Have you been studying camera angles since your parents first sat you down in front of a screen? Do you long to helm the next superhero franchise? Do you know your Bergman from your Bertolucci? If you dream of working in the movie business, you might assume that you need to have money or connections to make that dream come true. While both of those things can help, if you are talented, extroverted, and hardworking, you can break in and get started in filmmaking.
Directing or Producing
Do you want to be a director or producer? You can, of course, be both, and many people eventually are, but the career trajectory and skill set for the two are somewhat different, and it’s good to focus on one or the other. A producer can mean a lot of different things, and in some cases, it simply means someone who is putting up money for the film, but most likely, the role you have in mind is the person who oversees finding a project, getting financing, and launching the film.
You will need to oversee the production from start to finish. You’ll also be responsible for managing the budget and logistics. The director chooses the cast, works with actors on their performance, liaises with the different departments to ensure a cohesive creative vision, and works with the editor afterward. It may be a challenge to learn how to save money as a director, but it is a crucial skill. As an extremely broad generalization, the job of a producer is more business and administratively focused while the director’s job is more creative.
Your First Short
The best way to get started in the filmmaking business is to make your first film. This can seem like a big leap, but you’ll learn a lot. Most people start with short films that are under five or even 10 minutes. You can make a low-budget film—some people have even made films using their phones—but you’ll still need a certain amount of money for some equipment, such as editing software. If you make a good short, you may be able to get it into festivals, which is a great way to start networking.
You should not go into vast amounts of debt to make your short but spending a little more can make a big difference in quality. A personal loan from a private lender is a great way to make sure you have the available funds you need to improve that quality. It’s fast and easy to find out if you are eligible for a loan and what the conditions would be.
Once you have started experimenting with making one or more short films and getting them into festivals, it is time to start networking. Networking is at the heart of the filmmaking business. Try to get to both local events and some national or even international festivals. Volunteering can be a good way to get to know people. Keep in mind as well that in addition to festivals that screen all types of movies, there are specialty ones as well. For example, there is a healthy international horror film festival scene. This is a competitive business, so don’t get discouraged. Just keep working hard, getting your name out there, and meeting people and you’ll be successful at trying to get started in filmmaking.