1. Filmmaking industry management is dim and dull
If you want to be an “employed” director, you’ll must endure contact with some management types who have all the artistic judgement of a brick. It is absolutely worth it — just steel yourself psychologically for it! Very few directors are above that; every one else has to suck it up.
2. Color is your friend
As a director, you can make your work stand out from the crowd by developing a good mastery over color and design. The Decorista is a great start. You all have some sort of aesthetic sense, even if you don’t consider yourself a designer – you still need to sharpen and strengthen it. It’s fun! Many of filmmakers don’t bother with this, so this investment will help you become the best. Remember not to underestimate the power of eye candy for entertainment.
3. Filmmaking is leadership
There is a common film quote that filmmaking is leadership. You can have amazingly gifted professional actors and crew members work for not much money on your project and have them be grateful to you for the chance. It is charisma; it’s being the kind of leader whom people are glad to follow to Hell and back; it’s coming across as someone who will actually achieve something in life. These are all attributes that you can steadily improve, just like learning an instrument.
When you land paid directing work in future on the strength of the projects that your collaborators helped you build, remember those who believed in you and worked for nothing — give them a tangible demonstration of gratitude by hiring them! The people who helped me all reside in my mind with crystalline clarity. They will not be forgotten.
4. The two most successful filmmakers didn’t go to film school
The two most talented and wildly successful filmmakers in history — Steven Spielberg and James Cameron — did not go to film school and do not recommend going to film school.
5. Wrong question!
I am asked “Which camera should I use?” as much as all other questions put together. I intend to change that. That is the uncommonly known fact that every filmmaker should bear in mind.
6. Freedom for filmmakers
If you have a decent director’s reel and a social/professional network, you can shoot a high-quality feature film with no debt and without depending on tedious decision makers named crowd funding.
7. 35mm lookalike cameras are now common, but skills never will be
Every filmmaker has access to cameras now that were a distant dream just ten years ago. DSLRs give everyone the chance to make footage look like it was shot with a real movie camera — bokeh and all. To stand out in this deluge of 35mm lookalike videos, it play more important role than ever to develop real directing skills — a thing that is and always will be in scarce supply in the film industry, because it takes some innate talent and an awful lot of work. After the mandatory directing and camerawork skills, the next largest return on investment is offered by learning the key fundamentals of film editing.
8. Goodbye, film prints!
The IHS Screen Digest predicts that movie studios will cease to produce film prints for “major markets” by 2013, and for the rest of the world by 2015. At this stage, the decline of celluloid cannot be arrested.
9. Most independent films never see the light of day
The overwhelming majority of independent films never make a profit or see any kind of meaningful distribution. Most independent films are only watched by friends, family and audiences at second-tier film festivals, and finally disappear. With the glut of no-budget films being churned out at unprecedented rates, the number of “orphan movies” is probably bigger than ever – and there are no stats, because these films tend vanish completely and do not leave much in the way of a paper trail.
10. Times are tough for film crews
There are massively talented and experienced film industry workers out there who have shot music videos for A-list pop stars and TV commercials for major brands who now sit at home, scouring Craigslist for low-paid film production gigs.