Whether you come from film school or you have no formal background in filmmaking, deciding to start a filmmaking career is always a challenging, but fulfilling endeavor.
Some intend to make films on the side, while maintaining their day jobs for financial stability and security. These are filmmakers who want to shoot films outside the mainstream system. Those who become successful in this film-making route are the ones usually seen in international film festivals and independent film screenings. While some jump between independent and mainstream film productions, many tend to maintain their careers as independent filmmakers. They make independent, non-commercial film projects every few years at least, then travel around the world to represent their masterpieces in various film festivals.
Some aim to go to commercial filmmaking and shoot film projects meant for theatrical releases. This route typically requires investment in time and effort to maintain that needed visibility within the industry. It’s not an overnight thing to get a big break from a mainstream movie studio and direct even a low-budget commercial film for them.
Filmmaking is a very competitive field and it takes much to prove your work ethics and the success of your former works, until you finally meet the right people to back you up for your big break, and hopefully, fast track your film career.
Sometimes, if there are opportunities for those who get critical acclaim in their independent works, a big movie studio can possibly tap such talents for their commercial productions.
Both filmmaking routes require strong survival skills, high-caliber talent, and valuable connections. In other professions, the progression of staying in a certain work would make a starter a manager within five years, another five years to become a vice president, and perhaps, a few more years to become a CEO or president. Even those who don’t acquire the topmost positions would generally find financial stability and helpful benefits as they age in their long-term jobs. However, in film-making, it is not exactly like that. Just like in other artistic pursuits, the idea of “You are only as good as your last work” persists. Progressing to become on top of your game also requires more than just tremendous effort, focus, and commitment-securing a place in the industry also requires the right networks, PR skills, bankability and recognition of your works, and of course, great talent. If amidst all these you still want to pursue filmmaking as a profession, then you are already geared up towards the next step to fulfill your dream.