Fighting Film Fatigue - Ways to Stay Motivated
Ask anyone who has ever made a film and they'll tell you it's difficult. The peaks and valleys that you experience can rise to “This is the greatest movie I’ve ever made!” or sink to “This movie is a piece of trash and so am I!” Feeling discouraged is natural. I’ve had my fair share of moments where I felt completely and utterly lost. In this blog, I’m going to share some methods that can help you navigate the highs and lows of the journey we call filmmaking.
Watch Your Older Work
Sometimes your biggest inspiration can be your own work. I will watch my older short films and it always amazes me to think that I created something from nothing. Sure, I’ll cringe at some of the mistakes, but it is also quite humbling. What I've made, good or bad, will live on and continue to be watched. Revisiting an old work with fresh eyes can illuminate themes and style choices that serve to create your identity as a filmmaker. Understanding the themes of your own work can help inform the direction of your new project.
Find Other Creatives
Before I was with Allied, I found it hard to have meaningful conversations about filmmaking. Family and friends, while well intentioned, are often passive listeners with little expertise to lend. The fact is, your friends and family are not as interested or passionate about filmmaking as you are. It's hard to be inspired by others who don't share your passion. Surround yourself with other creatives and inspiration will flourish. Find local film groups in your city (if one doesn't exist, create it) and search online for filmmaker specific blogs and networking resources. Believe me, there are others out there just like you that want to talk film. Some resources we often utilize:
Build Momentum with Small Wins
Sometimes the filmmaking process can be overwhelming. The key is to stay motivated. If I’m feeling discouraged, I try to do tasks that I know are needed for the production and that I can deliver. Start small. Clean and organize your camera bag, rearrange your computer desktop and files to be more efficient, or complete some small writing exercises. These tasks can be surprisingly rewarding and a good way to clear your head. Simply writing down what you have to do can help prioritize tasks and organize the chaos. We're big proponents of breaking down work to make projects manageable.
Take a Break
Inspiration can come from momentarily stepping away from the project. Taking breaks is something that I’ve had to train myself to do. I'll read a book, go for a walk, play guitar, or play video games. The key is to set a certain amount of time aside for a break, then get back to work when that time is up. Think of a break as an opportunity to reset your mind.
Learn About the Back Stories of Your Favorite Filmmakers
Do you think Tarantino or Spielberg haven’t had their fair share of struggles to succeed? The malfunctioning shark on 'Jaws' forced Spielberg to get creative - 'As Spielberg burned through his $4 million budget and 55-day shooting schedule, the cast and crew turned mutinous.' Every successful filmmaker has had to climb a tall mountain to get to where they are today. Reading these stories and listening to interviews of your favorite filmmakers can be incredibly inspiring. It is nice to know that you are not alone.
Do it Everyday
The feeling of momentum can be powerful. Everyday you don’t work on filmmaking that momentum slows down. Set time aside every day for filmmaking. Whether it's taking your camera out to shoot, reading a book on film, re-reading your script or even writing exercises. The days you aren't filled with motivation, devote to smaller tasks you know need accomplished. Fatigue doesn't have to result in a lack of production. Managing the ups and downs of the process begins with understanding the keys to keeping yourself on track.