Monday, September 21, 2009

No One Wants to Be an Indie Filmmaker -- At First

I don't think anyone starts out wanting to be an independent filmmaker. I'm sure most of us would work with the studios if they let us express our creative vision and gave us the money to make our films. Why take on all the responsibilities of being independent unless you had to?

Don't get me wrong. I love being an indie producer. I enjoy being able to make movies that I wholeheartedly believe in. When one of my films makes it to the big screen, I know it contains a part of my soul. That is an amazing feeling. And being independent allows me to have that feeling over and over again.

And the grass is not always greener on the other side. I worked in the studio system. I enjoyed my time there and I hope to work with the studios again. But it is a corporate setting and it's very difficult to express your own vision in that world. I wanted the opportunity in my career to truly express who I was as a filmmaker, whether or not I would eventually make my way back to the studios.

The reasons to become independent are many: 

You may want to make small intimate dramas or experimental projects or you like the amount of control being independent allows. Or you feel shut out from the studio system and you still want to make movies. Or you want to break into the studio system by showing them what you can do on your own. Or you don't like the corporate film world. Or you live in an area where no film companies exist -- you have to be independent! 

So what does this mean? This choosing v. wanting.

I think anytime someone chooses to do something over wanting to do it, they are sacrificing some aspect of their goal. They are choosing to forsake the other option, just as they are choosing to embrace one. And it's this sacrifice that can gnaw at you for eternity if you let it and create doubt in your career path.  

As an independent filmmaker, I think it's important to realize you made a choice and acknowledge the sacrifice you are making with that choice. Give yourself time to consider your choice and if it makes sense to turn it into a want. Don't just settle on being an independent filmmaker. Know that it is something you want!


SinglePerf said...

I've wanted to be an Independent Filmmaker for as long as I can remember. Well probably since I was 19 or so... maybe around the time I discovered Hal Hartley.

Then of course I entered the studio system for nearly a decade. If I had gone to law school or was a business major, that would have been perfect for me. Unfortunately, I wanted to tell stories.

It's far harder to be an Independent Filmmaker (if you have no direct access to financing), but it's much more satisfying and I prefer it.

Haven't you heard? Broke is the new rich!

Jane Kelly Kosek said...

Then I must be a millionaire! Ha! So are you an indie filmmaker now? Have you made that break from the studios yet?