You are the Gatekeeper

I came across this article a few weeks ago. It’s another listicle/guide on getting into the film industry, but it has strong lessons for writers of fiction, short fiction, and content creators of any discipline.

What’s most impressive is the story behind the success of the film, and the knowledge you can pick-up from the ups and downs of writing, producing, and directing your own production.

For instance, distribution, not many content creators learn the landscape of what’s distributed by different networks. Often, new content creators never consider the genre of film or media they are creating, which festivals lean toward their genre, and which distributors specialize in the content they are developing.

After walking through my first film with an actual crew, actors, locations, etc. Here is a short list of what I learned.

  • Begin with the Ending in Mind

    • Know where you are going with your production before you ever get started. Is this a hobby or are you serious?
  • Pre-Production is Super Important

    • Meet with your associate director, meet with your cinematographer, and story board, story board, story board to plan your shoots accordingly.
  • Rehearsals Work

    • Actors need time and practice with their characters to make them believable.
  • WRITING!!!!

    • A good story begins with good writing. Workshop your idea, test your dialogue, and diagram your story to make sure it isn’t flat.
  • Audition your Crew

    • Screening your crew is just as important as screening your actors. Know who’s on your crew and how their method of working, ESPECIALLY THEIR PERSONALITIES, helps you and your actors. A bad, dysfunctional, or toxic crew can make life on set very difficult.
  • Learn your Craft

    • Learn everything you can about your craft.
      • Learn lighting
      • Learn shots
      • Learn Pre/Post Production
      • Learn Set Lingo/Jargon
      • Learn Group Management
      • Learn Marketing and Brand Management (Very Important)
      • Learn Writing
      • Learn Editing
      • Learn to yell, if necessary.
      • Learn it all and be ready to build your vision.
  • Marketing

    • Build your social media profiles, work with friends who have marketing backgrounds, and connect with influencers on social media to build a buzz about your work.
  • Design the Narrative Backwards

    • Start with your ending in mind and work backward. Think of all the steps you need to take to create your end goal.  Then you’ll have the perfect map to your vision. If you start your work without the ending in mind, you won’t know where your work is leading.
  • Research

    • Read books, screenplays, online articles, and consult as many friends as possible about your endeavor. Knowledge is the key to success.

    • Regardless of your, expertise, marketing strategy, your funding, your idea, be sure to take your time and make your ART really good. This applies to artists of any discipline.

Final Notes

As a writer, I love taking the time to work out my character’s motives, ideas, and thoughts before I begin the work of crafting a story. I apply this same time and attention to my work in visual media.

I strongly advocate pre-writing, extensive pre-production, pre-planning, and backwards design as the keystone of polished, awesome work.

The trailer for the film is also true art and deserves a kudos for a strong performance.

I believe what matters most is that you take your time and create your very-best work through a focused process that leads to groundbreaking experiences that you are proud to share.