The Scariest Question Of All: How Much Does Success In Filmmaking Cost?

by Bret HoyLeave a Comment

The stereotype of the, “starving artist” is a stereotype for a reason. If you’re reading this post, it’s most likely because you’ve chosen to take up filmmaking or photography as a hobby or as a professional career. This means that at least at one time, you’ve thought about and probably struggled with the idea of where you fit in the industry. This is for good reason. Any filmmaker can tell you that it takes more time than you ever think it will to put together a film. This becomes even more true when you try to balance your life with your film.

At a very young 17, Simon Cade brings up an incredibly difficult subject for most people who want to break into the industry and those who are currently trying. What does success in filmmaking cost? It’s an unbelievably difficult question. It’s a question that gets your stomach churning at Thanksgiving time, when you have to be around friends and family who are asking you how your career’s going. It’s a question that’s been cemented in legitimacy by the, “starving artist” stereotype, and once you’ve become that starving artist you’ll sometimes find yourself spinning in a billion different directions. Simultaneously trying to pull your life together while creating art that you feel makes life worthwhile.

I struggle with this constantly. In the United States I believe that it’s even more ingrained into who we are. This is not in any way to say that those from other countries don’t have the same drive. It’s simply to say that we live in a nation addicted to working. I say this as a criticism, but also as a person that feels this motivation. We’re motivated to be the best, even when it might not be what we actually want. Filmmaking is one of the most perfect examples of this.

Perhaps one of the last angles of this question to dissect is the angle of, “what is success?” For a filmmaker and someone with an outside perspective, these are vastly different things. At the aforementioned Thanksgiving, you might find yourself talking to Uncle Chet that thinks that the only version of success in filmmaking is winning an Oscar.

In a perfect world, we wouldn’t even think about Uncle Chet’s opinion. What’s important to remember is that success doesn’t just lie in the eyes of others. Success is to be defined by each person.

This isn’t a question that has an answer: It’s a calling. And that’s what makes it scary. What does success in filmmaking cost? It’s up to all of us to find out. What success is and what it costs.

planetMitch note: I've been watching Simon for a while and he's providing some great content for filmmakers – you should subscribe!

How Much Does Success in Filmmaking Cost?


Via DSLRguide:

1.Social – I’ve been making an effort to see my friends more often. I used to work through a lot of lunch breaks, and now I’m leaving time to be social.

2. Entertainment – The other day I unsubscribed from 95% of the channels that I’ve been watching lately. Just like watching TV only because you’re waiting for a good show to come on, I wasn’t really getting anything from these channels, but still watched them all the time. Having a sub box clear out has significantly cut down on the amount of time I spend consuming mediocre entertainment.

4. Always Re-evaluate – this issue is not going to go away, as a freelancer it’s so easy to slip back into over-working. Maybe a good way to check ourselves is to ask whether we’d ask an employee to work this hard. Just because your boss is you, doesn’t mean you can be an exploitative boss.

Read full article at DSLRguide “How Much Does Success in Filmmaking Cost?”

(cover photo credit: snap from the video)

Bret Hoy

Bret Hoy

Bret Hoy is a filmmaker, photographer and writer based out of St. Louis, Missouri. Mainly focused on documentary and experimental film, he has produced, directed, shot and edited many short films and a few long form works.

He shoots a lot and often.
Bret Hoy

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