For more than four decades I have made a living as a professional filmmaker. The one question I am always asked by aspiring filmmakers is “how do you find money to make films?” My answer has always been, “with great difficulty.” Filmmaking is an expensive process. It requires lots of people to make it happen, and people who know what they’re doing cost money. Sure you can make a film with your friends on weekends, but friends get tired of “your dream” a great deal faster than you do. Film shoots often turn into “roadside” breakdowns, and many projects simply don’t get completed because “the actor” got bored. Notice my frequent use of quotation marks. The indicate, among other things, irony. The simple fact is this, if you want to be in the film business, and not do this as just a hobby, you need to arm yourself with information and understanding of how the real business of making films and television programs, and even documentaries, actually works. It’s not all art and lovely thoughts. It’s hard work, frequent disappointment, and heart ache. But if you’ve got the guts to take all the hard knocks that are coming your way, then I think the information in this column may soften some of the blows. The “reel world” and the “real world” often collide. It’s what you do with the pieces from this concussion that really makes the difference between being an amateur and a professional. While I can’t guarantee that reading this column will make you a success, I can assure you that you’ll be getting the kind of information that will at least give you a slight advantage over the competition that chooses to remain gleefully ignorant as they waive their cameras all around and think they are making movies.
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