Although, I just was writing mostly from experience, one of the readers − a gentleman commented, “you cannot call yourself a filmmaker until you have worked in most of the aspects of film production,” I just want to elaborate on that.
My answer is Yes and No.
Yes, for the filmmaker who started sweeping floors and cleaning crew toilets to break into the film world, earning the privilege to work amongst film professionals, to gain the knowledge and experience, and to continually move up the ladder, from one department to the other, until he or she is confident enough to stand on their own two feet and make their own films. And this is the normal way most of us did it.
The advantage is when you have grown in the business and you are making your own films, you are the captain of the ship, and that is where that experience and knowledge come into play, from the beginning of the voyage till the end, you and only you, will navigate the ship successfully to its destination at the harbor.
Then here is the “No” answer. There are many who are passionate about filmmaking and want to make movies and they figured a way to do it. They raise the money, hire and assemble the best film professionals in the world, they all come together and make a movie. Yes this person did not possess the actual production experience and knowledge, but yet he or she successfully made a film, so who are we to deny them the privilege of calling themselves filmmakers.
A true story:
I knew a person who wanted to produce movies and he had all the money to do it. He created his company, rented and furnished fancy offices, hired multiple staff, and then he made a $25 million movie. It was a complete and utter failure. He was misled from the get-go, over charged for services, a lot of the money went into people’s pockets instead of the actual production. At the end he was never heard from again.
I am not saying people in the film industry are not honest. A few are opportunists and they should not be in the film business. By all means, the majority are honest and amazing people. They love what they do, they work hard and are proud to bring all they’ve got to each project they are part of.
You see if I was in that man’s shoes, I would have spent $22 million making 5-10 movies at different budgets, then spent the last $3 million on a sales team and department. Even if half the movies fail, I would still have the other half as winners. By doing so many films, he would have been able to put in place an operations system, that he would continually use and improve upon. He also would have created a name for himself in the business as a real and solid company, and a couple of years later he could of made the jump to the $25 million budget. I guarantee you he would still be in business and thriving today.
If you ask me who I bet on, I will bet on the filmmaker who started in the business sweeping floors. Not because I did that… and worked my way up to producing my own films and rightfully earning the title of a filmmaker… it’s because EXPERIENCE IS PRICELESS.