Key Advice to Young Filmmakers: “Define Your Own Success”
Perez wishes he had defined what success meant to him early on, and the reasons why he thinks that are an absolute must listen-to. I wanted to quote him, but I would have ended up quoting the whole video as I do think that what Perez mentions is a key aspect in a filmmaker’s career one’s has to clarify as early as possible in order to survive Time without seeing its self-confidence and creativity destroyed.
Some more personal thoughts after the video:
This video, shared by my friend and filmmaker Erin Li, sums up a lot of what I have been thinking about these last couple of years. As a filmmaker who hasn’t made any feature or any widely known videos (and might never make any), I quickly realized that to survive the introductory conversations’ exercise when meeting new people, I only had two solutions: either lie or know very well who I was and be solidly anchored on the ground.
Many chose the first option, and it is by far the easiest and the most pleasant one for both parties, as honesty will often mean that the flame that lit up in your interlocutor’s eyes when you said you were a filmmaker will likely die after they realize you are neither famous nor do you know anyone famous. This can be tough on your esteem, especially when time ticks, projects fall through or take longer than expected, big Festivals don’t pick your films and money is low on your bank account.
But it doesn’t have to be that tough. It stopped being tough for me when I realized that mainstream recognition was not what I was seeking to feel fulfilled. It doesn’t mean I don’t want people to see what I make, not at all, but getting to show what you are making and mainstream/worldwide recognition are two different things.
Hundreds of filmmakers are not making their main income from making movies, don’t have a 1 million views video on Youtube or a film that won 10 prizes, but it does not make them less filmmakers than the others. Just like many writers will stay unpublished while others will get under the spotlight in a heartbeat, I believe being a filmmaker is much more about you knowing who you are, why you want to tell stories through moving images with sound, and try to make them happened than being famous/well-known/rich.
Perez’s advice is not only relevant but it is also essential; defining your own success is what will help you build a body of work you will be able to defend, explain and eventually be proud of over decades. Of course, we all wish to touch an audience as broad as possible and to make a living out of making movies, but by defining what success means to you today, tomorrow and in ten years from now, you will set yourselves goals that will impact the movies and the career choices you make.
So, define success carefully…
You Might Also Like: Andrei Tarkovsky’s Advice to Young Filmmakers