One of the biggest questions we get asked regularly at The Creators Project is about getting a freelance job and how freelancers can get better at it to get better at making movies. The reason I’ve done this, is because I’ve watched so many people (including a lot of freelancers) get discouraged, or even leave their jobs to try their luck at making films. When you get discouraged by your situation or start thinking that you can’t make movies because you haven’t done a movie before and you need to take some time off from the studio, I want you to know that’s not true!
If you really want to make movies, I think that just being a good, motivated freelancer is enough. You can do so much more by working less hours in your day to day life and taking some time for yourself to have some fun while watching movies, writing, cooking, or anything else that could be of value to you.
One of my first jobs was in a film called “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”, so I know how important having fun is, especially if you’re a filmmaker. A lot of freelancers have tried making movies and made poor results.
“But what about the people who don’t have as long a professional history? There are freelancers who are still making movies today – who are better than they used to be.” – Michael Mann
I’ll share a bit from Michael Mann’s book on creating an audience to get them to care what you’re trying to do. That’s a very good point and it’s one that is worth considering. If I were to write a short story about why working for a studio would be the best way to get to make movies, I could probably sum it up this way:
Agency means: lots of money on your back.
If you are working on an indie film budgeted around $3-5m, you’ve got about $3m of “skin in the game” to play with if you want more success with the feature film version. If you’re making a superhero movie budgeted at $10m, you’re up for at least $5m of that amount to play around with. If you want a better shot at success, then you’ll need to start looking into other means of financing.
So, if you want to make a $20m feature film, it is much better to do that on your own terms, than to work for someone else who has more money than you
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