If you’re a filmmaker, I’m sure you’re aware of a lot of technical expertise, tips and tricks, and ideas of what makes a good filmmaker. But how do you go from good to great, and what attributes do you need to succeed in such a tough industry? Let’s take a look at what we think makes a great filmmaker, and why these elements are important in the film industry!
What Makes A Great Filmmaker?
One sign of a great filmmaker is confidence. This usually comes with experience, but it is a quality that can also start out strong and be built upon. In creative industries, it is normal to face self-doubt and insecurity, especially when you’re starting out – so overcoming this is a crucial step. Whether it’s delivering a pitch to investors, directing or planning shoots, you need to have conviction in your choices and command respect from those around you. Balancing this with a dose of realism and humility is also important, as feeling you have nothing to learn will get you nowhere, and will also be off-putting to potential collaborators.
2. Knowing The Industry
As with any endeavor, it’s important to know the landscape and how the industry works. More so than just being knowledgeable about your favorite films and techniques, you must ensure that you perform your own research into other techniques and trends, equipment, how to pitch, create a Film Press Kit, what to do after finishing a film script and so on. After all, how can you expect people to invest in your creations if you don’t know how to distribute, market or promote them, or if your vision is unattainable?
Alongside knowing the industry, you need to look into what the industry entails. How much do you understand the industry’s structure, or how finance, monetization and so on works? Knowing the industry inside out will open so many more doors, and help you achieve a lot more of your goals.
Even as an independent filmmaker, you will experience a lot of collaboration in your career. You are dependent on other parties such as screenwriters, directors, editors and even actors – so sharpening your people skills and working well with others is a must. Reputation holds a lot of weight in the film industry, so you should make every collaboration experience positive for those involved. Successful collaboration can also open a lot of doors, so it’s in your best interest to collaborate fairly and with an open mind. A great filmmaker will be respected and friendly to every cast or crew member, from big Hollywood actors to newbie runners.
No, we’re not talking bendiness (although that might be handy for getting some out-of-the-box shots!) Great filmmakers and directors are always open to new ideas in order to make the film as amazing as possible. In a fast-paced industry where inspiration can strike at any time, filmmakers need to be durable, flexible and able to make fast decisions, or cope with plan changes at short notice. As a collaborator, you’ll also need to rely on many other professionals with their own opinions and input, so staying flexible and open-minded is a really helpful trait.
This goes hand in hand with knowing the industry, but having varying skills in your back pocket will make for more interesting and unique films. Whether you’ve practiced some out-of-the-box shot types, have your editing skills nailed down or have a keen eye for casting or lighting, your range of skills and knowledge should be practiced, honed and perfected. After all, your talent is the driving force behind what you do, so make sure you’re performing to the best of your ability at all times!
6. Knowing How To Handle Both Rejection & Success
Handling rejection is one thing – but do you truly know how to handle success?
Tons of filmmakers work hard, envisioning the day that one of their projects really takes off. Waiting for this ‘break’ can sometimes lead to bitterness or feelings of entitlement, so make sure that you stay positive and patient. Aim high – but don’t set yourself such ridiculously unrealistic goals that you are constantly left feeling dejected and crushed. Track your personal development instead of comparing to others, as your own progress and the building of your skills is more important than any critical success.
Rejection is something that will likely be a large downside of the job. Becoming an established filmmaker takes years of hard work, and you need to be able to roll with the punches and develop a thick skin. Similarly, it’s important to measure what success means to you personally, setting goals and remembering to pause and enjoy them when they do happen.
It can be hard not to get too bogged down in the details, and if your films feel like your babies, it can be tricky to tweak things or move quickly, as you want to get it perfect. However, in the film industry, time is money and there are movies that need to be made quickly. A great filmmaker knows the value of time, and doesn’t waste a second of it. Working hard and remaining efficient will serve you well – so sharpening your problem-solving and decision-making skills is key.
Filmmaking is about more than just technical expertise – it’s about creativity and the art of storytelling. Filming a movie is one thing, but constructing an entire plot, crafting intricate characters and bringing everything to life is an entirely different skill set. As a filmmaker, you should always remain curious, noting down ideas and inspiration and keeping your creativity alive.
8. Loving What You Do
This one seems a little obvious, but it’s super important that you truly love what you do. As a creative, your passion, excitement and interest in what you do has a large impact on the final result. Audiences can sense when a project comes from a place of passion and authenticity, and it’s the level of detail that comes with this drive that is unmatched. Make sure to give yourself breaks to replenish your passion, and don’t work yourself into the ground so much that you end up hating what is supposed to be your greatest joy!
Filmmakers must wear many hats – dealing with people, navigating many working cogs, focusing on detail whilst displaying efficiency and making tough choices. And that’s not even including the technical expertise and creativity the role requires, too!
What do you think makes a great filmmaker? Let us know in the comments – and leave any tips you have for other filmmakers, too!
How Audiosocket Can Help
We hope you enjoyed this article, and found some helpful takeaways to help with your filmmaking career. If you found this article helpful, we think you’ll love our articles on Camera Filters, Nikon NX Studio, Buying Used Cameras & Lenses, Shooting Slow Motion For Beginners, Travel Vlogging Equipment & Green Screen Lighting Tips!
Audiosocket always want to help photographers, filmmakers and creators in any way we can, such as licensing music for your films, trailers, websites, content creation and more.
If you are looking for authentic, top-quality music, why not check out Audiosocket? Your content deserves the best, so sign up today and access tens of thousands of songs to bring your vision to life! You can access Audiosocket’s music catalog for just $10 a month as a Personal creator. Not only that, but this allows you to license an unlimited number of tracks at no additional cost. Talk about win-win!