When it comes to filmmaking, you’ve got to pay your dues. This means you don’t get to direct a blockbuster until you’ve proven yourself worthy with small projects. This is why many directors work their way up the ladder through commercials and music videos, proving they have the stuff required to work on bigger budget projects. It’s having a track record of proficiency that eventually hooks the bigger fish and keeping a consistent level of work makes your involvement all the more enticing to prospective producers and studios.


One of the things that film schools can do for you, beyond giving you the necessary litmus test, knowledge and skills is help with a few footholds. This is to say, they help you get your first short film together. Depending on the film school, their level of assessment and the resources available to you – you’re encouraged to go out there and make stuff. You could get your stripes from competing as part of teams in short film festivals like the 48 Hour Film Project or landing foot-in-the-door roles on set as part of film crews. The main thing is that you get the experience and generate enough credits to create a reputable body of work you can hook onto the end of your fishing line by the pond.

Self-funded film projects are becoming much more easier in this digital age, where budding filmmakers can now shoot movies on their smartphones. This has been done on a feature film level by Steven Soderbergh, so there’s no reason that newbies can’t use this technology to make it happen. The main thing is to get out there and do it. Do your homework, be as prepared as possible but don’t be intimidated by the quest for perfection. Trial and error is a great teacher, giving you the chance to reflect and improve on future projects. Get a how-to book like ‘The Guerilla Film Makers Pocketbook’, find yourself a mentor or just subscribe to a few places where filmmakers are actively looking for assistants.

Once you’ve managed to rack up some experience and a few film credits you’ll find work more easily. Not only will you have extra contacts in your immediate network but you’ll also have a few films you can reference to show colleagues what you’re bringing to the party. Work your way up from being a runner, get your screenplay into the right hands or show you’ve got mettle with your own microbudget production. If you’ve got a smartphone, there are no excuses why you can’t get your film career underway with an in-phone video editing app and a little imagination. Be extraordinary!

Anyone Can Be a Filmmaker: Go Make Movies Now
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