Picking Your Battles

Someone I know who’s been quite successful in the industry by taking the indie route said something a while back that stuck with me and I want to address it. He talks about what young filmmakers should and shouldn’t do. Some of his advice he gave was spot on, but at one point he says you should stop using your friends & family because they’re shit actors. I have to completely disagree. Because to me, any young filmmaker shouldn’t be blindly listening to anyone else, they should trust their gut feeling and know which battles to fight in what order.

Maybe on one project you have a shit cast but you’re finding out how to get the mic levels right or started utilizing lighting. Or you start learning about scheduling and planning. Or the flip side, you could scour the region for the best actors you can find for your short film because Joe Filmmaker said not to cast shit actors, but your shots suck and your audio mix is muddy and your entire shoot is completely unorganized and inconvenient, making those actors never want to work with you again.

C’mon, dude. Get real. Don’t dismiss their work because they’re learning. Recognize it for what it is. If they’re a real filmmaker, if they have that truly innate sense, they’ll already know Aunt Hilda is an awful actress, and they’re already beating themselves up for that windy, muffled audio. And not only will they constantly strive to do better the next time, but they’ll also learn another important lesson: work within your limitations.

Not everyone gets to go to film school (or wants to) and make those mistakes in a controlled environment where no one will ever see. But if they’re making projects happen, no matter how big or small, I can guarantee you they’re learning something new on every one that will eventually lead to something of note, not just for everyone else to enjoy, but themselves.

They’re their own worst critic.

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