In a recent Indie Film Force Episode (Attached Below), I ran a comparison between the Red Epic Dragon and the Sony a7s2. Now before this test even began I already knew that the Red Epic Dragon was going to look much better and sharper. However, I simply wanted to see just how good the Sony a7s2 actually looked when compared to a camera that’s almost 20x the price. Not only did I want to see the difference side by side, but I also wanted to show beginning filmmakers that you don’t need to have the most expensive gear to make good-looking material. This is a terrible misconception that plagues the filmmaking community. The idea that you need more money to be a better filmmaker is lie. And anyone that ever tells you that is sadly mistaken. Another misguided idea that is commonly spread is that you need film school to be a successful filmmaker. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been looked down upon because I never went to film school. I received my degree in Criminal Justice from FIU. My love for film and video production began towards the end of my college years. As I have always said, this has never stopped me from learning all that I need so that I can continue to pursue what makes me happy. One thing is true though, you can NEVER stop learning in this industry. The moment you decide that you have learned all that you need to, that is when you have committed what I call “career-suicide.” The film industry is constantly and rapidly changing every year. There’s always some new technology that comes out that is an improvement to a previous one.
BECOMING A GOOD FILMMAKER
So what begs the question “How do I become good filmmaker?”. Would you believe me if I told you that you do not need to spend a penny to become a good filmmaker? When I first started my business, many people thought I was way in over my head. I had a background in sports and a degree in criminal justice and so “To make money by making videos?” “Are you serious?”. To be honest, sometimes I’d let those ideas linger in my head. Besides God, I believe there’s one aspect I had that has allowed me to keep bettering myself as a filmmaker. PASSION. Ugh so cliche!! You hear this all the time, but there’s a reason for that. Just ask yourself, “If currency had no existence in this world, would you still be making films?”. If the answer is “HELL YEAH!”, then you have the PASSION. However, as passion is a great quality to have in the industry, it also comes with many other characteristics that help take your career to the next level.
BECOMING A SUCCESSFUL FILMMAKER
So you have the passion, and although that’ll bring you to becoming a “good” filmmaker”, that does not quite make you a “successful” filmmaker. What about DRIVE? So even now that my business is getting extremely busy and I barely have time to take a 20min coffee break often times, I still try and make time for my passion projects. These are projects that I do on the side for my own personal satisfaction. For me they’re my short documentaries. I love documentary shooting and that is what I see myself doing for a very long time. Whether I am getting paid or not, I just love telling real stories. My DRIVE and desire to see the outcome of a current passion project keeps me motivated to continue forward with it. I also apply this same DRIVE to my business attitude. I am constantly disciplining myself to do what is needed to get my work seen by as many eyes as possible. Even if it takes a long time for that particular technique to kick in. For example, writing blogs is not something I ever that I would find myself doing. But here I am reaching out to the film community because I came to understand the importance of establishing yourself in the industry.
Just about everyday when I get home from a long day of shooting or editing, I am extremely exhausted and all I want to do is lie on my bed and close my eyes. Most days I can’t even do that because I have passion projects that I want to get completed. But despite all this exhaustion and lack of sleep, I have the biggest smile on my face. This is simply because I am doing something that I am legitimately passionate about. I LOVE my job. If you’re pursuing a career in filmmaking, my suggestion to you is to analyze if this industry is your true desire. If you can honestly say that filmmaking is your true PASSION and you have that DRIVE for this stuff, then the rest will fall in it’s place. You won’t let anything get in the way of you achieving your dreams. Learn as much as you can whether you go to film school or not. Learn it all. Ask questions and practice practice practice.
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