Red Responds: Daydreaming Gone too Far?

Hesitant Filmmaker in Los Angeles writes:

I recently began considering filmmaking as a serious career change. I’ve always found it easier to “think in pictures,” and would often find myself creating story ideas. But this is the first time I’ve actually realized that filmmaking might be the career that sets my heart alight with joy.

While it is exciting and new, this feels like a complete 180 on what I thought I would do in life. Right now, I have a film idea that I feel absolutely passionate about, and I believe it would do well. As excited as I get about creating this film, however, I also go into bouts of discouragement, thinking that my daydreaming has taken me too far. What do you see going on with my career as a filmmaker? Will I really be able to bring my film idea to the silver screen, or have my fantasies led me astray?

Dear Hesitant,

Breaking into the industry is always challenging, but also incredibly rewarding. As you know, it’s going to be tough, but “tough” doesn’t mean impossible. Some of the most powerful films of our time were just someone’s vision backed by silver, in a low-budget, independent endeavor. That could be you.

Your first film looks like it will be a collective effort, rather than just your baby, even though it is your idea. It appears that you will have to make some artistic sacrifices in order for the film to be made. While this may seem harsh and personally unsettling to you, look at it for what it is – an opportunity and a stepping stone.

You have an interesting vision, but you are going to need help and support to start turning your fantasy into a reality. You are going to meet with people who can help get your idea off the ground, but you are also going to be met with some resistance. Prepare yourself to evolve with the process, if you want to be successful. I see you with people who are familiar with the biz, and their insights are invaluable. This may tend to clash with your artistic vision, but the reality is – if you want to make your film, and you want it to be successful, you are going to have to be flexible.

Pulling together a production isn’t a small endeavor, but you have a knack for drawing in good people, some with recognizable names. They will be key to helping you on your way. These people have the education and experience that you have not yet achieved. If you choose to listen and learn, you will do well. From the script to the set, everyone is going to have their own ideas – and you are going to hear them. You have the ability to relay your visions in Technicolor, but you face some challenges when it comes to putting them in writing. Don’t be afraid to accept the help that will be offered. Your greatest strength is in your ability to visualize a scene, and your talent as a director will emerge.

Once you have your name out there and a bit of experience and success under your belt, you will accrue bigger budgets and more artistic freedom. I’m sure Spielberg had moments of doubt way back before he was a household name, but he followed his passion, and look where it led! Keep dreaming, but start doing. You may not be able to quit your day job just yet, but if you follow your heart that day will come.

Good luck!
Ext. 9226

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