Robert Hardy, who runs Filmmakersprocess.com recently sent a bunch of folks these questions:
I have two quick questions for you...
1. What would being successful as a filmmaker look like to you?
2. What's your biggest obstacle right now in pursuing that success?"
I thought these were good to think about and here's my (relatively quickly composed) reply for him.
Decent questions, though life is complicated.
1. Success as a filmmaker, for me, at this point, starts with the personal feeling of accomplishment. On a broader scale, success would initially be success in film festivals.
So if my next film were to be picked up by a variety of the top (Oscar-qualifying) festivals, that would be a great step. But there are two parts to this. First of all, there is the simple gratification of being recognized beyond a small circle for some artistic achievement. Second, however, is the possibility that this recognition could open some other doors.
1A. I’m devoting most of my “film energy” these days in writing scripts that I will likely not ever produce myself. Success here is a bit more concrete in that the definition of success would be to sell a script. I’ve been using the pitch opportunities offered by Stage32.com and this has opened some doors. So I think it’s a matter of time and quality (and a bit of luck) to move forward on this.
2. Biggest filmmaking obstacle is mostly time, occasionally masquerading as money. In this case, time really means improving my artistic ability, my filmmaking “quality” as much as possible. However, I also accept that the films I find the most rewarding to make may not be the ones that fit with the taste of any festival.
It would be facile to say that money for entry fees was the obstacle. Theoretically, it would be great to pitch any film into 250 festivals, but that doesn’t really attract me that much. I’m more interested in the best festivals.
2A. There are two simple steps in the screenwriting success equation. Many worry at great length about step #2. I’m still thinking I have a lot of work to do to develop my craft. The rules are these:
#1. Write a great script.
#2. Get it in front of some folks who might be interested.
If you can’t do step #1, the next step is unimportant. So the biggest obstacle is "simply" writing a great script.
Love to hear your thoughts about all this stuff.