, there is a lot of setbacks for everybody. We have some success here and there, but it feels like there are more failures than successes.”

 This story can be repeated across the board for anyone in the industry, but the love of movies and the desire to tell a story has driven the greats to persevere. It is what inspired Steven Spielberg as a young boy to take up his father’s Super 8mm camera and begin telling his own stories. He had been bitten, and this passion would drive him to eventually drop out of college to pursue filmmaking.

 Success doesn’t come overnight, and it certainly isn’t easy. Walt Disney was forced to sell his first cartoon company because he went broke, Spielberg was rejected by the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts, John Lasseter was fired by Walt Disney before being re-hired to direct Toy Story in 1995.
The road is hard, and with the rise of YouTube, digital cameras, and increasingly accessible technology and information, the road for the modern day filmmaker is full of opportunity. But with the increase in opportunity comes the increase of risk.

Let the risk inspire you, not stop you. Let the last closed door drive you to perfect your skills to be ready for the next door. Why do we embark on this crazy journey? Because we are story tellers. You have a story to tell, and it is worth telling if you tell it with passion.

Remember, the failures become part of your experience. Learn from them, and use them as tools in your toolkit to create the next masterpiece and inspire a new generation of filmmakers.

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