5 Easy Steps to Become a Successful Filmmaker

1) Buy Camera with shallow DOF.
2) Buy Batteries.
3) Buy Media
4) Shoot Something.
5) Upload to the Interwebs.

I kid, I kid. If only it were that easy.

In all seriousness though. This is what we all strive for right? We want to be successful filmmakers. The good news is that while not a comprehensive or exhaustive list these 5 easy steps can be applied to almost any area of your life.

1) Determine what being a “successful filmmaker” means to YOU.
This may be the most important, yet most often overlooked, step of all. If you spend your time chasing someone else’s idea of what a “successful filmmaker” is supposed to be you will find your resources drained, your creativity zapped, and a general unhappiness that will just be a roadblock to your further development. Does your personal measure of success come in the form of financial security? Do you need accolades and awards? Are you just as content to know that you produced a quality film that tells a great story? You need to set a goal first, only then can you take the necessary steps towards achieving it.

2) Find YOUR Voice.
The key is to find your voice and your own style. Figure out what kind of a filmmaker you want to be. If you are not passionate about your subject matter your work will in turn suffer. There is nothing wrong with studying other peoples work and adapting techniques to fit your own style. The key here is to not just copy what someone else is doing. Try to push yourself. The most unique thing about you is that you see things in a way that no one else on the face of the planet does. We all have an inner monologue going on that no one else does. Everything that has happened to you in your life, the good, the bad and the ugly, has shaped you into a unique individual with a distinctive view of the world-at-large. It would be foolish not to tap into your greatest resource. Yourself.

3) Show Up.
The biggest difference between people who are successful and those that fail is simply showing up and trying.
It seems stupid to say but unless you have the best luck in the world no one is going to come knocking down your door throwing piles of money at you. You have to get out there and do it.

4) Accept Criticism.
You don’t have to agree with it. Take it all with a grain of salt but be receptive. Don’t get defensive, just think about it and see if there is any validity to it. If you don’t agree by all means stick to your guns but don’t do it in a stubborn and blind manner.

5) Never Stop Learning.
If you think you know it all you are probably wrong. Devote yourself to being a life-long student. Only a foolish person thinks there is nothing they can improve. If you are constantly learning and trying new things you will be on the right path. In order to evolve we need new information. We need to shake up the status quo. Education is our greatest weapon and information is our best ammunition.

Have your own tips on how to be successful? Leave us some nuggets below.


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16 replies
  1. Ben
    Ben says:

    #3 really is the hallmark of a professional. It’s very easy to take the hardships life hands you and use them as justification to not get work done, but you shouldn’t. Your competition won’t, and life isn’t going to get any easier. Suck it up.

  2. Will Gallego
    Will Gallego says:

    Great info. I agree with Ben and Dan, treat each job like a professional. No matter how small a project, show up on time and meet deadlines. Being a success is about being resourceful, don’t wait for the latest and greatest to start a project. Show what you can do with what you have.

  3. Yoon Hyuk
    Yoon Hyuk says:

    One either has “it” or don’t. Some of it may be based on personal taste. However, it’s usually the case when passion and perfection is reflected in the work. Otherwise, some so-called creation is quite often sub-par and uninspiring. Either it is pursued for all the wrong reasons or it just may not be their niche, whether they realize it or not. I truly believe that all individuals have a calling or “wired” to pursue and do something they ARE, and not necessarily what they WANT or THINK they want.

    Case in point, I’ve seen some brilliant work made with bare minimum, and I’ve seen some God awful stuff made with the best cameras and softwares money can buy.

    • Yoon Hyuk
      Yoon Hyuk says:

      BTW these are the motto I go by when it comes to filmmaking:

      The essence of digital storytelling is that it must evoke varied and effective emotions from both the visual and audible equally.
      To SEE it , Hear it, and FEEL it.
      Whether the hearing impaired see it or the sight impaired hear it, both shall experience the same intended emotion.

      To BE an independent digital multimedia artist should not be the intention. But rather, creating anything worthwhile and enjoyable is something DONE interdependently.

      Any creatively inclined visionaries desiring to express and transform life experiences into something redemptive, universal and valuable through digital media & film.

      Foremost, possess all of the 5 “D’s”: Desire, Direction, Discipline, Diligence, & Dedication. And continue to Observe… Absorb… Learn… Understand… Know… Experiment… Practice… Teach…

  4. Julien
    Julien says:

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    It mativate me, really ! Thanks again and let’s continue your blog, it’s so great !

  5. Matthias
    Matthias says:

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