There are many pros and cons to independent filmmaking! These can be widely debated, but inevitably it all comes down to timing and personal abilities.
No matter what avenue one takes to make a film, it’s an extreme amount of work and takes real personal dedication (like no other job that I can think of!).
Our film, “Living Lost”, started out with a short film, “No Solicitors”. This was the springboard for the full-length feature and it was used to secure financing and get our team in place for Living Lost. Like all great plans of mice and men, it worked to get the team in place, and then of course…the major financing fell through. We quickly had to make a decision: Ditch the film entirely or pour our own money into it since the team, locations, and equipment were in place. Well, we certainly didn’t want to wait a year to secure new financing and have to start over with a whole new crew…and we truly believed in our film.
We jumped in with both feet!
This goes back to my point about timing and personal choice, which cemented our feature as a fully self-financed narrative feature. Once the ball starts rolling, it becomes harder to bring new money in, and then it becomes even harder to give up any amount of creative control…
We had now embarked on a journey which demanded all of us to give everything!
We quickly became a full production company wearing all the hats (Every hat that has ever been invented…ever) at once. I don’t recommend this avenue; on one hand it allows a lot of freedom in the creative realm, on the other hand it creates a lot of stress in the business/production realm. There are so many creative people and companies that do such an amazing job at providing support in post and during production – I recommend finding these teams and shaving years off your life!
But the experience I gained from wearing all hats and self-financing can not be learned in a classroom or by merely shadowing other film makers. It was trial by fire–bootcamp-style training and learning – do or die! AND…We did!
That brings me to the best thing I learned during this intense journey: There are more beautiful and helpful people then there are sharks.
There are so many great and creative people who are ready and willing to help other artists that have the drive and passion, and who believe in their project.
We were willing to do anything to see “Living Lost” become something beautiful, and so were they! Our excitement and commitment attracted other like-minded creatives who then became willing to help us reach our goals!
So, artists have a choice to sit in coffee shops on Sunset and complain about the powers-that-be, and tear down other working artists, or they can get out there and do whatever it takes to fulfill their dreams. Your passions reach the lives of others; both in the production world and then the audience world.
The world deserves to see your creations come to life, so take a chance, don’t be so cynical, and push through!